ACHE Anatomical Donation Program
Dear Potential Donor,
Thank you for your interest in the Anatomical Donation Program at Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE). ACHE has a need for anatomical donations to provide our students with the best possible education, however, we do not solicit anatomical donations. Please know that we recognize your selfless decision to gift your body to healthcare education and research likely improves the quality of life for countless patients in the future.
The ACHE Anatomical Donation Program is a “Whole Body” program that follows both state and federal legislation (i.e., Revised Arkansas Anatomical Gift Act and Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act [A.C.A. 20-17-1201 et. seq]). Anyone who is of sound mind, and at least eighteen years of age, or an emancipated minor, or is at least 16 years of age and authorized by state law to apply for a driver’s license, or the parent of an unemancipated minor, or the donor’s guardian, and desires to give his or her body to the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program. Even after death, certain individuals may make an anatomical gift on behalf of the decedent (A.C.A. 20-17-1209).
There are situations in which an anatomical donor may not be suitable for our program. If the donor is accepted by the ACHE Anatomical Donation at the time of death, ACHE will pay all expenses from transportation (within 50 miles of Fort Smith) to cremation. However, if a donor is determined to be unusable for anatomical donation, survivors will need to make other arrangements for the body’s final disposition, including associated costs.
A donor may cancel his/her anatomical gift at any time prior to death by notifying us in writing, so that we may change our records. After death, revocation of the anatomical gift may also be made under A.C.A. 20-17-1209 and 1210. However, the revocation must occur before the initial transportation of the donor.
Again, your anatomical donation is an invaluable gift and as such, dignity and respect will ALWAYS be our highest priority! Each year, ACHE students, faculty, and administration will hold a nondenominational memorial service to honor our donors’ noble anatomical gift. Donors’ family members are welcome to attend our donor ceremony.
This packet contains all the forms required for joining the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program as well as additional information for donors and next of kin. Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions that you may have.
David L. McWhorter, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of Anatomy
Please call the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program at 479-308-2243 or click here to send an email.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the mission of this donation program?
Our goal at ACHE is to provide the best education possible for our future physicians and healthcare professionals. Your unselfish gift will help establish a solid educational foundation for our students. The education provided by you, to our students, will endure far beyond the scope of this program. Your gift will also give future physicians the ability to help others and teach others as they go out and pursue their own careers. Dignity and respect are ALWAYS our highest priority next to the quality of education your gift provides.
What do I need to do to donate my body to the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program?
If you are interested in donating your body, you need to be of sound mind and at least 18 years of age (there is no upper age limit) with ACHE Anatomical Donation Program paperwork on file before your passing. These forms require your signature and the signatures of two witnesses 21 years or older. Donors are provided with an ACHE Anatomical Donation card, indicating that a bequest has been made.
ACHE can also accept anatomical donations from both living individuals unable to fill out the donation paperwork and deceased persons who are not signed up with our Anatomical Donation Program. The paperwork would need to be completed by individual ascribed with durable power of attorney for health care. If a durable power of attorney for health care is not in place, donation of behalf of the deceased may be made by next of kin or executor.
Can my body donation (bequest) be made as an addition to a will?
Yes, and one should consult an attorney for details. Completing the required ACHE Anatomical Donor Program paperwork and inclusion of bequeathal wishes in one’s will, legally reinforces to the donor’s heirs of his/her wishes.
Who should I tell about my wishes to be an ACHE anatomical donor?
A copy of your donor form should be given to the next of kin or executor to ensure that your wishes are carried out. It is also advisable to inform close family members, your physician, your attorney, and your religious leader of your final wishes.
Who should a donor’s next of kin, executor, or agent notify of a donor’s death?
He/she should contact the donor’s physician, if not reached, contact the country coroner’s office, or police department. Once the proper authorities have been notified, please call the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program at 479-308-2243, so that transportation of the deceased can be arranged. Someone from the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program will be on call 24 hours a day to receive notification. Funeral homes should not be contacted. Personnel from the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program will handle all removal arrangements, including preparation of the death certificate.
