FICEM - Literature

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Something to read

Below, we have gathered some references relevant to the field of ethics in anatomy, sorted by themes. The list is "work in progress", please send suggestions or comments to Andreas Winkelmann. As the list is long, we have extracted ten publications, which we recommend for a start as our "favourites". We start with refering to two recent special issues with many relevant papers:

Special issues:

"Favourites" (last update: July 2022)

Journal Articles

Champney TH, Hildebrandt S, Jones DG, Winkelmann A: BODIES R US: Ethical Views on the Commercialization of the Dead in Medical Education and Research. Anat Sci Educ, 2019;12:317-325.

Goss AL, Viswanathan VB, DeLisser HM. Not just a specimen: A qualitative study of emotion, morality, and professionalism in one medical school gross anatomy laboratory. Anat Sci Educ 2019;12(4):349-359.

Gürses IA, Ertas A, Gürtekin B, Coskun O, Üzel M, Gayretli Ö, Demirci MS. Profile and motivations of registered whole-body donors in Turkey: Istanbul University Experience. Anat Sci Educ 2019;12(4):370-385.

Hildebrandt S. Books, bones and bodies: the relevance of the history of anatomy in Nazi Germany for medical education toady. Anatomical Record, 2022 Apr;305(4):886-901.

Jones DG. From undergraduate to postgraduate uses of the dead human body: Consequential ethical shift. Journal of Medical Ethics 2020;46:474-475.

Stephens GC, Rees CE, Lazarus MD. How does donor dissection influence medical students’ perception of ethics? A cross-sectional and longitudinal study. Anat Sci Educ 2019;12(4):332-348.

Chu SY, Tseng TC, Ho YC, Tseng GF. The impact of a gross anatomy curriculum with donor family interaction: thematic analysis of student letters to Silent Mentors.

Acad Med. 2022 Jul 1;97(7):1065-1070. OA:


Fountain TK. 2014. Rhetoric in the flesh. Trained vision, technical expertise, and the gross lab. New York: Routledge

Jones, D.G., Whitaker, M.I. 2009. Speaking for the dead. The human body in biology and medicine. Farnham: Ashgate

Strkalj G. and Pather N. 2017. Commemorations and memorials: examining the human face of anatomy. 1st Ed. London: World Scientific.

General / Overview

  • Andrews L, Nelkin D. Whose body is it anyway? Disputes over body tissue in a biotechnology age. Lancet. 1998;351(9095):53-7.
  • Barilan Y. Anatomy, Ethics of. In: Chadwick R, editor. Encyclopedia of applied ethics. 2 ed. Amsterdam: Academic Press, 2012. p. 116-26.
  • Cantor NL. After we die. The life and times of the human cadaver. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2010.
  • Champney TH. A Bioethos for Bodies: Respecting a Priceless Resource. Anat Sci Educ. 2019 Jul;12(4):432-434

Perspectives of Individual Religions

  • Elamrani MD, El Fakiri MM, Benhima MA, Choulli MK: L’éthique musulmane face à la dissection des cadavres humains pour l’enseignement et la recherche en anatomie. Éthique et Santé 2015; 12: 97-102.
  • Jones DG, Nie J-B: Does Confucianism allow for body donation? Anatomical Sciences Education 2018;11: 525-531. DOI 10.1002/ase.1771
  • Subasinghe SK, Jones DG. Human Body Donation Programs in Sri Lanka: Buddhist Perspectives. Anat Sci Educ 2015
  • Santibañez S, Boudreaux D, Tseng GF, Konkel K. The Tzu Chi Silent Mentor Program: Application of Buddhist Ethics to Teach Student Physicians Empathy, Compassion, and Self-Sacrifice. J Relig Health. 2016 Oct;55(5):1483-94.

