HMS Anatomical Gift Program & Federal Investigation

  • What is the scope and purpose of the review by the external panel?

    Separate from the criminal investigation into Cedric Lodge’s activities and as part of its oversight of Harvard Medical School, the Harvard University Office of the President and Provost appointed a panel of three outside experts to evaluate the Anatomical Gift Program and related policies and practices, with the goal of providing constructive feedback and recommendations to ensure that the program adheres to the highest standards and best practices. The panel has concluded its work, culminating in a report released Dec. 7, 2023, on our public website at provost.harvard.edu/AGP-update.

  • Did the panel make any findings or conclusions about Lodge’s alleged criminal activities?

    No. As Lodge’s activities are the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation and prosecution, the panel evaluated the Anatomical Gift Program and related policies and practices with the goal of providing constructive feedback and recommendations to ensure that the program adheres to the highest standards and best practices.

  • Who are the members of the external panel?

    The outside experts who served on the panel included:

    • Sally S. Aiken, MD, forensic pathologist and former (retired) chief of the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office in Spokane, Washington, and former president of the National Association of Medical Examiners
       
    • Robert J. McKeon, MS, PhD, associate professor of cell biology and director of the Body Donor Program at Emory University School of Medicine
       
    • Brandi Schmitt, MS, executive director of anatomical services at University of California Health and former interim director of the donated body program at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and curator of the donated body program at UC Davis School of Medicine
  • What are the next steps following the release of this report?

    As a critical next step, Harvard has appointed a task force chaired by HMS Dean for Medical Education Bernard Chang to review the external panel’s recommendations and to develop an implementation plan in an expedient and thoughtful manner.

    As Harvard University Provost Alan M. Garber and Dean for the Faculty of Medicine George Q. Daley have shared with next of kin, “We take our responsibility for oversight of the Anatomical Gift Program seriously. We owe it to our anatomical donors and to you, their loved ones, to ensure that Harvard is worthy of those who, through selfless generosity, have chosen to advance medical education and research. An anatomical donation is among the most altruistic acts and deserves our attention and profound respect.”

  • Will Harvard wait to make changes to the Anatomical Gift Program until the task force completes its work?

    No. Harvard Medical School has already implemented many changes to ensure the integrity and improve the functioning of the Anatomical Gift Program (AGP). Significant security upgrades have been made to the AGP spaces, and more restrictive access has been established. Donations are accepted during a more limited set of hours, and an electronic tracking system for donors is in place. Physical improvements to the student teaching labs have also been made. A detailed plan for morgue maintenance, repair, and renovation has been approved.  

  • Have you shared the external report with donor families?

    Yes, an email from Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine George Q. Daley was sent Thursday morning, Dec. 7, to the small number of next of kin for whom the Anatomical Gift Program has an email on file. Next of kin without an email on file will receive a paper version of the letter (also available online), sent via first-class mail on Dec. 7. Both the email and paper version of the letter include a link to the external report. We relied on mailed letters because until recently, the Anatomical Gift Program did not collect email contacts for anatomical donors or their next of kin.

  • Have you shared the external report with registered, living anatomical donors?

    Yes, a letter from Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine George Q. Daley was sent to registered, living anatomical donors via first-class mail on Dec. 7 and included a link to the external report. This letter is also available online. We relied on mailed letters because until recently, the Anatomical Gift Program did not collect email contacts for anatomical donors.

  • The Anatomical Gift Program paused the acceptance of body donations in June. Has this pause been lifted?

    Yes, the pause has been lifted as of Nov. 15, 2023.

  • What is the latest on the criminal investigation into former HMS employee Cedric Lodge?

    Harvard Medical School has created a webpage with brief updates on the criminal investigation into Cedric Lodge, as announced publicly by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and available through the public court docket: U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Docket No. 4:23-cr-00159.

    Future updates on the criminal case from the USAO can be found at www.justice.gov/usao-mdpa in the News section. To access the court case docket, members of the public can register through www.pacer.uscourts.gov. There is a modest fee ($.10/page) for accessing case information, but no charge if the user does not exceed $30 per quarter.

  • Besides Cedric Lodge, were Harvard or any other Harvard employees charged with criminal activity?

