The bestselling book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" has educated people about tremendous advances in medical science but it has also raised questions about how people's bodies are being used behind closed doors.

Lacks' son will speak at Washington State University Jan. 5 as part of a series of events planned to add to a discussion of the book which was chosen for WSU's 2012-2013 Common Reading program.

On Monday, Nov. 5, Holocaust historian Patricia Heberer will talk about the Nazi "euthanasia" program involving disabled people.  The free lecture is at 7 p.m. in Todd Hall 116.

Heberer is a historian at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C. She is a specialist on medical crimes and eugenics policies in Nazi Germany.

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" details how Lacks’ daughter Elsie died at the Crownsville Hospital for the Negro Insane where she was likely used in experiments.

Heberer will explore the victims of Aktion T4, the name used for a program during which physicians killed 70,000-275,000 Germans judged to be incurably sick from 1939 to 1941, extended unofficially through 1945. These included physically or mentally handicapped people killed by medication, starvation or in gas chambers.


-"What’s Your Body Worth? The Ethics of Commodifying Human Tissues” will be presented at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, in Todd 116, by Bill Kabasenche, WSU assistant professor of politics, philosophy and public affairs.

-David Lacks, son of Henrietta Lacks, will present an evening lecture in Beasley Coliseum on Jan. 5. Details will be forthcoming.

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