Lessons from the Past

History of Body Donation / Body Procurement

  • Garment A, Lederer S, Rogers N, Boult L. Let the dead teach the living: the rise of body bequeathal in 20th-century America. Acad Med. 2007;82(10):1000-5.
  • Halperin, E.C. The poor, the Black, and the marginalized as the source of cadavers in the United States anatomical education. Clinical Anatomy 2007;20:489–495.
  • Hulkower R. From sacrilege to privilege: The tale of body procurement for anatomical dissection. Einstein J Biol Med. 2011:23-6.
  • Humphrey DC. Dissection and discrimination: The social origins of cadavers in America, 1760-1915. Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine. 1973;49(9):819-27.
  • Leblond S. Anatomistes et resurrectionnistes en France. Can Med Assoc J. 1968;99(8):368-70.
  • Richardson R. Death, dissection and the destitute. Second edition with a new afterword. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2000.
  • Sappol M. A traffic in dead bodies: anatomy and embodied social identity in nineteenth century America. Princeton, Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002.
  • Stukenbrock K. Der zerstueckte Coerper: Zur Sozialgeschichte der anatomischen Sektionen in der frühen Neuzeit (1650-1800). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2001.

Body Donation: Experiences / Overviews

  • Biasutto SN, Sharma N, Weiglein AH, Benia FM, McBride J, Bueno-López JL, Kramer B, Blyth P, Barros MD, Ashiru O, Ballesteros LE, Moxham BJ, Krishnan S. Human bodies to teach anatomy: Importance and procurement – experience with cadaver donation. Revista Argentina de Anatomía Clínica. 2014;6(2):72-86.
  • Cope JM, Bennett CC, Balilionis G, Person DM. Regarding the dead: A model for anatomical gifting outside the traditional medical school setting. Anat Sci Educ 2020; in press
  • Riederer BM, Bolt S, Brenner E, Bueno-López JL, Circulescu A, Davies D, De Caro R, Gerrits P, McHanwell S, Pais D, Paulsen F, Plaisant O, Sendemir E, Stabile I, Moxham BJ. The legal and ethical framework governing Body Donation in Europe  – 1st update on current practice. European Journal of Anatomy. 2012;16(1):1-21.
  • Riederer BM, Bueno-López JL. Anatomy, respect for the body and body donation – a guide for good practice. European Journal of Anatomy. 2014;18(4):361-8.
  • Schmitt, B, C Wacker, L Ikemoto, FJ Meyers and C Pomeroy, 2014, A transparent oversight policy for human anatomical specimen management: The University of California, Davis experience, Acad Med, 89:410-414.

Body Donation: Motivation for donation

  • Cornwall J, Poppelwell Z, McManus R. "Why did you really do it?" A mixed-method analysis of the factors underpinning motivations to register as a body donor.  Anat Sci Educ 2018 Nov;11(6):623-631
  • Cornwall J, Perry G, Louw G, Stringer MD. Who donates their body to science? An international, multicenter, prospective study. Anat Sci Educ 2012;5(4):208-216. DOI: 10.1002/ase.1278 
  • Zhang Q, Deng J, Yan C, Yan X-X, Li F, Pan A-H. Who is willing to donate their bodies in China? Perceptions, attitudes and influencing factors among citizens of Changsha. Annals of Anatomy 2020;229:

