Willed Body Program

Contact information

Rebecca Barker, LE, LFD
Troy Nukes, LE, LFD
Nicole Herring, PhD

Phone: 502-852-5744

Email:  willbody@louisville.edu

To register with our program

The Willed Body Program is accepting new enrollees at this time from Jefferson county KY or Floyd or Clark counties IN. Please call 502-852-5744 to inquire further regarding how to enroll with the Program and to request enrollment paperwork.  If you live outside of Jefferson county KY or Floyd or Clark counties IN, please call 502-852-5744 to check on the current enrollment status for these areas.

1.    Complete all pages of the enrollment forms accurately and return them to the Willed Body Program office.  Enrollment forms are available by calling 502-852-5744.  It is necessary to have these forms notarized, to be signed by disinterested witnesses, and to be fully completed. We recommend that you keep a copy for your personal files and additional copies for next-of-kin or other interested parties. Please be aware that this paperwork is not a binding or legal agreement, only a statement of wish or intent.

2.    It is very important that you keep us informed of any change in name, address, or your next of kin so that we may keep your file current. If you are admitted into a hospital, move to a retirement community or nursing home, or specialized care facility, a copy of your forms and instructions should be included in your chart or care plan.

3.    When the forms have been received and approved, we will mail a letter of acceptance with a donor wallet card. Our acceptance of the enrollment forms does not guarantee acceptance of a body at time of death. It is recommended that an alternative plan be developed by the donor and family in the event we are unable to accept the body at the time of death (please see FAQs for reasons we may not be able to accept a body at time of death).

4.    Discuss your wishes with your loved ones to ensure that your desire to be a whole body donor is carried out at the time of your death.

When death occurs

1.    If the death occurs at home, please call 9-1-1. A healthcare professional (examples: hospice care staff or coroner) will need to sign a provisional report of death before the body can be transported to the university.

2.    To report a death during business hours (M-F, 8 am – 5 pm), please call (502)-852-5744.
To report a death after hours (after 5 pm on weekdays, weekends, and University holidays), please call (502)-303-1471.

3.    At time of death, the individual making the death notification call will be required to provide information to the Program to determine eligibility to donate. Registration with the Program does not guarantee acceptance into the Program at time of death.  The Program is unable to accept a donation for the following reasons:

a. Capacity restraints of the Program
b. Any infectious disease including, but not limited to: HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, MRSA, VRE, Clostridium difficile (C. diff), ESBL-producing organism, flesh-eating disease, West Nile virus, COVID-19, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (or other prion disease)
c. Obesity (BMI > 33)
d. History of non-prescription injectable drug use
e. Blood transfusion within 48 hours of death
f. Jaundice
g. Contractures of the limbs
h. Recent surgical procedures or open lesions
i. Time of death occurred more than 12 hours ago or at undetermined time
j. Violent or traumatic death
k. Victim of suicide or homicide
l. Autopsy has occurred or will occur
m. Vital organs removed for transplantation purposes
n. Other circumstances or conditions, as reasonably determined in the sole discretion of the Program.

We strongly encourage you to develop alternative plans in the event we are unable to accept the donation at time of death.

4.    The Willed Body Program, along with the medical certifier, will file the death-related paperwork.  The Program will send further information at the time of death to the next-of-kin listed on our enrollment paperwork regarding the death certificate and social security. Additionally, transportation charges may be sent to the next-of-kin (please see FAQs).

5.    The next-of-kin listed on our enrollment paperwork will receive an invitation to our annual Convocation of Thanks ceremony in late winter/early spring. This ceremony is held in the spring of each year to honor those individuals who bequeathed their bodies during the previous calendar year (for instance, the ceremony in the spring of 2019 was held for those donors whose bodies arrived at UofL during 2018).