The Woman Behind HeLa Cells is Black: A Discussion of Race

Des Moines, IA US
March 24, 2015

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There is no cost to attend and registration is not required. 
 

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. It’s a story inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we’re made of.

Soon to be made into an HBO movie by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball, this New York Times bestseller takes readers on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers filled with HeLa cells, from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia, to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. It’s a story inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we’re made of.

Winner of several awards, including the 2010 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the 2010 Welcome Trust Book Prize, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Award for Excellence in Science Writing, the 2011 Audie Award for Best Non-Fiction Audiobook, and a Medical Journalists’ Association Open Book Award, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was featured on over 60 critics’ best of the year lists.

Target Audience

DMU students, faculty, staff, and alumni. 

Facilitators

Carolyn Beverly, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Master of Public Health; Medical Director, Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, Des Moines University
Biography

Rich Salas, PhD
Director, Multicultural Affairs, Des Moines University

WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER

 

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 CE Contact Hours
Course opens: 
03/24/2015
Course expires: 
03/24/2015
Event starts: 
03/24/2015 - 12:00pm
Event ends: 
03/24/2015 - 1:00pm
Cost:
$0.00
Rating: 
0
Des Moines University
3200 Grand Avenue
SEC #115
Des Moines, IA 50312
United States

Available Credit

  • 1.00 CE Contact Hours

Accreditation Period

Course opens: 
03/24/2015
Course expires: 
03/24/2015

Price

Cost:
$0.00
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