Body Donation: Experiences / Local Practices / Case Studies

  • Chen D, Zhang Q, Deng J, Cai Y, Huang J, Li F, Xiong K. A shortage of cadavers: the predicament of regional anatomy education in mainland China. Anat Sci Educ 2018;11:397-402
  • Christensen AM. Moral considerations in body donation for scientific research: a unique look at the University of Tennessee’s anthropological research faculty. Bioethics. 2006;20(3):136-45.
  • De Gama BZ, Jones DG, Bhengu TT, Satyapal KS. Cultural practices of the Zulu ethnic group on the body and their influence on body donation. Anat Sci Educ 2020; Nov;13(6):721-731
  • Fennell S, Jones DG. The bequest of human bodies for dissection: a case study on the Otago medical school. New Zealand Medical Journal. 1992;105:472-4. 1436875
  • Jones DG. Ethical responses to a pandemic: Implications for the ethos and practice of anatomy as a health science discipline. Anat Sci Educ 2020; in press
  • Jones DG. Bequests, cadavers and dissections: sketches from New Zealand history. NZ Med J 1991;104:210-212.
  • Kramer B, Hutchinson EF, Brits DM, Billings BK. Making the Ethical Transition in South Africa: Acquiring Human Bodies for Training in Anatomy. Anat Sci Educ. 2019 May;12(3):264-271
  • Lin SC, Hsu J, Fan VY. “Silent virtuous teachers”: anatomical dissection in Taiwan. British Medical Journal. 2009;339:b5001.
  • Olejaz M. 2017. When the dead teach: Exploring the postvital life of cadavers in Danish dissection labs. Med Anthropol Theor 2017;4:125–149.
  • Osuagwu FC; Imosemi IO; Oladejo EW. Sources of cadaver used for dissection at the Idaban medical school, Nigeria- Analysis of three-year data. African Journal of Biomedical Research 2004;7:93-95
  • Schiefer AY: Robbing the Grave: Amending the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act to Curtail Abuses Within the Whole-Body Donation Industry, Health Matrix 2019;29(1): 371, available at:
  • Schmitt B, Wacker C, Ikemoto L, Meyers F. A transparent oversight policy for human anatomical specimen management: the University of California, Davis experience. Journal of Anatomy 2014;89:410-414.
  • Winkelmann A, Güldner FH. Cadavers as teachers: the dissecting room experience in Thailand. British Medical Journal. 2004;329(7480):1455-7.
  • Zhang L, Xiao M, Gu M, Zhang Y, Jin J, Ding J. 2014. An overview of the roles and responsibilities of Chinese medical colleges in body donation programs. Anatomical Sciences Education 7:312-320.

Specific Sources of Bodies

  • Caplan I, DeCamp M. Of discomfort and disagreement: Unclaimed bodies in anatomy laboratories at United States medical schools. Anat Sci Educ 2019;12(4):360-369.
  • Hildebrandt S. Capital punishment and anatomy: history and ethics of an ongoing association. Clin Anat. 2008;21(1):5-14.
  • Jones DG, Whitaker MI. Anatomy’s use of unclaimed bodies: reasons against continued dependence on an ethically dubious practice. Clin Anat. 2012;25(2):246-54. 21800367.
  • Jones DG. Ethical Perspectives on Body Donation Following Physician-Assisted Death. Anat Sci Educ. 2020 Jul;13(4):504-511
  • Kahn PA, Champney TH, Hildebrandt S. The incompatibility of the use of unclaimed bodies with ethical anatomical education in the United States. Anat Sci Educ. 2017 Mar;10(2):200-201.
  • Wainman B, Cornwall J. Body donation after medically assisted death: An emerging consideration for body donation programs. Anatomical Sciences Education 2019;12(4):DOI:10.1002/ase.1874


  • Anteby M. Markets, Morals, and Practices of Trade: Jurisdictional Disputes in the U.S. Commerce in Cadavers. Adm Sci Q. 2010;55:606–38.
  • Anteby M, Hyman M. Entrepreneurial ventures and whole-body donations: a regional perspective from the United States. Soc Sci Med. 2008;66(4):963-9.
  • Champney TH, Hildebrandt S, Jones DG, Winkelmann A: BODIES R US: Ethical Views on the Commercialization of the Dead in Medical Education and Research. Anat Sci Educ, 2019;12:317-325.
  • Champney TH. The business of bodies: Ethical perspectives on for-profit body donation companies. Clin Anat. 2016 Jan;29(1):25-9
  • Goodwin M (ed.).The global body market. Altruism’s limits. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • Nie J-B, Jones DG: Confucian ethics on the commercial use of human bodies and body parts: Yi (Righteousness) or/and Li (Profit)? Anatomical Sciences Education 2019;12: 444-453. DOI: 10.1002/ase.1876.

