The Anatomy Bequest Program receives whole body donations in order to support medical education and research requests from within the state of Minnesota. The primary mission of the Anatomy Bequest Program is to support medical education and research requests which come from academic institutions, governmental organizations, non-profit, and for-profit organizations.
Most requests for access to human tissue fall into one of two categories. The first category is education. The Anatomy Bequest Program supports the anatomy education of several thousand future and current health care providers annually. Clinical skills training labs and continuing education requests have increased tremendously in the past five years. Beyond this educational category, human tissue from the Anatomy Bequest Program has been part of the education of citizens as well in such venues as the Minnesota State Fair for heart and brain health events, middle and high school for drug and tobacco use prevention campaigns, and the University of Minnesota Mini Medical School.
The second category is research. The University of Minnesota is a progressive research institution credited with many novel healthcare advances. Medical researchers need access to human tissue to better understand disease processes as well as work to identify new treatments and cures. The Twin Cities area is known as a biomedical hub. There are many biomedical device companies which are working to better understand and treat a variety of diseases and need access to human tissue in order to inform their work.
A common request involves a health care provider working with biomedical engineers on either a novel therapy technique or device to treat a disorder or disease.
How to request access to human tissue
When an educator or researcher is interested in requesting access to human tissue, they must complete an access proposal form (if you are using Firefox, right click on the link and select Save Link As. Then open the file in Adobe Acrobat.) and return the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org. The access proposal form for an anatomy or continuing medical education course can be found here. The access proposal form for research, clinical skills training, or biomedical design can be found here. The Anatomy Bequest Program Proposal Review Committee is a panel of three individuals which reviews each proposal and determines if the proposal has scientific merit and is within the scope of the donation consent given by the Anatomy Bequest Program donors.
If the proposal is approved, a member of the Anatomy Bequest Program lab staff will contact the educator or researcher to discuss the next steps for the study.
Proposals only need to be completed once every three years unless there are changes to the course or study protocol.
How ABP can support your request
The Anatomy Bequest Program can provide a variety of different types of medical education and research support. More information on the support services offered can be found here.
The Anatomy Bequest Program works to try to make it easy for educators and researchers to do the right thing while keeping an ethical and legal framework in place to protect the public’s trust in our program and maintain respect for the donor and his or her family.
Here is a sample of a few policies the Anatomy Bequest Program has in place:
The Anatomy Bequest Program only supports requests from within Minnesota unless special circumstances warrant an exception and with the additional permission from the donor’s next-of-kin or authorized person.
The Anatomy Bequest Program audits each facility requesting use of human remains prior to release of the tissue. All tissue must be returned the Anatomy Bequest Program for final disposition.
The Anatomy Bequest Program requires all students registered in an Anatomy lab to participate in a lab orientation session given in person by a program staff member or by watching the video below. After the orientation, each student must review and sign an orientation disclosure form.