Event Title

Bringing Henrietta to Life: Medical Humanities and the Arts

Event Series Title

co-sponsored by: School of Nursing, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, College Deans Diversity Councils-College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) and the College of Sciences and Health Professions

Document Type





The event was held on April 12, 2014 in the Moot Court Room of the Cleveland Marshall College of Law and featured the premiere screening of Bringing Henrietta to Life, a filmed performance conceived as a creative response to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the New York Times best seller by Rebecca Skloot that traces the history of HeLa cells, whose discovery revolutionized medical research, and Henrietta Lacks, the young African American woman from whom the cells were extracted. After viewing the film, the audience will receive lunch, then select from one of four breakout groups to explore issues of biomedical ethics, medicine and the law, gender and racial disparities in medical practice, and ethical issues in nursing.

The project began as an interdisciplinary collaboration between CLASS faculty in Theatre Arts and Dance, English, and Communication and follows a best practices approach using music, dance, theatre and film to demonstrate the potential of art in medical and health education. The film, Bringing Henrietta to Life, was mounted and filmed by CSU students majoring in theatre, dance, technical theatre, and film/digital programs, and its collaborative presentation represents Diversity Councils from CLASS, the College of Sciences and Health Professions, the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and the School of Nursing.

The one-day event is designed to directly impact an audience of 300. Beyond this initial event, the film will be available via the CSU EngagedScholarship website for faculty to use as a teaching tool to accompany the text.

We are seeking to create an audience that includes professionals with a shared interest in medical humanities, as well as faculty and students.