The Commission

The Henrietta Lacks Commission is currently conceived to be a gathering of engaged stakeholder leaders who will hone and accelerate its concepts and ideas, culminating in an effective operating model, facility design and business plan for a Life Science and Cancer Treatment Center, funded without the use of monies from the Commonwealth.  These stakeholders include the Lacks Family, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia research institutions, Virginia healthcare providers, private pharmaceutical companies, and Virginia policy leaders.  Together they will focus cancer research and treatment using the bio-data capacity and expertise available in the region, provide tailored cancer treatment medicine to an underserved portion of rural Southern Virginia, research, develop and commercialize new therapies, transform the Southern Virginia economy and appropriately honor Henrietta Lacks’ unique legacy where it is most appropriate-- her home place.

Henrietta Lacks Commission Members

Del. James Edmunds

Virginia House of Delegates
as appointed by Speaker

James Edmunds is a Delegate of the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 60th District. He earned the B.S. from Averett University. Edmunds was recently appointed to serve on the Henrietta Lacks Commission.

Sen. Bill Stanley

Virginia Senate
as appointed by President of Senate

Bill Stanley is Senator of Virginia representing District 20. He earned the B.S. from Hampden-Sydney College and the J.D. from the District of Columbia School of Law. He was appointed to serve on the Henrietta Lacks Commission.

Jeri Lacks-Whye

Member of the Lacks Family

Jeri Lacks Whye is the granddaughter of Henrietta Lacks and the daughter of Henrietta’s middle son David “Sonny” Lacks.

Jeri works in the Judiciary System in the domestic violence unit. She travels the country giving her insightful account as the granddaughter of such an amazing African American woman that has left a legacy to the world. Jeri continues to keep the legacy of her grandmother active and conscious while at the same time using her family’s story as a platform to take part in issue we face nationwide such as patient rights, health prevention, health disparities, illiteracy, fighting cancer, partnership between research and research participants, trustworthiness between the communities and medical establishments.

Dr. Adele Newson-Horst

Member of the HLLG

Dr. Adele Newson-Horst is a professor of English at Morgan State University (MSU). She is also the coordinator of Women’s and Gender Studies at MSU. She earned the B.A. from Spelman College, the M.A. from Eastern Michigan University, and the Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Her books and articles focus on the literature of African, African American, and Caribbean women writers. She is also the vice-president of the Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group (HLLG). She regularly reviews books for World Literature Today and Academic Choice. Among other publications, she has published two edited volume on Egyptian novelist and physician Nawal el Saadawi: The Essential Nawal El Saadawi: A Reader, London, Zed Publishers, 2010 and The Dramatic Literature of Nawal El Saadawi, London: Saqi, 2009.

Dr. Nettie Simon-Owens

Halifax Industrial Development Authority

Dr. Nettie L. Simon-Owens is the Chief workforce Development Officer at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, Virginia. Dr. Simon-Owens earned the Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from University of Phoenix, the Master of Business Administration from Averett University, the Master of Science in Microenvironmental Studies and Design from Howard University, and the Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology from Virginia State University.

She has served as a gubernatorial appointee for several Boards including Longwood University Board of Trustees, Virginia Board of Social Work, and Virginia State Board of Social Services (served as chair and vice-chair). Community engagements include serving as former Halifax County Chamber of Commerce Board of Director and former Tri-County Community Action Agency Board Member.

Ed Owens

Mayor
Town of South Boston, VA

The Honorable Edward Owens is the mayor of South Boston and owner of Edward Owens Agency (insurance and financial services) in Halifax, VA. He is a well-educated and learned gentleman who attended Halifax County Public Schools including Washington-Coleman Elementary, Halifax County Junior High, and Halifax County Senior High schools. After graduation from Halifax County Senior High School, Edward earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Hampden-Sydney College (Hampden-Sydney, Virginia).

Owens has served 20+ years as an elected official and is very much a community servant who volunteers much of his time. A few community service and engagement commitments include Southern Virginia Higher Education Foundation, Inc., and gubernatorial appointments by three governors to the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. He is a former member of the Board of Directors for The Launch Place located in Danville, Virginia as well as a former SunTrust Advisory Committee member.

Jeremy Satterfield

Microsoft TechSpark

Jeremy Satterfield is a manager of Microsoft TechSpark for Southern Virginia. As part of Microsoft Techspark, he initiated Datacenter Community Advisory Board. Satterfield previously worked at Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation as Director of Community Outreach and Innovative Programs.

Dr. Betty Adams

SVHEC Executive Director

Dr. Betty H. Adams has served as the executive director of the Southern Virginia Higher Education (SVHEC) since 2009. In this capacity she oversees the SVHEC’s strategic growth and ensures agency activities are aligned with its mission and values. She is a transformational leader with nearly three decades of experience developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating adult learner programs.

Kristy Johnson

Halifax Industrial Development Authority

Kristy Johnson is the Executive Director of the Halifax Industrial Development Authority. A Georgia native, Johnson moved to Halifax County in 2008. She’s worked for the IDA since 2009 in various roles, starting as operations manager, then in marketing and business development before moving up the ladder to deputy director. Prior to that, she was mayor of the town of Halifax and served on several local chamber of commerce committees.

Henrietta Lacks Commission Committees and Members

Communications Committee

Jeri Lacks-Whye

Dr. Adele Newson-Horst

Kristy Johnson

Legal and Funding Committee

Hon. Ed Owens

Sen. Bill Stanley

Jeremy Satterfield

Advisory Council Committee

Dr. Betty Adams

Del. James Edmunds

Dr. Nettie Simon-Owens

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