Ethics, Biology, Race and Public Health: The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks

September 22, 2017

The School of Public Health's Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Warren Alpert Medical School's Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs present a series of events exploring the singular contributions of Henrietta Lacks and the ethical questions raised by the use of her biological material. Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951) was an African American woman whose cancer cells were the source of the HeLa cell line, the first immortalized cell line and one of the most important discoveries in medical research. No consent was obtained to culture her cells, nor were she or her family compensated for their extraction or use.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot will be available to read for free throughout the month of October. The online version of the book is available from the Brown University Library. Hard copies may be borrowed at the School of Public Health, in the 3rd floor Student Lounge, and at the Alpert Medical School, in the Red Academy Room 241.

Film Screening

5:00 – 7:00 pm

Brown University School of Public Health, room 375
121 South Main St. Providence, RI
TV-MA **Warning: The film includes scenes of sexual violence and strong language**

Panel Discussion

12:00 – 1:00 pm
Warren Alpert Medical School, room 170
222 Richmond St., Providence, RI 

  • Chanika Phornphutkul, MD ( A pediatric endocrinologist and director of human genetics at Rhode Island Hospital and its affiliated Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Dr. Phornphutkul is also an associate professor of pediatrics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
  • Ron Aubert, PhD, MSPH, Provost Visiting Professor in the School of Public Health and at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, Dr. Aubert is the Chief Science Officer and lead scientist for Research and Evaluation Analytics, LLC, an independent healthcare consulting group that specializes in epidemiology, health outcomes research, statistical modeling, randomized trials and observational study design, economic evaluation and medical writing.
  • David Orenstein is the News Officer for medicine, life sciences, and public health at Brown University.

        Lunch will be served.

Both events are free and open to the public.