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The Ethical Dimensions of Medical Discovery: Lessons from <em>The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks</em>: A Lecture by Rebecca Skloot

The Ethical Dimensions of Medical Discovery: Lessons from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: A Lecture by Rebecca Skloot

Visions and Voices

  • Date:
    Thursday, April 4, 2013
  • Time:
    4:00 PM to 5:30 PM
  • Campus:
    Health Sciences Campus
  • Venue:
    Mayer Auditorium
  • Cost:
    Admission is free.

    Reception to follow.

Summary:

Rebecca Skloot is the author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which instantly became a New York Times best seller. About a young black woman who died in 1951, and whose cells were harvested without her knowledge or consent, The Immortal Life raises important questions about race, class and bioethics in America.

Description:

Rebecca Skloot is an award-winning science writer whose work has been widely anthologized. Her debut book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, took more than a decade to research and write and instantly became a New York Times best seller. The book tells the story of a young black woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951, and left behind an inexplicably immortal line of cells known as HeLa. Harvested without her knowledge or consent, Henrietta Lack’s cells contributed to scientific advancements as varied as the polio vaccine, treatments for cancers and viruses, in vitro fertilization and our understanding of the impact of space travel on human cells. The story is also about her children, who were later used in research without their consent and who have never benefited from the commercialization of HeLa cells, though the cells have helped biotech companies make millions of dollars. Part detective story, part scientific odyssey and part family saga, The Immortal Life raises fascinating questions about race, class and bioethics in America.
 
Skloot has been featured on such television shows as CBS Sunday Morning, The Colbert Report and Fox Business News. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was featured on over 60 critics’ best-of-the-year lists and has received numerous awards, including the 2010 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the 2010 Wellcome Trust Book Prize, 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.

Related Event:
 
Too Much Medicine? How Overtreatment, Unnecessary Care and Economic Incentives Imperil the U.S. Healthcare System
A Lecture by Shannon Brownlee
Thursday, September 27, 4 p.m.
Mayer Auditorium, Health Sciences Campus
For more info, click here.
 
Organized by Pamela Schaff (Pediatrics and Keck Educational Affairs), Erin Quinn (Family Medicine) and Lyn M. Boyd-Judson (Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics). Co-sponsored by the Keck School of Medicine’s Program in Medical Humanities, Arts and Ethics; the USC Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics; and the USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics.

Photo: Manda Townsend