First-year medical students honored their “first patients”— those who donated their bodies to science—with music, poetry, and red roses at a poignant ceremony on May 11.
The NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (NYITCOM) annual donor memorial service paid tribute to 38 donors and their families. Students filled a lecture hall and listened to remarks by NYITCOM leaders, readings by classmates, a harp solo by student Audrey Green, and a rendition of “Over the Rainbow” by the medical school’s a cappella group, the Note-O-Chords.
“With conscious appreciation for the generous wishes of these individuals, we were taught the beautiful intricacies and mysterious complexities of the human body,” said Class of 2019 President Ali Bokhari. “As a result, we go forward into the field of medicine with a heightened sense of duty and gratitude.”
Associate Professor Brian Beatty, who coordinates the body donor program, said the ceremony reminds students of the sacrifices others have made for their education. The donations enable students to learn the structure and relationships of the human body, more so than any review of a textbook or computer simulation.
“Being the doctor that helps people live long healthy lives is the reason we all are here doing this, and nothing highlights that better than reflecting on the life of these people,” said Beatty.
Following the indoor ceremony, students lined up outside the Serota building to place red roses at the base of a young maple tree near the campus pond and trees from previous ceremonies.
Students from NYIT’s Physician Assistant Studies program, who take separate anatomy courses, also contributed poems and letters to honor their six donors.
WCBS-TV featured the ceremony in a segment on its May 11 broadcast.