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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: A Dream of Social Equity
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is the now famed story of a family whose mother, a black tobacco farmer from Roanoke Virginia undergoing treatment for cervical cancer at the young age of 30, unwittingly provided the world with what would become HeLa cells, the first immortal human cell line in history. In the following half-century after her death, HeLa cells would, without her family’s knowledge, become key to the eradication of polio, the discovery of telomerase, mapping the human genome, development of the HPV vaccine, and advancement of in vitro fertilization methods.
Join us for a conversation with the family of Henrietta Lacks as they discuss their journey to bring their mother’s story to light and open the dialogue for racial dynamics in medicine and science that persist today and have served as a centerpiece for a larger discussion around achieving health equity for all people.