BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A Southern University Law Center professor’s research made a large impact on the groundbreaking Henrietta Lacks settlement against a biotechnology company that produced HeLa cells for profit without her family’s permission.
Deloso A. Alford, a Shreveport native, has done innovative work crossing over legal and medical education. The Southern University Law Center said Alford’s work became the establishment and turning point to genetic justice for the Lacks’ family.
Alford’s work constructed a framework for her instruction on accomplishing cultural competence while rehearsing cultural humility, according to a news release from the university.
Alford said that she has been investigating stories of individuals belittled by the American healthcare, research and legal systems for almost two decades as part of her scholarly path.
“In 2012, my immediate focus was to use my scholarship writing obligation as an opportunity to address the injustice meted against Mrs. Henrietta Lacks and her family, where I stood, in front of a classroom,” said Alford. “As a law professor teaching both law and medical students, I urged them to acknowledge people who have been and remain marginalized by the American healthcare, research, and legal systems.”
According to the university, Alford discussed the unique and lived experience of Black women spanning across health care and research.
“I am humbled to know that a law review article that I wrote over a decade ago, entitled ‘HeLa Cells and Unjust Enrichment in the Human Body’, served as a catalyst and theory of the case for world-renowned Civil Rights lawyers, Co-lead counsels Ben Crump, Christopher Seeger and their legal teams,” said Alford.
Alford served on the state’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force and has been able to give input to policies and laws that clash with health disparities. SULC said Alford wants up-and-coming legal professionals to shed light on existing healthcare disparities to right legal wrongs by telling the stories of Black women.