The donation of one's body upon death is a unique gift that provides a source of knowledge and training that cannot be substituted by any other means. For the donor, it is a final act of giving that extends beyond the immediate utilization of the body. It is a gift that helps to establish the foundation of our future health care professionals in learning about the intricacies of the human body. At the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC, body donation is vital for physicians, nurses and allied health practitioners to better understand and master human anatomy, and for researchers to potentially advance medical treatments and procedures.
Body donation within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is coordinated through the Humanity Gifts Registry (HGR), which is located in Philadelphia, PA. Since the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is a member of the HGR and recipient of donor bodies for its various health professions programs, the Office for Oversight of Anatomic Specimens (OOAS) responds to all inquiries regarding body donation. The HGR provides the OOAS with its informational material, including donor registration cards, brochure and instructional sheet, to disseminate to interested persons. Inquiries vary and are initated by individuals, hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, social service agencies, and funeral homes on behalf of family members.
One of the most important responsibilities of this Office is to establish an environment of respect and dignity in the utilization of each donor body by faculty, physicians, staff, and students.
For your information, a copy of the brochure prepared by the Humanity Gifts Registry is available here. If you prefer to have the informational packet and donor cards mailed to you, please contact the OOAS at 412-802-8280.
Additionally, if you are interested in donating specific tissue that may be utilized for research on ALS, Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias, or mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disease, there are donation opportunities offered by the following University of Pittsburgh and UPMC programs. Links to some of these programs are:
- Center for ALS Research
- Alzheimer Disease Research Center
- UPMC Neuropathology Brain Only Autopsy Program