Together, with every learner taught, and research advancement made, we can make a difference
The body is the greatest teacher, and it has a story to tell. It teaches students an incredible lesson about
life that a textbook can never replace. Students always remember that remarkable moment in the anatomy lab,
beginning with their very first donor, when they learned to respect and honour the human body.
You can make a meaningful contribution by donating your body to the UBC Faculty of Medicine. The Body Donation Program (BDP) provides real life training to the next generation of doctors, dentists, and health care professionals. Body donors are part of a community that selflessly gives back to support anatomical education, medical training, and scientific research.
The UBC Body Donation Program
Since 1950, the UBC Body Donation Program, rooted from the start in respect and dignity for the donors,
provides learners and health care professionals with an extraordinary learning experience. We train more
than 1,000 individuals each year, each of whom will have a positive impact on the health and well-being
of many thousands in the coming decades.
Individuals who wish to make a significant contribution to the program can choose to donate indefinitely, a portion of their body may be retained to benefit all students of anatomy for years to come. You can be assured that your donation will be handled with the same care and respect that everyone deserves from their health care professionals.
UBC Faculty, students, and trained clinicians use donations for examination and dissection, surgical training sessions such as: plastic surgery, orthopedics, gynecology, and emergency medicine, and medical research. Upon consent donors also agree to providing specimens for tissue sampling, serology testing, and medical imaging of anatomical material. The UBC Body Donation Program does not perform autopsiesor disease specific research.
The Memorial Service
Students express their appreciation of the special privilege granted to them by hosting a beautiful memorial ceremony in the fall of every year. Including musical performances and words of gratitude, family members and loved ones are invited to honour the donor and share fond memories with speeches and unforgettable stories. Favorite pictures and treasured belongings of the donor can be displayed in the memory hall for all guests to view. Invitations to the ceremony, held at the Life Sciences Centre at UBC, are sent to close family members and next of kin in early August.
Respect and dignity are the core principles, understood and reflected, by all members of the Body Donation Program team. Beginning with your enrolment, you can be assured that you will be shown the highest degree of care by UBC. Faculty and students embody these principles throughout the educational process, resulting in graduates who will honour commitments made when first working with donor bodies in the anatomy lab.
As the custodian of the donations, the University ensures that the anonymity, confidentiality and dignity of our donors is upheld.
“I would like people to know that we’re here for you. If it’s something that you might consider for yourself, you think you might like to give back in that way, you probably have some questions about how that works, and what happens with your body, and I want people to be reassured.”
Matt Tinney, Manager, Gross Anatomy Lab, Body Donation Program
Your Donation is an Incredible Gift to Education
and the Health of the Community
Learning from human specimens makes a significant educational impact on students training to be healthcare professionals. Students develop a strong skill set and hands on anatomical training from which essential knowledge about the human body grows. Nine out of ten UBC MD graduates who completed their residency at UBC end up practicing in BC, giving back to our local communities.
From death comes life. Body donors provide a service to future generations
that carries on long after they have passed. Their thoughtful choice provides students and practicing
health care professionals with an invaluable experience that can not be replicated by a video or
captured in a text book.
Those who learn from our donors are grateful for the unique opportunity they have to work with a human body. They are aware of the obligation to conduct themselves in a professional manner and those who donate their bodies to the medical school can be assured that all human remains are handled with the dignity and respect that should be afforded to anyone.
“Someone who has died can then live on, in the hands and in the heart of our students, as they go about practicing their medicine over many years. I would say that our donors actually create legacy with that donation.”
“It was really amazing to me that the last people to spend time with my grandparents would have been my now called colleagues. And knowing who they are and what they are like, there are very few people that I would trust or want to be the last people to see my grandparents.”
2nd Year UBC Medical Student
Associate Professor of Teaching
Click to learn more about the Body Donation Program from those directly impacted by the generosity of our donors.
To make the donation process as simple as possible, we have outlined simple steps the donor and their family need to take before and after passing. For all the details on the process, please select one of the options below.
If you are ready to register, download copies of the appropriate consent forms below
If you have any questions about the process, please refer to
our Frequently Asked Questions or
sections. The Body Donation Program Team is here to answer all of your questions and reassure you about
For us, it is also important that the staff assisting with phone calls, helping with registration, and processing the donation will be the same staff receiving the donor’s body, to ensure the donor and their families will always be treated with dignity and respect.
“Our staff handles all those responsibilities as it is important that that’s the case, because
they have that interaction from start to finish, so it keeps us daily reminded and humbled by the gift
and the privilege that we have to be working with the donors’ bodies.”
Matt Tinney, Manager Gross Anatomy Lab, Body Donation Program
Know someone who may be interested in registering for the Body Donation Program? Download a copy of the brochure below
Contact Tel: 604-822-2578
Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
2350 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z3