2018 HeLa Event Overview


Overview: An Evening with HeLa and the Communities of Color and Clinical Trial Participation – A Call to Action Seminar: February 1st and 2nd, 2018

See “An Evening with HeLa” Program | See “A Call to Action” Seminar Agenda


Why did BACHAC organize these events?

One area that BACHAC has been interested in exploring is clinical trials by highlighting the importance of them and the need for people of color to participate in them. BACHAC was approached about hosting members from Henrietta Lacks’ family to share their story about the impact that the use of her cells in cancer research had on their family as well as the world. With the 2017 airing of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, starring Oprah Winfrey and airing on HBO, BACHAC saw an opportunity to not only highlight Henrietta’s contribution to medicine and scientific research but to also educate our communities of color about clinical trials and the importance of participating and influencing the emerging trend of personalized medicine.

Highlights of An Evening with HeLa

It was a synergistic evening. First, it was the 1st day of Black History Month; and second, it was held in the Samuel Johnson, Jr. Performing Arts Center at Capuchino High School named after the first Black Superintendent of San Mateo Union High School District. Highlights included:

  • A forum for two members of Henrietta Lacks’ family where they shared their story and engaged in a Question and Answer session

  • More than 500 people attended the event

  • The event was attended by several senior leaders from healthcare, and biopharma and government organizations

  • Displayed scientific posters focused on people of color and clinical research

  • Resource Tables featuring relevant information from non-profits, academic institutions, companies (Alzheimer’s Assn, UCSF, 23andme, Janssen, Stanford) were available for guests

  • Reached 120% of our Sponsorship goals and almost 70% of ticket sales goals

Highlights of Communities of Color and Clinical Trial Participation – A Call Action Seminar

  • 90% of people who registered attended the event

  • 50% percent of attendees returned evaluations

  • Average overall seminar rating from attendees was 9.49 out of 10

  • Average rating for Keynote Speaker Dr. Elise D. Cook was 4.9 out of 5

  • 93% said they feel more knowledgeable about clinical trials

  • Created a forum to acknowledge the mixed history of clinical trials

  • Heard best practices for engaging people of color in clinical trials

  • Heard from patients of color who have participated in clinical trials

Presentations from the Event

bACHAC’s Next Action Steps

  • BACHAC has made a commitment to develop and engage in action steps, to honor Henrietta’s legacy and make an impact when it comes to clinical trial design, engaging community participation and increasing clinical trial education, etc.

  • Highlight BACHAC to health care organizations that it has not engaged with before

  • Follow up and maintain communication with the 4 organizations who have reached out to us to explore how to further engage communities of color in clinical trial research

  • Post speaker presentations to our website

  • Post video of the events on our website

  • Work with community partners to create a clinical trial resource one-pager

  • Explore organizing a follow up seminar, i.e. ‘HeLa Revisited’

  • Host a community screening of the HBO film, followed by a Q & A on clinical trials

  • Host clinical trial speakers at local churches

  • Embed clinical trial information into existing programming

  • Explore scientific research and clinical trial focus in the current strategy planning process