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Feature Christmas 2009: Afterlife

“Silent virtuous teachers”: anatomical dissection in Taiwan

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 16 December 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b5001
  1. Steven C Lin, doctor of medicine candidate 1,
  2. Julia Hsu, chair of the department of medical humanities , attending physician 23,
  3. Victoria Y Fan, doctor of science candidate 4
  1. 1Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA
  2. 2Tzu Chi College of Medicine, Hualien, Taiwan, Republic of China
  3. 3Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan, Republic of China
  4. 4Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
  1. Correspondence to: J Hsu juliah{at}


    Steven C Lin, Julia Hsu, and Victoria Y Fan describe how the dissection course at Tzu Chi College of Medicine in Taiwan has motivated and inspired people to donate their bodies for scientific endeavours, an otherwise culturally avoided gesture in the East


    • Contributors: All authors participated in the conception, design, data collection, and writing of this article. VYF attended the pre-course ceremony in 2001, JH observed the entire process in 2008-9, VYF and SCL visited classroom and laboratory facilities in 2007, and JH had discussions with the course director.

    • Funding: None.

    • Competing interests: None declared.

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