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Medical Community Honors Anatomical Donors

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Medical Community Honors Anatomical Donors
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A Ceremony Of Thanksgiving In Memory Of Anatomical Donors
Jasmine Ellis

Individuals in Mississippi who have given their bodies for scientific research and education are being honored for their sacrifice. MPB's Jasmine Ellis has more.

Family members, physicians, and medical students gather at the cemetery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center to give thanks to those who donated their bodies for research. Jacki Burkhalter of Indianola is honoring the memory of her parents, George and Doris Lipe. She says she's proud of her parents for the decision that they made.

"To me it just says that you're a selfless person... you're thinking of others," said Burkhalter. "This is to me the ultimate... not sacrifice... but gift. And so, I admire her and my dad for it."

Huong Pham is a first-year occupational therapy student at the medical center. She says the sacrifice that the donors and their families have made has helped her as a student.

"It's unexplainable," said Pham. "You get to see exactly how a muscle moves. You get to see the nerve innervations. It helps to connect what you learn in lecture and then to what you get in the lab."

Dr. Allan Sinning is professor and chairman of neurobiology and anatomical sciences at UMMC. He has advice for families who are considering donating their loved ones bodies for research.

"The greatest gift that a person can give is to be able to teach someone something," said Sinning. "And our students take these and the information they learn is used completely for the rest of their lives in their medical or dental practice or in their physical therapy programs."

Dr. Sinning says there are about 8,000 people in Mississippi on the waiting list to serve as anatomical donors.