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Month: August 2010

Courses Participating in Go Big Read

UW Madison instructors who incorporate the Go Big Read book into their curricula can get complimentary copies of the book for their students. So far, 77 courses are participating in fall 2010! These courses are at every level – from freshman to graduate and professional – and in every discipline. You can view the course list online. These courses are also marked in the course guide.

Students in eligible courses will receive a coupon from their instructor to pick up a copy of the book. First-year students will also have opportunities to pick up a book at Convocation and at the Center for the First Year Experience. If you are an instructor who would like to use the book in your Fall or Spring course, you can still sign up on the Go Big Read web site.

Sarah McDaniel
UW Libraries

Go Big Read-Health Sciences Program

UW’s West Side Campus, which includes many health science centric institutions and schools, like the UW Hospital and Clinics, the Ebling Library for the Health Sciences, the Waisman Center, and the Schools of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH), Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine and Nursing, are particularly interested in reading and discussing the “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Skloot’s themes, such as ownership of bodily parts and tissue, the inclusion and necessary protection of human subjects, the place of the HeLa cell in research, the ethics of informed consent, and the question of racial equity in research protocols are all themes which our colleagues must grapple with on a routine basis. A group of instructors and administrators called the Interprofessional Health Education Committee (IHEC) have envisioned a Go Big Read-Health Sciences Program that will include hundreds of health sciences students in one hour sessions with a facilitator who starts the discussion with one of three over-arching themes; Science and Society, Race and Culture, and Ethics (in Research). Facilitators will raise questions within each of these broader themes, such as, “As a future health professional what message will you take from this book?” or “Who is entitled to profit from the distribution of cells?” IHEC plans for students from each of the four schools to discuss these topics together, each of them bringing sensibilities from the health science discipline and life experiences that they differ in, as well as have in common. SMPH’s Curriculum Manager, Renie Schapiro, and colleagues from the four health sciences schools, including the Department of Medical History & Bioethics, are organizing 25-40 facilitators who will lead nearly 800 students in 40 sessions over a 3 week period. This gargantuan effort is being overseen by Jeanine Mount, PH. D., RP H, Christine Seibert, M.D., Chris Olsen, DVM, PH.D., and Nadine Nehls, PH.D., RN., with the organizational prowess of History of Science graduate student Lynnette Regouby and the enviable OASIS calendaring system. For information on the Facilitator’s Discussion Guide, please contact:

State Mandates Changes to UC Berkeley’s “On the Same Page” Program’s Use of DNA Results

In June, Elizabeth blogged about UC Berkeley’s “On the Same Page Program,” which usually selects a common book like we do. This year, they invited students to submit a DNA sample. The plan was for students to receive personalized results on selected factors as part of a campus discussion on personalized medicine.

Last week, the California Department of Public Health instructed the school not to release individual test results as planned, according to a campus press release on the program site. Instead, campus conversations such as lectures and panels will focus on results in the aggregate. Campus planners are disappointed by the change, but hope that the debate will enrich their discussions of personalized medicine and rights to personal medical information.

The administrators of “On the Same Page” have been very generous with time and planning documents in helping UW-Madison get “Go Big Read” started. Their initiative certainly generated a lot of controversy and I’m sure they’ll also get to the thoughtful conversations they are hoping for.

Sarah McDaniel
UW Libraries & Go Big Read

Henrietta’s Headstone Dedication

There are a number of smaller moments in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” that resonate for people as much as the larger issues of body and tissue ownership, the ethics of informed consent, and the protocols for human subject research. One of those more intimate concerns was that Henrietta had an unmarked grave site. That concern has been alleviated by a headstone provided by a Morehouse School of Medicine donation from Dr. Roland Pattillo and his wife, Pat. Dr. Pattillo is the ob/gyn physician-scientist who Skloot portrays as a guardian of the Lacks family and who provided contacts to Skloot after she convinced him of her sincerity in telling the story of the family and Henrietta. Read the entire story here:

Were there other details in the book that resonated for you as you got to know Henrietta Lacks and her family? How does such a journalistic treatment differ from a historical treatment?

New Book Discussion Toolkit Now Available

Go Big Read has developed a new toolkit for any folks planning (or that are interested in planning) a book discussion for this year’s book.

Check out useful toolkit items such as:

  • Book Discussion Questions
  • Book Reviews
  • Guidelines for Facilitators and Participants

If you have any questions about toolkit items or would like help planning a discussion feel free to email us!