The study of the human body for education, research, and the advancement of medical and dental science is an invaluable part of students’ learning. Each year anatomical donors are needed to support the teaching of medical and dental students, postgraduate physicians, and students in related disciplines.
Harvard Medical School (HMS) relies on private donations through its Anatomical Gift Program. Any person of sound mind who is over 18 years of age can register to donate his or her body for education, research, and the advancement of medical and dental science or therapy. Under the Massachusetts Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, an individual can arrange for donation of her or his remains by executing the Instrument of Anatomical Gift.
To be valid, the instrument must be signed by two witnesses. The original document is sent to the Medical School, after which the individual is registered in the program, and receives a letter of acknowledgment and a donor card.