    Other than former employee Cedric Lodge, no one at HMS is facing any criminal charges or is suspected of any wrongdoing. As stated in the indictment, these activities were carried out without the knowledge or permission of anyone else at HMS. Additionally, per the indictment, Lodge allegedly conspired with individuals who had no connection to Harvard in carrying out the activity.

  • Will the individuals whose remains were impacted by the alleged criminal activity be positively identified?

    The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has said it will continue to attempt to identify victims. Unfortunately, the USAO also has indicated that positive identifications are not likely possible given the nature of the alleged crime.

    Anyone who believes they or a family member may have been affected by the conduct charged in the indictments should contact the USAO Victim and Witness Unit at USAPAM.Victim.Information@usdoj.gov or 717-614-4249. Family members and next of kin may also use this contact information to request to be added to the contact list for this criminal case.

  • Will you be able to share the details of exactly what happened and how it happened?

    Any additional available details on the alleged criminal activity in this case would be released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The USAO has said it will continue to attempt to identify victims. Unfortunately, the USAO also has indicated that positive identifications are not likely possible given the nature of the alleged crime.

    Anyone who believes they or a family member may have been affected by the conduct charged in the indictments should contact the USAO Victim and Witness Unit at USAPAM.Victim.Information@usdoj.gov or 717-614-4249. Family members and next of kin may also use this contact information to request to be added to the contact list for this criminal case.

  • Why is this titled Summary Report?

    The panel appeared in person before Harvard University and Harvard Medical School leadership to discuss its findings and recommendations in detail. The report is a full summary of the findings and recommendations resulting from the external panel’s review of the Anatomical Gift Program. The external panel also separately provided non-public operational detail that will be helpful in implementing the recommendations.

  • What is the Anatomical Gift Program?

    The Anatomical Gift Program is an altruistic, whole-body donation program in which individuals can donate their bodies to Harvard Medical School to advance medical education and research following their death. Each year, these generous donations support the teaching of medical and dental students, postgraduate physicians, and students in related disciplines. Private donation is the sole source of these precious educational and research resources.

  • How long has the program existed?

    HMS has had an anatomical gift program under various names since at least the 1960s.

  • Why does HMS need an Anatomical Gift Program? What role does it serve in medical education?

    The study of the human body in medical schools is an invaluable and indispensable part of medical education and research. Learning anatomy through the dissection of human cadavers continues to be a critical and profound part of a medical student’s training and transition to becoming a physician-healer. Our medical and dental students are deeply respectful of and grateful for the anatomical donors, and each year they hold a private memorial service to honor the donors at the conclusion of their studies. 

  • Does HMS receive cadavers from any sources outside of the Anatomical Gift Program?

    No, private donation is the only source.

  • Do other medical schools have similar programs?

    Yes, nearly every medical school in the U.S. has an anatomical gift (or willed/donated body) program.

  • Are there costs associated with participation in the program?

    Harvard Medical School pays a stipend directly to the funeral home to defray transportation costs within Massachusetts, as well as to reimburse for any necessary permits and authorizations, including the certified copy of the death certificate. The donor’s estate is responsible for any costs charged by the funeral director that exceed the stipend paid by HMS. After donated remains have been used for medical education and teaching, HMS carries out the disposition of the remains in accordance with the donor’s directives on the Instrument of Anatomical Gift. The options available are to: 1) Reclaim the remains at the expense of the estate or family for private burial. 2) Request that HMS arrange for cremation, which is conducted offsite at a facility approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Cremated remains can be returned to the donor’s designee, picked up by the donor’s designee at HMS, or buried in a registered grave at Pine Hill Cemetery in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, at HMS’ expense. A memorial service is held every fall to honor donors buried at Pine Hill Cemetery.

  • Are anatomical donors or designees paid?

    No. Massachusetts law prohibits payment for a body donation.

  • What is the difference between whole-body donation and organ and tissue donation?

    Whole-body donation involves a donor choosing to give their whole body, including organs and tissues, to a research university for the advancement of medical education and research. Organ and/or tissue donation focuses on recovering organs and tissues from registered donors to gift to individuals on transplant waiting lists. The Anatomical Gift Program at HMS is a whole-body donation program.

  • Do you have any background information or demographics on the anatomical donors at HMS?

