Penn State College of Medicine hosts donor families for ceremony

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – Thursday afternoon, the Penn State College of Medicine held a memorial for individuals who have given their bodies for one final service to humanity.

“For families to have that selfless act for the benefit of our own education it truly means a lot for us,” Nigel Ravida, a second-year medical student, said.

Students from the college use donated bodies to get hands-on experience that can’t be learned in a classroom.

“Really being able to learn from these donors and see anatomy firsthand is really important no matter what specialty or specific career we end up going into,” Dana Dirnberger, a second-year medical student, said.

The school welcomed family members to a ceremony that had music and reflections from families and students.

The students had the chance to interact with donor families, which is something they don’t take lightly.

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“Being able to hear the stories from families and interact with them and see some pictures of their loved ones and hear what it meant to that person to donate their body as well is really important,” Dirnbereger said.

“Just to be able to share a great moment like this together and have those conversations I think is a huge element,” Ravida said.

It’s the ninth year that the school is having the event. The College of Medicine has around 190 students, and many were at the ceremony.

Studying donor bodies for an entire year is beneficial, but remembering that those people are not a statistic is just as important.

“What they don’t get is the full story of who this person is. That’s why something like this is brilliant in that it’s not just an opportunity to say thank you to the families, it’s an opportunity to hear from the family,” Dr. Evan Goldman, the director of anatomy with the school, said.

Dr. Goldman says that the students had been working since April to put the ceremony together.

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