The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Recommendations Student perspectives

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks DAC Book Read Discussions – Spring Quarter 2013
Student perspectives – gave a sense of belonging. They ignored the moral and social impact on
the family. Always a balance between good and evil, need to find way to provide rules to keep
that balance. The moral implications of the impact on minorities needs to be kept in mind.
Important to consider everybody and not assume that everybody feels the same way. Put aside
The actions of the college seem to have more to do with rulebooks than what is morally right.
Morals and ethics are more than what is written down as rules. Just because we don’t have to
do certain things, doesn’t mean that it isn’t the right thing to do.
Student ideas – book focuses on balancing science and humanity. Better to not have this
disconnect. Interdisciplinary learning would be beneficial. Show how things are interconnected
in our classes.
Students – some students have faced issues that they have sought help for and the concerns
were basically swept under the rug. Would like to see the leadership of the college step up and
acknowledge the concerns and provide support for students, even if they don’t believe the
Another concern relates to preventing cheating, and it helps if students are educated about
what cheating is and how to avoid doing it. Some students seem to think it is OK to ask others
or even copy their homework. Instructors who are aware and very strict about working to
prevent cheating are more successful in preventing cheating and helps students opposed to
cheating and who work hard feel respected and rewarded for their efforts.
Employees - We should make sure our IRB board is doing a good job and is being used
appropriately. It seems to be working well and we should as an institution make sure that
everyone on campus is aware of the committee and the rules. When the studies are happening,
might be a good time to have a panel or some other way of reminding everyone about the IRB
rules and guidelines. Good to foster conversation. Would help to link the experiential –for those
involved with the student research projects, with the reflection on the ethical guidelines.
Employee ideas – page 60, quote about educational access only for some. Being educated is
beneficial even if it does not go straight into a job. Pondering the issues raised in this book is
good for us, our brains, for learning. Slow down and consider the big issues involved.
Easy to be blinded by the context that you are in. Mass buy in to bad ideas happens.
Don’t assume that innovations for their own sake are necessarily beneficial. Unintended
consequences can be a big problem, as seen in the book when the HeLa cells contaminate a lot
of research.
Institutionalized issues of ethical behavior and bias in the book regarding the health care field
also relate to our educational institutionalized, where we also experience the systemic bias
relating to the areas of race, gender and poverty. We should examine how these issues can
create barriers to access and success on our campus.
Employee perspectives – the importance of listening and avoiding assumptions is key. Keep in
mind the racial lens and the status quo and how to address these issues when they arise. At a
predominantly white institution, it is important to keep a focus on the racial lens.
It is important to keep in mind the issue of professional arrogance in our roles as instructors
and managers. How do we communicate well and listen in ethical and moral ways to
understand better the students’ views?
Everyone who talks with students needs to work at making sure to carefully and clearly explain
things to students, especially students from other countries who have both language and
cultural barriers to understanding what is said to them.