    Anatomical gift donors at HMS represent a range of ages, backgrounds, and every conceivable walk of life. We have an equal number of men and women donors. The majority of donors are White, and we also have some donors who are Black, African American, Asian, and Pacific Islanders.

  • How do individuals enroll in the HMS Anatomical Gift Program?

    In accordance with the Massachusetts Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, individuals can arrange for the donation of their remains by executing the Instrument of Anatomical Gift (pdf). For the Instrument to be valid, the individual must be of sound mind and over 18 years of age, and the Instrument must be signed by two witnesses. The original Instrument is sent to Harvard Medical School, after which the individual will be registered in the program and will receive their letter of acknowledgment and donor card. Individuals may withdraw their donation at any time by notifying the Anatomical Gift Program in writing of their change of intention. For more information, individuals considering donating their remains to the HMS Anatomical Gift Program can email agp@hms.harvard.edu or call 617-432-1735.

  • How does a registered donor unenroll in the Anatomical Gift Program?

    Registered donors who wish to withdraw from the program should send their request in writing to agp@hms.harvard.edu or by mail to: Anatomical Gift Program, Harvard Medical School, Tosteson Medical Education Center Suite 384, 260 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. Once the written request is received, the Anatomical Gift Program will send a formal rescind letter to the donor and update our records accordingly.

  • What happens when a registered anatomical donor dies?

    At the time of the donor’s death, the person responsible for making final arrangements calls Harvard Medical School ASAP at 617-432-1735 to determine if the donation can be accepted. (Although most donors are accepted, HMS reserves the right to decline bodies not suitable for medical study or other reasons.) HMS must receive the donor remains within 24 hours after death, unless a specific exemption is granted. Once a gift is accepted, a funeral director is chosen by the family and consults with HMS about the transportation of the body to HMS. The donor’s remains will stay at HMS for a period of up to approximately 24 months, during which time the remains will be used for medical education and research.

  • Are anatomy labs and donor remains at HMS used by any other education programs?

    In addition to educating students at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine, the anatomy labs and donor remains at HMS are used for educational purposes by physician assistants, residents, and physical therapists in a limited number of accredited programs representing Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), MGH Institute for Health Professions, and Simmons University.

  • What happens to a donor’s remains once studies are complete?

    When studies are complete within a period of up to 24 months, Harvard Medical School carries out the disposition of the remains as directed by the donor on the Instrument of Anatomical Gift. The options available to the donor’s designee are to: 1) Reclaim the remains at the expense of the estate or family for private burial. 2) Request that HMS arrange for cremation, which is conducted offsite at a facility approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Cremated remains can be returned to the donor’s designee, picked up by the donor’s designee at HMS, or buried in a registered grave at Pine Hill Cemetery in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, at HMS’ expense. A memorial service is held every fall to honor donors buried at Pine Hill Cemetery.

  • There have been various efforts and proposals around the country that would put in place new policies or regulations regarding body donation programs at medical schools. What would efforts like this mean for HMS?

    We await the report of an external expert panel that will provide constructive, actionable feedback and recommendations on best practices so that we can ensure the integrity and security of our anatomical gift program. We would welcome the opportunity to engage in discussions with the appropriate authorities on whether regulations or other strategies might best achieve these aims.

  • How long did he work at HMS?

    Cedric Lodge was hired on February 6, 1995, and was terminated on May 6, 2023. During this time, he took two leaves of employment: from Sept. 1, 2021, to Feb. 27, 2022, and from Feb. 14, 2023, until his termination on May 6, 2023. Importantly, the unsealed federal indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania charges Lodge with the unlawful interstate transport of stolen human remains during a specific timeframe — from “in or about 2018 through on or about August 16, 2022” — and not during the entirety of his employment at HMS.

  • Did he interact with donor families?

    No, Cedric Lodge did not interact with donor families.

  • What was his role at HMS?

    Cedric Lodge worked in the morgue as part of the Anatomical Gift Program at HMS. His responsibilities included preparing for and intaking anatomical donors’ bodies, coordinating embalming, overseeing the storage and movement of cadavers to and from teaching labs, and, when studies were complete, preparing remains to be transported to and from the external crematorium and, when appropriate, for burial. While he has been referred to as Morgue Manager, he worked under the director of the AGP program and did not manage any other employees.

  • Was he employed anywhere else in the past that could be connected to this?

