As the final event in our year-long series on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Dr. Ruth Faden will visit campus as the Public Health Class of 1960s Scholar speaker on Thursday, April 23rd. Dr. Faden’s 7:30pm talk, titled Henrietta Lacks: “Ethics at the Intersection of Health Care and Biomedical Science” will be in Griffin 3 and preceded by tea with students at 4:15 in Paresky 207.
About the talk: I will begin by summarizing, very briefly, what happened to Mrs. Lacks, her children and her cells. Much of the commentary about the modern lessons of the Lacks experience has focused on the questions raised by their story for the ethics of using human tissues in biomedical science. I will briefly review these questions that have been primarily about consent and compensation. I will spend most of my time, however, arguing that, while these questions are important and remain largely unresolved, they are not independent of wider considerations of social justice and access to medical care. Here I will use our theory of social justice to illustrate why so much of what is most compelling about the experience of Mrs. Lacks and her family has little to do with the science itself.
Ruth R. Faden, PhD, MPH, is the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Biomedical Ethics. Dr. Faden is the author and editor of many books and articles on biomedical ethics and health policy includingSocial Justice: The Moral Foundations of Public Health and Health Policy (with Madison Powers), A History and Theory of Informed Consent (with Tom L. Beauchamp), AIDS, Women and the Next Generation (Ruth Faden, Gail Geller and Madison Powers, eds.), and HIV, AIDS and Childbearing: Public Policy, Private Lives (Ruth Faden and Nancy Kass, eds.). For Dr. Faden’s complete bio: http://www.bioethicsinstitute.org/people/ruth-faden-4