Anatomy Commemoration for Body Donors at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

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Goran Strkalj; Joyce El-Haddad; Anneliese Hulme & Mirjana Strkalj


Modern anatomy education is imbued with humanistic values which manifest primarily in the ethical acquisition of bodies for research and education, and respectful treatment of these bodies in anatomy laboratories. This humanistic approach is best embedded in the organisation of commemorative ceremonies for body donors. This paper presents experiences of preparation and implementation of a commemorative ceremony at Macquarie University, Sydney. Local cultural context and university infrastructure were considered when preparing the commemoration. It was decided that it will be introduced in stages, starting with a ceremony for anatomy students. Students were surveyed about the introduction of the ceremony and their attitudes about its format. The results of the survey influenced the format in which the commemoration was conducted. The commemoration was introduced in 2019, embedded in the first anatomy lecture. Such format was cost effective, caused little disturbance to a complex timetable and was aligned with learning outcomes and students’ cultural preferences. It also enabled easy transition to the online modes of the delivery caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. In the next stage commemorative ceremony will be inclusive of donor family members as well as students.

KEY WORDS: Anatomy education; Commemoration; Body donation; Learning and teaching; Ethics.

How to cite this article

STRKALJ, G.; EL-HADDAD, J.; HULME, A. & STRKALJ, M. Anatomy commemoration for body donors at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Int. J. Morphol., 39(1):160-163, 2021.