    As noted above, Cedric Lodge was an employee of Harvard Medical School beginning February 6, 1995, until he was terminated on May 6, 2023. During this time, he took two leaves of employment: from Sept. 1, 2021, to Feb. 27, 2022, and Feb. 14, 2023, until his termination on May 6, 2023. Federal authorities have not indicated that he was employed anywhere else in the past that could be connected to his alleged criminal activity at HMS.

  • What steps has HMS taken since learning of these allegations?

    We identified two top priorities and actions: 1) We immediately conducted an internal review to confirm that all anatomical donors’ remains that should be on site currently at HMS are present and accounted for, and 2) We acted quickly to reach out to donor families, as well as to members of the HMS community, to provide information, resources, and supports (see below for the list of steps we have taken). Additionally, Harvard University has appointed an external panel of experts to evaluate our Anatomical Gift Program and morgue policies and practices, with the goal of providing constructive feedback and recommendations to improve security for the program and the generous whole-body donations it receives.

  • What steps has HMS taken with regard to notifying donor families?

    We are deeply sorry for the pain and uncertainty caused by this troubling news. HMS pledges to engage and support family members during this distressing time. HMS has launched a webpage with available resources for family members at: https://hms.harvard.edu/family-resources. We have set up an  information and support line for donor families that can be reached at 617-432-1735. On June 14, we expedited a letter to the documented next of kin to inform them of this alleged crime and share the available resources (we are relying on mailed letters because we do not have email contacts for the next of kin).

  • Why didn’t HMS email donor family members?

    We are relying on expedited mailed letters because the Anatomical Gift Program does not collect email contacts for the donors’ next of kin.

  • What steps is Harvard taking going forward?

    HMS is fully cooperating with the FBI and federal authorities in the investigation. We are committed to engaging with and supporting donors’ families and to sharing any new information we may receive. We are also providing support to members of the HMS community. Harvard University has appointed an external panel of experts to evaluate our Anatomical Gift Program and morgue policies and practices, with the goal of providing constructive feedback and recommendations to improve security for the program and the generous whole-body donations it receives.

  • What is Harvard doing to help donors’ families?

    On behalf of the faculty and staff of Harvard Medical School, we are deeply sorry for the pain and uncertainty caused by this troubling news. We pledge to engage with you and support you during this distressing time. HMS has launched a webpage with available resources for family members at: https://hms.harvard.edu/family-resources. We have set up an  information and support line for donor families that can be reached at 617-432-1735. On June 14, we expedited a letter to the documented next of kin to inform them of this alleged crime and share the available resources (we are relying on mailed letters because we do not have email contacts for the next of kin).

  • How can I find out if my loved one was impacted? Where can I get more information?

    Updated June 27, 2023

    Family members can call our information and support line for donor families at 617-432-1735. The individuals answering the phones have a list of Anatomical Gift Program donors, will ask you for the donor’s name and month/year of death, and can disclose whether your loved one’s remains were potentially impacted or not believed to be impacted based on information supplied by federal authorities and HMS’ own records, particularly the logs showing when donor remains were sent to be cremated and when former HMS employee Cedric Lodge was on campus. This is the same information shared in the expedited letters sent on June 14 to the documented next of kin.

    Federal authorities continue to investigate, and additional information may emerge. The U.S. Attorney's Office has also informed us it is not likely that positive identifications will ever be possible. Given the nature of the alleged crime, they have indicated that we may never know with certainty which donors in the “potentially impacted” category were in fact affected. If anyone believes they or a family member may have been affected by the conduct charged in the indictments and information, please contact the U.S. Attorney's Office Victim and Witness Unit at USAPAM.Victim.Information@usdoj.gov or 717-614-4249.

  • Who did HMS send letters to? If I received a letter, does it mean my loved one was impacted or confirmed to be a victim?