Research on Cadaveric Specimens

  • King AI, Viano DC, Mizeres N, States JD. Humanitarian benefits of cadaver research on injury prevention. J Trauma. 1995;38(4):564-9.
  • Winkelmann A, Heinze AK, Hendrix S. 2016. 'Acknowledging tissue donation: Human cadaveric specimens in musculoskeletal research', Clin Anat, 29: 65-9.

Anatomy Teaching and Learning

  • Bertman S. One breath apart: facing dissection. Republished 2009. Amityville: Baywood Publishing, 2007.
  • Bertman SL, Marks SC. Humanities in medical education: Rationale and resources for the dissection laboratory. Medical Education. 1985;19:374-81.
  • Böckers A, Baader C, Fassnacht UK, Ochsner W, Böckers TM. Reduction in mental distress in the dissection course by introducing the body donor experience through demonstrations of organs systems. Anat Sci Educ 2012;5(6):321-329.
  • Bohl M, Bosch P, Hildebrandt S. Medical students’ perceptions of the body donor as a “first patient” or “teacher”: a pilot study. Anatomical Sciences Education. 2011;4(4):208-13.
  • Brenner E, Pais D. The philosophy and ethics of anatomy teaching. European Journal of Anatomy. 2014;18(4):353-60.
  • Rajagopal AS, Champney TH. Teaching Without Harm: The Ethics of Performing Posthumous Procedures on the Newly Deceased. Cureus. 2020 Dec 2;12(12):e11855. OA:
  • Cornwall J, Winkelmann A, Hildebrandt S: Cadaver exome sequencing for teaching first-year medical students (Letter). JAMA 316 (1): 102-103, 2016, see
  • Dyer GS, Thorndike ME: Quidne mortui vivos docent? The evolving purpose of human dissection. Acad Med 2000;75:969-979.
  • Hafferty FW. Into the valley of death. Death and the socialization of medical students. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.
  • Hammer RR, Jones TW, Hussain FTN, Bringe K, Harvey RE, Person-Rennell NH, Newman JS. Students as ressurectionists- a multimodal humanities project in anatomy putting ethics and professionalism in historical context. Anat Sci Educ 2010;3:244-248.
  • Hildebrandt S. What is happening in our anatomical dissection rooms? Clin Anat. 2014;27(6):833-4.
  • Houwink AP, Kurup AN, Kollars JP, Kral Kollars CA, Carmichael SW, Pawlina W. Help of third-year medical students decreases first-year medical students’ negative psychological reactions on the first day of gross anatomy dissection. Clin Anat 2004;17(4):328-333.
  • Jones DG: Three-dimensional printing in anatomy education – assessing potential ethical dimensions, Anatomical Sciences Education 2019;12: 435-443. DOI 10.1002/ase.1851.
  • Jones TW, Lachman N, Pawlina W. Honoring our donors: a survey of memorial ceremonies in United States anatomy programs. Anat Sci Educ 2013;7:219-223.
  • Limbrecht K, Brinkmann A, Lamp C, Böckers T, Traue HC, Jerg-Bretzke L. Mortui vivos docent? Experienced burdens of medical students in the gross anatomy course. Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol 2013;63(8):327-333.
  • McDaniel KG, Brown T, Radford CC, McDermott CH, van Houten T, Katz ME, Stearns DA, Hildebrandt S. Anatomy as a model environment for acquiring professional competencies in medicine: Experiences at Harvard Medical School. Anat Sci Educ 2020; in press
  • Montross C. Body of work. Meditations on mortality from the human anatomy lab. New York: Penguin Press, 2007.
  • Rizzolo LJ. Human dissection: an approach to interweaving the traditional and humanistic goals of medical education. Anat Rec 2002;269:242-248.
  • Strkalj G. and Pather N. 2017. Commemorations and memorials: examining the human face of anatomy. 1st Ed. London: World Scientific.

