ACOM Willed Body Program

Virtual First Patient Memorial Service

This special memorial service was hosted recently, where students from our Class of 2027 honored the anatomical donors to the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine and reflected upon their priceless gift to medical education.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Willed Body Program is currently unable to accept body donations from deceased individuals who have tested positive for the virus or who are suspected to be positive for the virus at the time of death.  Loved ones of the deceased will need to be prepared to make alternate end of life arrangements under these circumstances.

Due to social distancing restrictions, the Willed Body Program will be unable to invite loved ones of our donors to join us on campus for the annual First Patient Memorial Service.  We will notify loved ones of alternate memorial service arrangements once they have been finalized.

We thank you for your patience and continued support of the Willed Body Program during this time.

The Willed Body Program at ACOM provides an opportunity for individuals to make whole body donations to medical education and research.

Each donation to the Willed Body Program is a deeply appreciated gift. Your donation will always be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

An anatomical donation to ACOM will aid in educating multiple classes of medical students. In turn, those future medical professionals will take the knowledge learned from your generous donation and apply that information when treating each patient. As a result, every whole body donation gifted to the Willed Body Program will serve to touch the lives of countless individuals.

To be a donor you must be at least 18 years of age and reside within a 60 mile radius of the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Donations gifted to the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine Willed Body Program are used for medical education and research.  It is important to ensure that the donations received provide the maximum educational benefit while minimizing exposure of our students, faculty, and staff to unnecessary risks. If a potential donor has any of the following medical conditions at the time of death, he/she could be deemed ineligible to donate to the program.

  • Coronavirus
  • Hepatitis
  • C-Diff
  • Tuberculosis
  • Meningitis
  • Prion diseases (e.g., Creutzfeldt-Jakob)
  • Open wounds (stage 3/stage 4)
  • Jaundice
  • Severe contractures
  • MRSA, Staph, VRE infections (active)
  • Morbid obesity
  • Shingles (active)
  • Emaciation
  • STDs (active infections)
  • Massive trauma
  • Syphilis
(This list is not all inclusive.)

First Patient Memorial

This first-of-its-kind memorial honors those individuals whose selfless generosity enriched the medical education of future physicians at ACOM. The wealth of knowledge gained through their priceless gift of body donation extends beyond the classroom. These donations served as the medical students’ first patients during their gross anatomy course and for the students, the memory of their first patients will guide them as they care for countless patients yet to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Willed Body Program at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine is a program that provides an opportunity for individuals to make whole body donations to medical education and research.

Each donation to the Willed Body Program is a deeply appreciated gift.  Your donation will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

To become a donor, complete the donor forms and return the completed forms to the Willed Body Program.

Yes, a donor must be at least 18 years of age.

Conditions listed below are some examples that could result in a donor being rejected from the program:

Illnesses such as coronavirus, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, prion diseases, jaundice, MRSA, active infections, etc.

Morbid obesity or emaciation (determined on an individual height and weight basis)

Mutilation, disfigurement, or decomposition


Missing limbs or major organs

Facility at capacity

Enrollment paperwork and program acceptance not completed prior to death

Not notifying the program within 8 hours of death

No, this program is a whole body donation program.

There are no expenses associated with being a donor providing that death occurs within the servicing area of the program.  Upon notification of death, the Willed Body Program takes financial responsibility for the transport and preparation of the body for admission into the program.

No, payment will not be provided to the donor or family of the donor.

Your donation will be used for educational purposes.  With donor permission, your donation may also be used for medical research.

The body will be kept for the duration of the study period which could be up to three years.  With donor permission, the body may remain at the medical school for extended or permanent study.

With donor permission, portions of your donation may be retained permanently for educational purposes.  Examples may include organs such as the heart or brain or abnormal findings such as tumors that can be used for permanent teaching purposes.

With donor permission, portions of your donation may be used for medical research.  Experiments using

specific body parts may be performed in order to make advancements in medical research.  Depending on

the type of research performed, portions of your donation used for this purpose may be excluded from

the donor cremains.

The medical history of the donor is valuable to integrate human anatomy with clinical diagnosis during the course of study.

No, all medical findings will be kept confidential.

At the conclusion of the study period, the donor remains are cremated.  The ashes are either returned to the family of the donor or placed in a designated memorial location.

With permission from the donor, the Willed Body Program may allow your donation to be utilized by other approved medical education institutions.

The next-of-kin/executor/personal representative should be informed about your decision to be a donor.

All donors must complete enrollment forms and be accepted to the program prior to death.  If the prospective donor is incapacitated, the next-of-kin or executor or personal representative may complete the enrollment forms on behalf of the donor.

After the program receives your completed application forms, a donor card will be mailed to you to confirm your participation in the program.  However, donations may be rejected at death if disqualifying conditions exist.

If the donor has a disqualifying condition at death, the body may not be accepted for use in the program.  If the body is rejected, the next-of-kin or executor or personal representative is responsible for any expenses relating to alternate death arrangements for the donor.

The Willed Body Program is responsible for ensuring a death certificate has been filed.  The death certificate is available 2-3 weeks after death and can be obtained from the public health department (physical location or website) of the state where the death occurred.  The program is not responsible for creating an obituary, filing for social security benefits, or any other death related documentation.

Because the program needs to be notified within 8 hours of death, a funeral service with the body is not possible.  However, funeral services without the body may still be held at the discretion of loved ones.

Yes, each year a memorial ceremony is held for donors.

Each donor can choose whether his/her donation remains anonymous, or if he/she would like to be recognized for the donation during the annual memorial service.

The medical school has a servicing radius of approximately 60 miles.  If death occurs outside of this servicing area, the next-of-kin or executor or personal representative will be responsible for making alternate arrangements for the deceased.  The Willed Body Program will contact other anatomical donation programs within proximity of the location of death upon request to aid families under these circumstances.

If you would like to change your donation, contact your current anatomical donation program to withdraw your donation.  Then contact the ACOM Willed Body Program to become a donor.

If you move to a location outside of the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine servicing area, you may withdraw your participation from the Willed Body Program and choose to donate to an anatomical donation program in your new location.

Yes, you can withdraw from the program by notifying the Willed Body Program of your decision.

Yes, financial contributions and/or business services may be donated to the Willed Body Program.