Transformation and Closure for Anatomical Donor Families that Meet Medical Students

Nancy L. Halliday, Mary B. Moon, Daniel L. O'Donoghue, Britta M. Thompson, Sheila M. Crow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine has conducted an annual Anatomical Donor Luncheon where families of the anatomical donors met anatomy dissection groups of medical students. The luncheon presented an opportunity for donor family members to share the life story of their loved one with the medical students prior to the start of the anatomy course. This study was designed to understand the impact of the Anatomical Donor Luncheon on families of the donors. Seven families in two different focus groups were included to explore the reactions and attitudes of the donor families to meeting the medical students. Conversations were digitally recorded and transcribed. Qualitative analysis of textual data were coded by three investigators using the Constant Comparative Method. To provide evidence of validity, a form of member checking was utilized. For further triangulation, an analyst not involved in conducting the focus groups or analyzing the data, re-coded all data. This analyst used categories and themes identified by the original analysts, ensuring validity of the themes and any negative cases (data not supporting or contradictory of the established categories and themes). One meta-theme and three sub-themes were identified. The meta-theme was Donor Family Participants Experience Transformation and Closure, and sub-themes were Motivators for Participation, Optimal Venue Factors, and Optimal Medical Student–Anatomical Donor Family Interactions. Study findings indicated the Anatomical Donor Luncheon facilitated closure on the death of their loved one, and transformed their apprehension about the luncheon and body donation into an attitude of gratitude and appreciation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-406
Number of pages8
JournalAnatomical sciences education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Embryology


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