    Updated June 27, 2023

    On June 14, HMS mailed expedited letters to the documented next of kin for all anatomical donors over the last two decades. This is a much broader timeframe than what is included in the indictment (“in or about 2018 through on or about August 16, 2022”) because we wanted to be transparent and cast a wide net to inform families about this incident. The letters disclose whether your loved one’s remains were “potentially impacted” or “not believed to be impacted” based on information supplied by federal authorities and HMS’ own records, particularly the logs showing when donor remains were sent to be cremated and when former HMS employee Cedric Lodge was on campus. To be clear, it is our understanding that there is not enough evidence at this time to identify anyone’s remains as being definitively impacted; we can only say whether they were “potentially impacted” or “not believed to be impacted” based on the information detailed above. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has stated that they will continue to attempt to identify victims and contact as many of the victims’ families affected by this case as possible. The U.S. Attorney's Office has also informed us it is not likely that positive identifications will ever be possible. Given the nature of the alleged crime, they have indicated that we may never know with certainty which donors in the “potentially impacted” category were in fact affected. If anyone believes they or a family member may have been affected by the conduct charged in the indictments and information, please contact the U.S. Attorney's Office Victim and Witness Unit at USAPAM.Victim.Information@usdoj.gov or 717-614-4249.

  • I did not receive a letter from HMS. How can I get one?

    Updated July 10, 2023

    The letters from HMS were mailed to documented next of kin. We have since shared the text of the letters on our website, which you can access here. We are unable to provide letters to additional family members beyond next of kin listed by the donor on the form gifting their body. Instead, we direct you to the text of the letter available on our website.

  • My loved one’s body was donated during the timeframe in the indictment (2018 through “on or about Aug. 16, 2022”). Why does the letter I received and/or the call I had with the counselor say that my loved one’s remains are not believed to be impacted?

    Updated June 27, 2023

    The information included in the letters sent to anatomical donors’ documented next of kin and used by counselors from our information and support center is based on details supplied by federal authorities in combination with HMS’ own records, particularly the logs showing when donor remains were sent to be cremated and when former HMS employee Cedric Lodge was on campus. While Cedric Lodge was employed by HMS during the whole timeframe identified in the indictment, he was not on campus from the beginning of September 2021 through the end of February 2022. Since he was not on campus and did not have access to donor remains sent to be cremated during those six months, we are communicating to certain families and next of kin that we do not believe their loved one’s remains were impacted. Federal authorities continue to investigate, and additional information may emerge. The U.S. Attorney's Office has also informed us it is not likely that positive identifications will ever be possible. Given the nature of the alleged crime, they have indicated that we may never know with certainty which donors in the “potentially impacted” category were in fact affected. If anyone believes they or a family member may have been affected by the conduct charged in the indictments and information, please contact the U.S. Attorney's Office Victim and Witness Unit at USAPAM.Victim.Information@usdoj.gov or 717-614-4249.

  • Will you be able to identify specific anatomical donors who were impacted?

    Updated June 27, 2023

    The U.S. Attorney’s Office has stated that they will continue to attempt to identify victims and contact as many of the victims’ families affected by this case as possible. The U.S. Attorney's Office has also informed us it is not likely that positive identifications will ever be possible. Given the nature of the alleged crime, they have indicated that we may never know with certainty which donors in the “potentially impacted” category were in fact affected. If anyone believes they or a family member may have been affected by the conduct charged in the indictments and information, please contact the U.S. Attorney's Office Victim and Witness Unit at USAPAM.Victim.Information@usdoj.gov or 717-614-4249.

  • My loved one donated their organ(s) and/or tissues to a program that may or may not be affiliated with HMS (for example, the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center). Were their organ(s) and/or tissues impacted by the alleged criminal activity?

    The Anatomical Gift Program at Harvard Medical School is a whole-body donation program, which means that people donate their entire body, including organs and tissues. We do not accept donations of organs or tissues. Therefore, if your loved one donated a specific organ (such as a brain) or tissues for medical research, that donation must have been made to a separate program that has no connection to the Anatomical Gift Program at HMS and, therefore, would not have been impacted by the alleged criminal activity.

  • I have received the cremated remains for my loved one, who was an anatomical donor at HMS. Does HMS need the cremated remains back for evidence or can I move forward with burial?

    Harvard Medical School does not expect that the government will need any cremated remains as evidence. If you have questions about the investigation, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office Victim and Witness Unit at USAPAM.Victim.Information@usdoj.gov or 717-614-4249.

  • How can I be sure that the cremated remains I received belong to my loved one?

