Mission Statement

We provide financial assistance to individuals in need, and their families, who have made important contributions to scientific research without personally benefiting from those contributions, particularly those used in research without their knowledge or consent. The Foundation offers those who have benefited from those contributions — including scientists, universities, corporations, and the general public — a way to show their appreciation to such research subjects and their families.

Support for Grant Recipients

The Foundation has awarded more than 50 grants to many qualifying members of Henrietta Lacks’s immediate family. These include grants for health care and dental assistance, tuition and books, job training and maintaining employment, and emergency relief. We have also awarded education grants to the family members of the survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Studies through our support of The Voices of Our Fathers Legacy Foundation, whose mission is “To uplift the legacy of the USPHS Study In Macon County by honoring the men in the study and convening their families as a means to preserve history and enrich education in clinical and public health research.” Our goal is to continue to help individuals and families who – like members of the Lacks family and descendants of the Tuskegee Syphilis Studies survivors – have made contributions to scientific research unwillingly or unknowingly.

Board of Directors

Jeannie Suk Gerson, JD
Jeannie Suk Gerson, JD
is the John H. Watson, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Before joining the Harvard faculty in 2006, she served as a law clerk to Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court, and to Judge Harry Edwards on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She was educated at Yale (B.A. 1995), and at Oxford (D.Phil 1999), and is a graduate of Harvard Law School (J.D. 2002). She has written three books and many articles in scholarly journals and general media, and has done work on the legal issues arising from the use of human subjects in research.
Monica Kearson
Monica Kearson
is Human Resources Business Partner
at McCormick & Company, Inc. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Coppin University and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development.
Blair LM Kelley, PhD
Blair LM Kelley, PhD
is Associate Professor of History and Assistant Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies and International Programs in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at North Carolina State University. She is the author of the award-winning Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson. She is currently at work on a new book manuscript on the racial climate in World War II era Philadelphia during the trial and execution of Corrine Sykes, a black woman convicted of murder who became the last woman put to death by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania in its history. Kelley received her B.A. from the University of Virginia in History and African and African American Studies. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in History, and graduate certificates in African and African American Studies and Women’s Studies at Duke University.
David Kroll, PhD
David Kroll, PhD
Secretary
is a science and medicine writer who contributes to Forbes Health. He was Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at North Carolina Central University and Director of Science Communication at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Dr. Kroll did his PhD dissertation work at the University of Florida on a factor involved in HeLa cell growth and used the cells to establish his cancer research program at the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy.
Roland Pattillo, MD
Roland Pattillo, MD
Vice President
is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Morehouse School of Medicine, where he founded and has organized the annual HeLa Health Symposium, now in its 21st year. He was the first African American student of George Gey, the scientist who first cultured the HeLa cell line at Johns Hopkins.
Rebecca Skloot
Rebecca Skloot
President and Founder
is the author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. She has a BS in biological sciences and an MFA in nonfiction writing. She has taught science writing at New York University, University of California Berkeley, and others. You can learn more about Rebecca at www.rebeccaskloot.com
Clyde Yancy, MD, MSc
Clyde Yancy, MD, MSc
Magerstadt Professor and Chief of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Dr. Yancy co-chaired the NIH HeLa Genome Working Group from 2013 to 2017.

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