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Keywords:

  • gross anatomy education;
  • medical education;
  • anatomical donor program;
  • body bequest program;
  • teaching anatomy in Brazil;
  • body donation;
  • medical students

Abstract

The use of dissection to study human anatomy is the foundation for educational excellence among future health professionals, as it offers an ideal opportunity to learn the body's morphology in three dimensions while also providing students with a more humanistic education. The shortage of bodies for dissection, combined with the Brazilian population's lack of knowledge concerning the possibility of voluntarily donating their own bodies, led to the creation of the Body Donation Programs for Education and Research in Anatomy at the Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Alegre (UFCSPA). The program is based on three pillars: Informing the general public about the program, donor registration, and donation itself. Since the creation of the donor program in 2008, there has been an increase in both the number of donations made during donor's lifetime and the number of bodies received by the university. There has also been a shift in relation to the origin of these bodies, as before the creation of the program most bodies were unclaimed cadavers, while today most of the bodies are sourced from voluntary donations. The initial results regarding the public's acceptance of the possibility of making body donations have been encouraging, as shown by the annual growth in donor registrations. Consequently, the quality and quantity of the material available for educational purposes have greatly improved. Anat Sci Educ. © 2013 American Association of Anatomists.