Thursday, March 18, 2004
Lavonne Luquis (510) 987-9194


University of California President Robert C. Dynes has asked former Gov. George Deukmejian to chair a task force that will examine UC's willed body programs. Deukmejian will be joined by Michael V. Drake, UC vice president for health affairs, and five-to-seven other members to be named shortly. A majority of the task force members will be from outside the university.

"The willed body programs are a valuable component of our teaching mission, and the families of those who gift their bodies to benefit science deserve to know that every safeguard has been put in place to make sure that their remains are treated with dignity and respect," Dynes said. "This task force will ensure this is the case across the UC system."

The task force will review operations at UC's willed body programs at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UC San Francisco and hold public informational hearings this summer to receive comment from a wide variety of experts, stakeholders and concerned citizens. The task force is expected to deliver a report to Dynes before the end of the year.

UCLA suspended operations of its willed body program on March 9 after the director of the program was charged with felony grand theft stemming from the unauthorized sale of cadaveric materials.

The university intends to develop sytemwide guidelines to ensure its willed body programs are run in an exemplary fashion that respects the wishes and honors the dignity and generosity of the donors while serving the needs of patient care, education and research communities.

UC's willed body programs supply dozens of non-UC educational organizations and research institutes. Some of these affiliations have existed for decades. As with UCLA, a program's activities may be curtailed if on review the existing levels of oversight and management are insufficient.

Dynes selected Deukmejian, who served as governor from 1983-1991, to lead the task force because of his extensive administrative experience with California's state government, legal system and the Board of Regents.

"Gov. Deukmejian is one of California's most respected statesman, with a long and highly distinguished record as a public servant," Drake said. "I look forward to the leadership he will provide in this role."

Drake brings a quarter century of UC administrative experience with a broad understanding of sensitive human issues to his role as the senior UC representative on the task force. As an ophthalmic surgeon and professor, he is knowledgeable about the uses of anatomic material in medical education, patient care and research. Since joining the Office of the President in 2000, Drake has served on or chaired a variety of committees for the university, state of California, and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences.

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