Human Anatomy Laboratory director appointed

James C. Casso

Feb. 26, 2013 - James C. Casso has been appointed the first director of the Human Anatomy Laboratory at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine.

In his new position, Casso will be responsible for overseeing the medical school's body donation program. Bodies donated to the medical school will be used to train students at the medical school which will open in August on Quinnipiac's North Haven Campus.

"Body donation to medical schools is free so it's a less expensive alternative especially during these difficult economic times," said Casso, who worked as an embalmer at the University of Connecticut Health Center since 1992.

While the typical donor tends to be at least 70 years old, age is not usually a factor in accepting bodies for the program. However certain conditions, including obesity, low weight, edema, infectious diseases, dehydration and autopsy, can make a body unsuitable for the school's educational purposes. Casso said he will examine each body at the time of death to determine if it's suitable for donation.

The medical school will provide prospective donors with a laminated identification card with information about their wanting to donate their body. Prospective donors also should inform their family members of their plans.

After a donor is officially pronounced dead, the family should contact the body donation program immediately. A licensed funeral director on the medical school staff will make arrangements to retrieve the body free of charge and bring it to the medical school, where it will be securely stored until it's needed for educational purposes. The medical school has the capacity to accept nearly 100 bodies.

After completing its study of a body, the medical school will pay to cremate the remains and return the ashes to the family, according to the donor's instructions. To honor its donors, the medical school will hold a memorial service that is attended by the donors' family members, students and faculty.

Casso holds a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Central Connecticut State University. He also is a licensed funeral director and embalmer, who earned a certificate at the American Academy of Funeral Service.