is assistant dean for support services in the School of Medicine and Biomedical
Sciences. He directs the Gross Anatomy Lab and the Anatomical Gift Program.
is the Gross Anatomy Laboratory? Who uses it?
The lab is located on the third floor of the Biomedical Education Building.
It is a facility used to instruct medical, dental, graduate, occupational
therapy, physical therapy, exercise science and nursing students in the
anatomical structure of the human body. It also is used extensively by
practitioners in all health-care fields for training in clinical procedures
and by researchers who are conducting research projects that require the
use of human anatomical material.
dissection a "hands-on" skill? The lab is equipped with computer terminalswhat
are they used for?
Yes, anatomical instruction and dissection are very much "hands on." Although
there have been many attempts over the years to find a suitable replacement
for the instructional experience that occurs in a dissection lab, none
have been successful. The computer terminals are there to expand the learning
experience. We offer access to reference materials and interactive teaching
materials that only are available via computer. An example of this would
be a piece of software we created that allows the students to watch the
changes in the organization, size, shape and structure of the gut as embryological
development occurs. Since this is a three-dimensional, active process,
it is a difficult concept for students to master. We used to spend hours
in the lab with a model made of stocking nylon, wood and rubber tubing
to demonstrate what was occurring. Now, the students can work through
the concept at their own pace on the computer screen.
is the Anatomical Gift Program?
The Anatomical Gift Program is the method through which the people of
Western New York may make a donation of their bodies for use in teaching
and research. Under the Uniform Donation Act, the School of Medicine and
Biomedical Sciences is authorized to accept such donations. The school
is the only institution in Western New York that may accept such donations.
We are charged with the responsibility to make sure that all donations
are legally executed. Other institutions that may want to use anatomical
materials must acquire those materials either through our program or similar
programs at other medical schools throughout the state. You can find more
information at http://wings.buffalo.edu/smbs/ana/agp
or by calling 829-2913 and speaking to Debbie Murrello
may make a donation?
The majority of our donationsalmost 99 percentare made by
individuals during their life. Anyone who is of legal age can make a donation
of their body. After an individual passes away, his or her next of kin
may choose to donate. This university will accept donations made prior
to an individual's death without any restrictions. We occasionally will
receive a call from a relative who tells us, "My (relative) always told
me they wanted to donate their body to science, but they never got around
to it. Is there a way I can honor their last wish?" In such a case, if
the entire family agrees, we will consider the request. Currently, our
program has approximately 8,500 individuals who have pledged their bodies
to us at the time of their death. For the past several years, that has
meant we have received about 225 donations annually. This year, we have
received 90 donations to date, which puts on a pace to receive 350 donations
happens to the remains?
All the individuals who make donations to our program also agree to have
their remains cremated. We do that in a facility located within the anatomy
lab. The cremains may be returned to the family of the individual who
made the donation, or they may be interred at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in consecrated
ground. Finally they may be interred in the Skinnersville Cemetery on
the North Campus, where the university has a series of gravesites.
me about the memorial service.
Actually there are two types of memorial services. The one you are probably
referring to occurs about every 18 months. These services are held at
Skinnersville Cemetery and are coordinated with the interment of the cremains
of those individual who directed we place their ashes in the "university
cemetery." We invite the families and friends of all the individuals whose
ashes are being interred. This service usually is attended by more than
300 people and is officiated by the campus ministers. It includes readings
from scripture, remembrances from students who benefited from the generous
donations made by the individuals being interred, and comments by family
and friends. Another memorial service is held every year. At the conclusion
of the fall Gross Anatomy Course, students organize a memorial service.
This service, which is attended by almost the entire first-year class,
is held to commemorate and give thanks for the generous gift of knowledge
given to the students by the anonymous individual the students have just
spent the semester learning from.
a very diverse individualyou have a doctorate in anthropology and
you direct the Office of Medical Computing as well as the anatomy lab
and gift program. How does it all relate?
I like to think it all relates because of the broad education I was lucky
enough to receive. When I entered college, I expected to graduate with
a degree in biology. When I took a course in physical anthropology to
fill my schedule, I found what I really loved. In graduate school, my
advisor insisted I take gross anatomy, not only to acquire an understanding
of the physical structure of humans, but so that I would be able to teach
it. I spent a lot of time working in a primate anatomy lab as a way to
fund my education. That gave me the anatomy background. In order to conduct
the research I wanted to do for my doctorate, I had to use the power of
computers. This occurred at the exact time PCs were introduced, and so
just like falling into anthropology, I fell into the beginnings of the
personal computer revolution. I was an early adopter of the technology;
in fact, I built my first computer from a kit and have never looked back.
Today, I tell people you learn as much at college as you do in college,
and I think in my case that is certainly true.
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