March 12, 2004
I want to use today's Tulane Talk to comment on the news accounts this week regarding the willed body program at Tulane University. For more than a century donations to this program have been an invaluable resource in training our medical students and furthering the efforts of Tulane researchers. Like universities across the country, Tulane and its students are indebted to the individuals and their families who make
the selfless decision to donate to the willed body program.
Tulane regularly receives more bodies than it needs for its teaching and research purposes. In these cases, we may send bodies to other medical institutions who are in need of them. Tulane makes no profit from this and is reimbursed only for costs related to preserving the bodies. This is an important point to remember in light of the recent news stories involving willed body programs at other institutions.
The recent news stories on our willed body program have focused on the fact that National Anatomical Service, an independent company, transported several bodies from Tulane to an Army research program. We have discontinued our relationship with this company.
We have convened an internal review committee to ensure that all bodies willed to Tulane will be used in programs at academic medical institutions, consistent with the wishes of our donors. We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who participate in willed body programs. Tulane is committed to making certain these donations are treated with the dignity they deserve for the advancement of medical knowledge.
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