Philomena McAteer and Siobhán Ward: Previous Speakers


Our speakers for the March 2016 First Sunday Meeting were Philomena McAteer and Siobhán Ward from the Department of Anatomy, Trinity College.

Philomena and Siobhan job-share as the Chief Technical Officer in the Department of Anatomy Trinity College.  Their role is to manage all aspects of the donation of bodies to the Medical School, from initial contacts with potential donors to receiving and processing the bodies and liaising sympathetically with the families of the donor at all stages of the process.

They have developed the process over the last few decades from a rather impersonal approach to a holistic model involving the donor, the family and the students who benefit directly from the gift. Along the way they acquired Masters degrees in Bereavement Studies, to enhance their skills and authority.

They featured in a 2015 RTÉ documentary, ‘A Parting Gift’, which dealtwith all aspects of the process,  including the responses of donor familiesand medical students. The documentary was nominated for an  IFTA and for a Prix Europa award in Berlin.

Siobhán Ward and Philomena McAteer will cover all aspects of the process from first enquiry to memorial ritual; from working with the dead to how human bodies are used in medical education. The Donor Programme at Trinity College Dublin includes what happens when a donor dies and the support for the family. They will also cover the orientation of students and staff around working with human bodies.