News and Events

A visit with the Lacks family

The University of Iowa College of Public Health and the Carver College of Medicine Office of Cultural Affairs and Diversity Initiatives will present, A Visit With The Henrietta Lacks Family, a free event on October 10, 2013 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Room N110 of the College of Public Health Building. Victoria Baptiste, Lacks’ great granddaughter, and David Lacks, Jr., Lacks’ grandson will speak about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Skloot’s bestselling book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor African-American woman who, after dying of cervical cancer in 1951, had her cells taken without her permission and how those cells ended up being instrumental in developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization and other medical breakthroughs to this day.

The Lacks family recently reached an agreement with the National Institute of Health that prevents the HeLa cells and Lacks’ genome data from being available to the public. Instead, under the agreement, researchers will now have to apply to use the data and will have to acknowledge the Lacks family in any publications. Despite the agreement, the Lacks family still will not see any compensation despite the billions of dollars the cells have generated.

Baptiste and Lacks, Jr. will also be speaking about the life of Henrietta Lacks on October 10 at 7 p.m. in the Dean Ballroom on the lower level of the Sheraton in downtown Iowa City.

For more information on A Visit With the Henrietta Lacks Family, contact David Etler (319)-335-8058.

Story Source: UI Carver College of Medicine, 200 College of Medicine Administration Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Media Contact: Benji McElroy, UI Carver College of Medicine,