April is National Donate Life Month. This is a time to recognize the need that many patients have for replacement organs. It is also a time to express gratitude to those who chose to meet that need through the process of donation.

Saving lives is the first priority for most donation programs, but McGovern Medical School has an additional need. Donations of whole bodies are necessary for the education of medical students and the continuing education of residents and practicing physicians.

The Willed Body Program at McGovern Medical School currently receives nearly 300 donations per year. That is sufficient to meet the needs of medical student education, but the Willed Body Program also supports other programs in the Houston area and around the state that do not have their own programs. In addition, the program supports resident and physician training in surgical techniques at Houston area hospitals, including Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Houston Methodist, and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Individuals interested in learning more about the Willed Body Program can contact the program coordinator, Tammy Guillen at Tamatha.D.Guillen@uth.tmc.edu.  The program also can receive donations after death at the request of the family. Unfortunately, not every donation can be accepted, but Guillen can help families through the donation process.