New Honors Course Offered for WIN 2018

HONORS 391C:   Winter Quarter, 2018 5-Credits   T & Th 1:30-3:50pm   THO 335

Clarence Spigner, Professor; Department of Health Services; Health Sciences Building, H690d

Box 357660, 206-616-2948;; Office Hours:  By Appointment



The Immortal Life of HENRIETTA LACKS: An Interactive Seminar on Values & Ethics in Health & Medicine – Based on the book by Rebecca Skloot

Description: This 5-credit, twice weekly seminar follows the journalistic path of author Rebecca Skloot uncovering the plight of Henrietta Lacks, an impoverished African American woman whose immortal cells were remove by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Research Center in 1951. A historical context as addressed to understand how corporate values absorbed into health and social justice in academic research institutions. The commodification of human tissues emerges as a product of capitalism and the co-optation of integrity in academic research centers.

Course Requirements: A complete critical reading of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Crown, 2010) and not any viewing of the movie.  Students fully engage with informed discussion and demonstrate a deeper understanding of societal and institutional forces that frame the exploitation of Henrietta Lacks and her family.  A week-by-week discussion guide is a blueprint.  Group Presentations (30%), Pop Quizzes (open), Final Essay (70%).



(1) Gain a deeper understanding of ethics and values exposed in the Henrietta Lacks family saga.

(2) Discern social verses biological constructions of “race” in health research.

(3) Frame historical events such as Jim Crow, Tuskegee Syphilis Study and Eugenics.

(4)  Discern how and why exploitation of human subjects is so market-driven.