Researchers at UCD


Gary Perry

Technical Officer

School Of Medicine & Medical Science
Health Sciences Centre
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7166617


Gary coordinates the Body Donor Programme (BDP) at the UCD School of Medicine & Medical Sciences. The BDP offers members of the public an opportunity to contribute to the advancement of medical education by 'donating their body to science'.

Gary's work is of a highly sensitive and confidential nature requiring considerable discretion in maintaining liaision with registered whole-body donors, healthcare professionals, and funeral directors reqarding the acquisition and proper burial or cremation of human remains.

Gary was the first man in Ireland to be conferred with a Masters Degree (MSc) in Bereavement Studies by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the National University of Ireland for his research that reported on Informal Bereavement Support and Funeral Directors in Ireland.




Association: American Association of Anatomists, Function/Role: Member
Association: Institute of Anatomical Sciences, Function/Role: Member
Association: Bereavement Research Forum, Function/Role: Member
Association: Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, Function/Role: Member

Conference Contributions

Gary F. Perry; (2010) Trust Me; I'm An Anatomy Bequest Officer. [Oral Presentation], Institute of Anatomical Sciences Autumn 2010 Meeting, University College Dublin , 26-AUG-10 - 27-AUG-10.


Year 2009 Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Qualification: MSc Subject:



Outreach Activities

Gary is happy to provide scheduled personal tours of the UCD School of Medicine & Medical Sciences to members of the public who may be interested in learning more about the process of donating ones body for the advancement of medical education at University College Dublin.


Other Activities

Two-day Conference Atendee: 6th. Annual Kaleidoscope Conference - Life Lessons: Insights into Grief and Loss in Palliative Care (30-31 May 2007) Dublin Castle.

One-Day Symposium Participant: Dissonant Loss - The Bereavement of Organ Donor Families (17 October 2007) Bereavement Research Forum, Help the Hospices, Hospice House, 33-34 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JG.

One-Day Workshop Participant: Resilience in Loss and Grief: (4 February 2008) The Irish Hospice Foundation, Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2.
Open-Day Atendee: Coping with Life's Losses. (28 April 2007) The Bereavement Counselling Service in association with The Carers Association.

One-Day Workshop Participant: Loss and Older People (17 May 2007) - The Irish Hospice Foundation, Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2.


Most older people have experienced multiple losses in a variety of areas of their lives. Throughout childhood, youth and middle age, roles and functions which develop relationships, social status, personal identity and meaning in life are built up and consolidated. What happens when these begin to fragment through unavoidable loss and how may older people sustain themselves and obtain appropriate support in times of change and distress? This workshop reflected on issues such as loss of significant people, retirement, role loss, loss of health and loss of independence. The workshop also focused on very positive responses to loss such as a person's previous coping skills and how these may be called upon in old age. Attention to how younger generations may support and learn from older people as well as helpful organisations and services to which older people may be referred to was also given.

One-Day Workshop Participant: Men, Women and Grief - Does Gender Make a Difference? (14 June 2007) The Irish Hospice Foundation, Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2.


Do men and women have similiar experiences of bereavement or do they grieve in different ways? Do men and women require different supports in their grief? This workshop explored notions of masculinity and feminity and reviewed some of the literature on grief and gender. Participants had an opportunity to explore their own assumptions, to develop frameworks for understanding how grieving may vary and to consider ways of supporting grief.



Peer Reviewed Journals

Perry, GF and Ettarh, RR; (2009) 'Age Modulates Attitudes to Whole Body Donation Among Medical Students'. Anatomical Science Education, 2 (4):167-172. Available Online [DOI] [Details]


Research Interests

My research interests are: whole-body donations to medical education; cadaver-based teaching and learning in medicine; general and specific bereavement support interventions; and multi-disciplinary research.

MSc thesis title: Informal Bereavement Support and Funeral Directors in Ireland.

A family death is usually the starting point of a short-term, professional caring relationship between a family and a funeral director. The nature of this relationship has previously been under-researched.

My research investigated the range of informal bereavement support interventions and the factors that influence the delivery of those services offered to people who are grieving by funeral directors in Ireland.

A cross-sectional, descriptive design was used to complete this study. A questionnaire was developed using focus groups and was sent to every funeral home that was a currently registered member of the largest representative association for funeral directors in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Data from the questionnaires was analysed using Microsoft Windows' Statistical Package for the Social Sciences.

This research demonstrated that funeral directors in Ireland provide many valuable informal bereavement support interventions to families and individuals immediately after the death of a loved one. The nature of this supportive interaction between funeral directors and the recently bereaved may in some ways be a hidden role that deserves greater recognition.



Internal Collaborators

Dr. Raj Ettarh MB, BCh, BAO, PhD., Discipline of Anatomy, UCD School of Medicine & Medical Science.

External Collaborators

Ms. Siobhan McCarthy, B.Soc.Sc., M.Soc.Sc., Institute of Leadership & Healthcare Management, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.