The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot has been chosen as the 2013/2014 Edmonds CC Community Read text. As an extension of our annual Edmonds CC Community Read, we are pleased to welcome you here today for a Panel Discussion on the Life and Cells of Henrietta Lacks. The book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks' cells -- taken without her knowledge -- which have been used over the past 60-plus years in countless scientific discoveries worldwide. This panel today will give us the opportunity to discuss the scientific history and social nuances behind one of the most important tools in modern medicine: the cells that once belonged to Henrietta Lacks, known as HeLa cells. Today we hope to increase the dialogue around the many different social, racial, legal, ethical and medical dilemmas presented throughout this story. We have intentionally convened this panel in January, which is cervical cancer awareness month. For those of you who have not yet read the book, Henrietta died of cervical cancer at age 31 in 1951. When she died, she unwittingly left a piece of herself behind which still lives on, and furthers medical science, today. We also hope you will join us on April 23 when we welcome two members of the Lacks family here to Black Box Theatre to give their perspective on the HeLa journey.
- Dr. Kelly Edwards--Department of Bioethics and Humanities, and Institute for Public
Health Genetics; University of Washington
• Dr. Jay Shendure--Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington
• Dr. Clarence Spigner--Departments of American Ethnic Studies, African Studies
Program, and Global Health, University of Washington
• Professor Scott Haddock--Paralegal Department, Edmonds Community College