Virginia State Anatomical Program

The Virginia State Anatomical Program (VSAP), established in 1919, is the only agency in Virginia authorized to receive donations of human bodies for scientific study. The primary mission of the VSAP is to educate health professionals by providing human donors for the teaching of anatomy and surgery and medical research.

Its purpose is to provide human remains for teaching anatomy and surgery and for medical research in the State’s medical schools, colleges, universities and research facilities.

The goal of VSAP and staff is to provide opportunities to Virginians to make a valuable and generous gift to the living by giving the gift of his or her body after death for study and research in medical science in a dignified, respectful and professional manner.

    • The Virginia State Anatomical Program (VSAP) is an agency within the Department of Health. It does not receive state funding, nor does it pay for donated bodies.
    • Donors are used for education and research. No tissue is transplanted into a living person (which distinguishes whole body donation from organ donation).
    • VSAP provides donors to six Virginia medical schools, seventeen colleges and universities, five community colleges, and two biomechanical research facilities.
    • Unfortunately all potential donors are not acceptable; some medical conditions or circumstances of death may be cause for deferral (see Criteria for Acceptance). VSAP encourages all potential donors to discuss alternate arrangements with their next of kin or responsible parties in case the donation is not accepted.

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