Willed-Body Program

Doctors have relied on the study of the human anatomy since the practice of medicine first began. People who bequeath their remains to the University of Central Florida College of Medicine help our students and others learn to become future healers.

The Willed-Body Program allows Florida residents 18 and older to make a difference in a medical student's education. Regulated by the Anatomical Board of the State of Florida, the program helps individuals donate their bodies for the training of physicians, dentists, physician assistants and other health workers.

Here is helpful information on the UCF College of Medicine's Willed-Body Program. We thank you for your generous consideration.

  • Ms. Jennifer J. Mark
  • Director, Anatomical Facilities
  • 6850 Lake Nona Blvd
  • Orlando, FL 32827
  • Phone: 407.266.1142
  • Fax: 407.266.1194
  • Email: Jennifer.Mark@ucf.edu

A Thank You From Dr. Payer

On behalf of our medical students, I want to thank you for considering a generous gift to the UCF College of Medicine's Willed-Body Program. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the importance of willed-bodies in training the minds, hearts and hands of young physicians.

I have taught anatomy for over 35 years, and when it comes to teaching the science and the art of the human body, there is simply no substitute for your gift. No computer program or two-dimensional drawing can substitute for the knowledge young medical students get from studying an actual human body's anatomy in preparation for their first encounters with living patients.

Human cadavers are our students' first patient and as such, they are treated with dignity, respect and appreciation. As you see here, each year our students honor their first patients at the end of Anatomy Lab with a send-off ceremony, a medical school tradition that thanks the individuals who willed their remains for their role as teachers - about health, disease, life and death.

I have talked with many individuals interested in willing their bodies to medical education. One that particularly stands out was a 23-year-old man who came to my office years ago. He was dying from terminal brain cancer. He wanted to donate his body to medicine in the hope that medical students would learn from him. He asked me to give my students this message when they first encountered him in the anatomy lab. "Tell them I was a good guy," he said. "And tell them I hope they learn a lot from me."

On behalf of students and faculty at the UCF College of Medicine and the many individuals who preceded you on this noble path, let me thank you again for your consideration.

Andrew Payer, Ph.D

Director of the UCF College of Medicine Willed-Body Program

Common Questions

Can my body be donated if I have a serious disease at the time of my death or die from a crushing injury?

No, the Anatomical Board cannot accept bodies of persons dying from crushing injuries, sepsis, or highly communicable diseases (such as hepatitis or AIDS).

How long would my remains be used for medical education and research purposes?

Medical education and research procedures take up to two years to be completed. If a request has been made for the return of the cremains, we will contact the family at the time that the ashes are available.

What happens to my body after the medical studies are complete?

The ashes can be returned to the family or location selected by the family for final interment. The Anatomical Board will pay for shipping the ashes, but the cost of interment is the responsibility of the survivors.

If no request has been made for the return of the cremains to the survivors, the Anatomical Board takes responsibility for spreading the cremains over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

How old do I have to be donate my body?

Enrollment is open to anyone 18 years of age or older.

Can I donate someone else's body, for example, that of my wife or husband?

This cannot be done while the donor is living unless you hold power-of-attorney. Documentation to this effect will be required. Otherwise, after the individual dies, the nearest living next-of-kin can donate the body by consent.

If I move from the State of Florida, what happens to my donation?

Notify the Anatomical Board that you wish to withdraw your donation. We will then assist you, if you desire, in contacting a medical school in your new area of residence or you may check our list of body donation programs.

What happens if I die outside of the State of Florida?

If death occurs outside the State of Florida, there are two options.

The Anatomical Board will assist the donor's family in making arrangements to have the remains donated to the nearest medical school or the family may check our list of body donor programs for information on the closest medical school.

If the next-of-kin insists that the body be returned to the Anatomical Board, the survivors must assume responsibility for the embalming and transportation costs. A funeral director in the area where the donor expired should be contacted. The funeral director can then contact the Anatomical Board for specific embalming instructions.

Will there be any expense to my family or estate for donating my body to the Anatomical Board?

The expense which must be paid by the next-of-kin or estate of the deceased are all funeral home expenses which include:

» The preliminary embalming
» Transportation to the University of Central Florida College of Medicine.

Charges for these services are determined by individual funeral homes, crematories or mortuaries. You may wish to discuss arrangements with more than one funeral director. The Anatomical Board will assume costs for storage, cremation, and final disposition of the cremains.

Am I required to use a specific funeral home to make arrangements for the transportation and handling of my body?

At the time of death, the remains must be taken to a funeral home of the family's choice. The funeral director should be told of the wishes of the deceased to have his or her body made available for use in medical education. The funeral director should be told to notify the Anatomical Board prior to transporting the body to Orlando.

Will my body be used in states other than Florida?

All donations to the Anatomical Board of the State of Florida are currently used at universities, colleges and institutions within Florida that have been inspected and approved by the Board.

To Our Greatest Teachers

send-off ceremony candle lighting 2012Some of our greatest teachers were once among the living, going to work, making a living, raising a family, and not really thinking about all that we would learn from them.

The greatest teachers we could ever ask for shared lives of happiness, memories, pain and sadness with many.  They may have raised a family and enjoyed grandchildren.  They may have traveled to exotic places around the world. They may have shared personal feelings and love with those close to them.  They may have had a career that was successful and rewarding.  They may have spent time volunteering to help others in need.

The greatest teachers we could ever ask for never knew us, yet they had the courage and willingness to be there for us even during the end of their lives. They shared with us all we could ever ask for, and we were eager to learn all there was to know.

We never knew the details of their lives, but as we learned from them, we began to understand what may have been going on inside of them toward their life’s end. We wondered at the time of their death whether they were in pain, with their family, or alone.

The greatest teachers we could ever ask for were individuals we never met yet now we know everything about them. They will be forever with us, still teaching and reminding us every step of the way. They were more than textbooks, notes, lectures or presentations. They were among the greatest people we will have ever met.

We thank every one of them for the greatest gift one could ever give.  We were not given the cause of their death. Instead, we had to present a clinical pathology conference to our peers and faculty, demonstrating everything we learned about them, including our opinion about their cause of death and their quality of life around the time of their death.

Later, our class held a memorial to our greatest teachers to honor them, say goodbye, but most of all to say thank you.