University of Arizona Willed Body Program: Whole-Body Donation

Since 1967, the Willed Body Program at The University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, has remained committed to honoring the wishes of our donors to further the education of future and current health professionals through the gift of body donation. 

Located in Tucson, Arizona, the Willed Body Program serves students, educators and medical residents throughout the United States by connecting them with residents of Arizona who have opted to become body donors. Some of the Arizona universities we work with include:

  • University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson and Phoenix campuses
  • Arizona State University (ASU)
  • Northern Arizona University (NAU)
  • A.T. Still University

As a whole-body donation program, we continue the long-standing tradition of supporting medical education and training while attending to our donors and their survivors with respect and integrity. We honor our body donors by exceeding the standards of anatomical donation and the regulations determined by the Arizona Anatomical Gift Act (Chapter 7, Articles 1-3), the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act and FDA guidelines for the handling of human remains.

How Body Donation Benefits Students

Students gain invaluable experience that is made possible by the extraordinary gifts from body donors. Body donations give students the foundation for the practical skills and knowledge that are essential to a future practice in medicine. The anatomy lab provides students with the unique opportunity to learn about the structures of the human body and how they function through touch and discovery. Every person’s body is unique, and the subtle differences in the structures found in each person's body can only be observed in real people. Anatomical donations are foundational to medical education because they let students learn how the idealized illustrations found in textbooks and models present themselves in the real world.

With Gratitude to Our Donors

Every year, the medical students from the University of Arizona express their gratitude to the families and friends of our donors by planting a tree dedicated to those donors who passed away that year and by holding a memorial service in their honor.

For directions to visit the Willed Body Program Memorial in person, click here.


Willed Body Memorial Service

With Gratitude to Our Donors

Each year, the second-year University of Arizona medical students hold a memorial service to honor our body donors for their incomparable gifts of knowledge. The body donor's friends, families and loved ones are invited to attend the service. This is a memorable experience for everyone, because it provides the medical students with insight into the donors’ lives and allows them the opportunity to show their appreciation to the donors' friends and families.

Becoming a Body Donor

Body donation for education is a personal decision that reflects your desire to advance medical knowledge. Other reasons for donating your body to science are altruism, a specific wish to further medical education or to give back to your alma mater. Be sure to visit our FAQs page for answers to some of the most common questions about body donation.


Memorial Trees

A Living Tribute
With thoughts of comfort and peace, these trees were planted by The University of Arizona College of Medicine medical students in memory of your loved one.

Desert Willow (Sweet Katie) - Chilopsis Linearis
Planted August 9, 2017