    We have no indication that the cremated remains you received are anyone’s but your loved one’s. Our understanding from federal investigators is that while a donor’s complete remains may not have been included in the container transported to the external crematorium, there is no indication that any other individual’s remains were added to the container. Once the remains are transported to the crematory, the container is immediately labeled with a casket tag that includes the four-digit HMS donor identification number and the crematory identification number. These numbers stay with the container until it is placed in the cremation chamber, at which time the tag is then placed on the outside of the chamber. After the cremation is completed, a tag is placed inside the box of cremated remains with the cremation number. All of the paperwork is kept with the cremated remains. Two staff members from HMS retrieve the cremated remains and verify that all of the numbers match on all of the paperwork, the casket tag, the affidavit of cremation, and the crematory signature sheet (signing for the cremated remains). Once satisfied, HMS staff members sign the crematory verification form stating all of the numbers are correct. The cremated remains are then brought back to HMS, stored in a locked, fireproof cremated remains cabinet, and their location is changed in the database to reflect their storage in the morgue cremated remains cabinet. Depending on the donor’s wishes, cremated remains are then returned to the donor’s designee, picked up by the donor’s designee at HMS, or buried in a registered grave at Pine Hill Cemetery in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, at HMS’ expense. A memorial service is held every fall to honor donors buried at Pine Hill Cemetery. 

  • What are the next steps for families?

    Families are encouraged to access the resources detailed above, including the resources webpage and information and support center line. Additionally, The U.S. Attorney’s Office has and will continue to attempt to identify victims and contact as many of the victims’ families affected by this case as possible. If anyone believes they or a family member may have been affected by the conduct charged in the indictments and information, please contact the U.S. Attorney's Office Victim and Witness Unit at USAPAM.Victim.Information@usdoj.gov or 717-614-4249.

  • Will you continue to communicate with families if/when you know more?

    Updated July 10, 2023

    HMS is committed to providing transparent information, resources, and support to donor families. We are collecting email and contact information for family members for whom we had no previous records. This will allow us to keep in touch if and when there is new information to share. We also encourage families to reach out to the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) Victim and Witness Unit at USAPAM.Victim.Information@usdoj.gov or 717-614-4249 to be added to the contact list for this case. The USAO will be providing families with updates about the criminal case.

  • Were donor remains allegedly stolen before or after students completed their anatomical studies?

    Our understanding, based on information supplied by federal authorities and HMS’ own records, is that the alleged thefts occurred after students completed their anatomical studies.

  • Are all anatomical donors’ bodies/remains currently at HMS accounted for?

    Yes, upon learning about the alleged criminal activity, HMS conducted a thorough review and can confirm that all anatomical donors’ bodies/remains that should be at HMS are on site and accounted for.

  • How can I be confident in the security of the program going forward?

    Investigators believe that what occurred was the result of an individual acting alone, without the knowledge or cooperation of anyone else at HMS or Harvard. HMS is dedicated to lifelong learning and to introspection, innovation, and growth, particularly in the face of challenge. These values drive our commitment to do all we can to prevent something like this from happening again. To that end, Harvard University has appointed an external panel of experts to evaluate our Anatomical Gift Program and morgue policies and practices, with the goal of providing constructive feedback and recommendations to improve security for the program and the generous whole-body donations it receives.

  • What is the purpose and scope of the panel?

    Harvard University has appointed an external panel of experts to evaluate our Anatomical Gift Program and morgue policies and practices, with the goal of providing constructive feedback and recommendations to improve the security and integrity of the program and of the generous whole-body donations it receives.

  • Who are the members of the panel?

    External experts who have agreed to serve on the panel include:

    • Sally S. Aiken, MD, forensic pathologist and former (retired) chief of the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office in Spokane, Washington, and former president of the National Association of Medical Examiners
       
    • Robert J. McKeon, MS, PhD, associate professor of cell biology and director of the Body Donor Program at Emory University School of Medicine
       
    • Brandi Schmitt, MS, executive director of anatomical services at University of California Health and former interim director of the donated body program at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and curator of the donated body program at UC Davis School of Medicine

     

  • What is the timeline for the panel’s work?

    Updated Aug. 23, 2023: The external panel’s work was underway by mid-June, following the announcement of the federal indictment, and a final written report is expected in October.

  • Will their report be made public?

    Yes, we are committed to a transparent process and plan to share the panel’s recommendations publicly.