Exhibition of Specimens / Body Worlds

  • Barilan YM. Bodyworlds and the ethics of using human remains: A preliminary discussion. Bioethics 2006;20:233–247.
  • Jespersen TC, Rodriguez A, Starr J. The anatomy of body worlds. Critical essays on the plastinated cadavers of Gunther von Hagens. Jefferson: McFarland and Company, 2009.
  • Jones DG, Whitaker MI. Engaging with plastination and the Body Worlds phenomenon: a cultural and intellectual challenge for anatomists. Clin Anat. 2009;22(6):770-6.
  • Jones DG. Re-inventing Anatomy: The impact of plastination on how we see the human body. Clin Anat 2002;15:436-440.
  • King, Mike R.; Whitaker, Maja I.; Jones, D. Gareth. I see dead people: insights from the humanities into the nature of plastinated cadavers. Journal of Medical Humanities 2014;35:361-376.
  • Lantos JD. Controversial bodies: thoughts on the public display of plastinated corpses. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.
  • Moore CM, Brown CM. Experiencing body world: voyeurism, education, or enlightenment? J Med Humanit 2007;28(4):231-254.
  • Moore CM, Brown CM. Gunther von Hagens and Body Worlds Part 1: the anatomist as prosecutor and proplastiker. Anat Rec B New Anat 2004;276(1):8-14.
  • Moore CM, Brown CM. Gunther von Hagens and Body Worlds Part 2: the anatomist as priest and prophet. Anat Rec B New Anat 2004;276(1):14-20.
  • Walter T. Body Worlds: clinical detachment and anatomical awe. Sociology of Health & Illness. 2004;26:464-88.
  • Wetz FJ. Tote sind nur ein Problem für Lebende. Menschenwürde und Plastination. Ann Anat. 2000;182:385-91.

Human Remains / Physical Anthropology

  • Blakely R, Harrington JM. (eds.) Bones in the Basement: Postmortem Racism in Nineteenth-Century Medical Training. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997.
  • Kaufmann IM, Rühli FJ. Without ‘informed consent’? Ethics and ancient mummy research. J Med Ethics. 2010;36(10):608-13.
  • MacDonald H. Human remains: dissection and its histories. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006.
  • Satyapal KS. The treatment of human remains. South African Journal of Bioethics and Law. 2012;5(1):55-60.
  • Squires K, Errickson D, Márquez-Grant N. Ethical approaches to human remains: A global challenge in bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology. Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019,

Forensic Autopsies

Digital Technology

  • Cornwall J. Body donation and digital technology: the ethical issues. International Journal of Experimental and Clinical Anatomy 2017;11(1):42-45. DOI:10.2399/ana.16.061
  • Cornwall J. The ethics of 3D-printing body parts from donated cadavers in medical education and research: What is there to worry about? Australasian Medical Journal 2016;9(1):8-11.
  • Cornwall J, Callahan D, Wee R.  Ethical issues surrounding the use of images from donated cadavers in the anatomical sciences. Clinical Anatomy 2016;29:30-36. DOI:10.1002/ca.22644.
  • Cornwall J, Winkelmann A, Hildebrandt S.  The ethical issues associated with exome analysis of cadavers donated to medical science. Journal of the American Medical Association 2016;316:102-103.
  • Jones DG. Three‐dimensional printing in anatomy education: assessing potential ethical dimensions. Anatomical Sciences Education 2019;435-443.
  • Hennesy CM, Royer DF, Meyer AJ, Smith CF. Social media guidelines for anatomists. Anatomical Sciences Education. 2020;13(4):527–539. doi: 10.1002/ase.1948
  • McMenamin PG, Quayle MR, McHenry CR, Adams JW. The production of anatomical teaching resources using three‐dimensional (3D) printing technology. Anatomical Sciences Education 2017;479-486.
  • Smith CF, Tollemache N, Covill D, Johnston M. Take away body parts! An investigation into the use of 3D‐printed anatomical models in undergraduate anatomy education. Anatomical Sciences Education. 2018;11(1):44-53.


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