The Henrietta Lacks story became well-known after the exhaustively-researched science biography “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” was published in 2010 by Rebecca Skloot. A major motion picture based on the book was released in 2017, bringing questions of bioethics in medicine to a more mainstream audience.
The book can be found here – please begin by reading the synopsis (you don’t need to read the whole book for this assignment):
Skloot, R. (2010). The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks (Links to an external site.). New York: Crown Publishers.
The full story involves a multitude of issues, especially around informed consent, patient privacy, and racial equity in healthcare.
Please read the the following critical thinking references – they will help you to construct an informed response to this essay assignment:
The Story Behind the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (this is essentially a book review, but includes good information)
Henrietta Lacks: science must right a historical wrong (from the scientific journal Nature)
Race and Socioeconomic Status Independently Affect Risk of Major Amputation in Peripheral Artery Disease(peer-reviewed research in the scientific journal, Journal of the American Heart Association)
We know from decades of peer-reviewed, evidence-based research, that disparities exist in healthcare that are not accounted for by socioeconomic status alone. [A recent example comes from the COVID-19 pandemic, where evidence shows that racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately represented among numbers of COVID-19 exposures, severe illness, hospitalization, and deaths -see the CDC, December 2020] It’s important to remember that these disparities are well-documented (especially among racial and ethnic minorities) – they are not opinions or anecdotes.
Items to consider while writing your essay response:
How do patients’ racial, ethnic, gender, LGBTQ+ status, religious, and socioeconomic status impact access to healthcare, and treatment within the healthcare system?
Henrietta Lacks died in 1951, but her cancer cells are still alive (and being profited from) today. What changes have occurred that regulate human medical research studies?
Construct a 500-word-minimum essay in which you address the following questions based on the readings provided, and at least one authoritative outside source (other than the articles I’ve given you), properly cited. You may use the citation style of your choice – MLA, APA, CSE – as long as it is a recognized style and is properly cited.
How did these readings challenge your assumptions, understanding, or knowledge of medical research?
How does knowing this information influence your trust in medical research?
What changes have occurred that regulate human research studies, and do those changes go far enough in preventing the kind of racial injustice that Henrietta Lacks and her family suffered from?
NOTE: Direct quotations are not allowed for this assignment. You must summarize your understanding of your research. Plagiarism search engines will be turned on for this assignment, so it’s important that you paraphrase well.
For help with paraphrasing:https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/using_research/quoting_paraphrasing_and_summarizing/paraphrasing.html
For help with citations:https://libguides.asu.edu/citing
For help with determining if a resource is authoritative: https://libguides.asu.edu/c.php?g=264095&p=1763442