What about a viewing or funeral upon my death?
It is imperative that a donor be received and his/her body be prepared for anatomic study as soon as possible following death. Advanced decomposition of the body may disqualify a donor from the program.
May I donate to organ bank programs before my body is accepted by the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program?
No. ACHE students study the human body as a whole. Therefore, a donation cannot be accepted if organs or tissue have been removed. If you signed your driver’s license to be an organ donor and wish to enter our program, you must apply for a replacement driver’s license, revoking your decision to be an organ donor at the DMV.
Are there cases in which a body is not acceptable for anatomical donation?
The ACHE Anatomical Donation Program may decline a donor who may not be suitable for scientific or educational purposes. There are a number of situations that may lead to either a previously enrolled anatomical donor or a potential anatomical donor not being accepted, including:
- Contagious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or C, tuberculosis, and meningitis, Creutzfeldt-Jakob (spongiform encephalitis), methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), and syphilis
- Deceased for more than 24 hours with advanced decomposition
- Previously embalmed or autopsied bodies
- Extreme obesity (>250 lbs.) or height (>6’4”), emaciation, body contracture, or jaundice
- Missing limbs, major organs (e.g., organ donor) or severely invasive surgeries
- Mutilation or extensive trauma of remains (e.g., motor vehicle accident)
- Minor under 18 years old, unless parents donate their child’s body
- Insufficient storage space
If the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program determines that the body is unusable for these or other reasons, survivors will need to make other arrangements for the body’s final disposition. ACHE cannot be responsible for any costs associated with other arrangements.
Will my family or next of kin receive any payment for the donation of my body?
No. It is unlawful to exchange money for anatomical donations.
Will there be any charge to me, my family, and/or estate for the donation of my body?
There is no cost to your family for donation. ACHE will pay all expenses from transportation at the time of death to cremation. However, the donor’s family or estate is responsible for transportation cost beyond 50 miles’ distance from ACHE.
Will it be possible to determine the cause of death or for the next of kin to receive medical findings from the anatomical study of my body?
The cause of death cannot be determined by anatomical study. However, anatomic observations may be noted in the donor’s file and available upon request.
What happens to my body after studies are completed?
Donor remains are cremated at an Arkansas state licensed crematory. There may be an occasion when the donation provides a unique educational opportunity for our students. On such occasions, the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program reserves the right to retain a portion of the donation for archival purposes in order to provide unique teaching opportunities for our future students. Archiving of such specimens will be inclusively retained by ACHE.
Ashes may be returned to the next of kin if the request has been made in advance. You should discuss your wishes with your next of kin and make sure ACHE is kept informed of your decision. Please make sure we always have a current address and phone number for you and your next of kin. Remains are usually returned within 12 to 24 months, but will depend on time of year the donation is received.
A donor’s ashes may be interred anonymously in our Memorial Garden located here on the main campus of ACHE. The wishes of donor cremains should be made using the Authorization to Cremate Remains Form.
What if I change my mind after I have agreed to donate my body?
You can rescind your gift of anatomical donation at any time prior to death by notifying us in writing, so that we may change our records. No questions will be asked.
How does ACHE honor those who have made an anatomical donation?
ACHE students, faculty, and administration host an annual non-denominational memorial service to acknowledge and pay respect to those who have selflessly donated their bodies. Each donor’s family will receive notification of the date and time of the service, should they wish to attend.
Can a financial contribution be made in memory or honor of a loved one?
Yes. If someone wishes to make a donation to the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program in honor or memory of a loved one, please send it to:
Anatomical Donation Program Coordinator
Arkansas Colleges of Health Education
7000 Chad Colley Blvd.
Fort Smith, AR 72916
A letter of financial donation from ACHE will be provided to the donor for tax purposes.
Who do I contact if I have further questions?
Please call the ACHE Anatomical Donation Program at 479-308-2243 or click here to send an email.