Deleso A. Alford earned a B.S., magna cum laude at Southern University A & M College, a J.D. from Southern University Law Center, and an LL.M. at Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC. She is a past Fulbright Scholar- Senegal/Cote d’Ivoire and Delegate to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa (2001). Currently, she is pursuing a Certification in Clinical Bioethics from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Professor Alford is an Associate Professor of Law at Florida A&M University teaching Torts I and II, Race and the Law, Bioethics, and the Law, and Critical Race Theory. Her scholarly research focuses on the integration of critical race feminist theory into the medical school curriculum in order to address cultural competence accreditation mandates for medical education.
Professor Alford has developed a body of groundbreaking legal scholarship, which details the ways in which African descendant women’s bodies have served as a critical site for American medical research and discoveries—since the era of racial slavery to contemporary times. In particular, Professor Alford unearths what she calls the “Her-storical narratives” of: Henrietta Lacks; the women impacted by the U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study in Tuskegee, Alabama; and Anarcha, Betsey and Lucy—the enslaved women upon whose bodies Dr. J. Marion Sims developed the medical specialty of gynecology and the medical tools presently used in gynecological examinations.
Alford is the Senior Editor of Enslaved Women in America: An Encyclopedia, which is the recipient of the 2013 Reference and User Services Association Award (a division of the American Library Association) for Outstanding Reference Source. In this award-winning edited volume, Professor Alford published an entry on enslaved women’s roles in medical experimentation and surgery. She has also published several articles in the field: “Medical Ethics and Health Equity: The Henrietta Lacks Story” (with Dr. Lisa Barkley); “HeLa Cells and Unjust Enrichment in the Human Body,” 21 Annals Health L. 223 (2012); “Examining the ‘Stick’ of Accreditation for Medical Schools through Reproductive Justice Lens: A Transformative Remedy for Teaching the Tuskegee Syphilis Study,” 26 J. Civ. Rts & Econ. Dev.153 (2011); and “Critical Race Feminist Bioethics: Telling Stories in Law School and Medical School in Pursuit of ‘Cultural Competency’ 72 Alb. L. Rev. 961 (2009); and “Every Shut Eye, Ain’t Sleep: Exploring the Impact of Crack Cocaine Sentencing and the Illusion of Reproductive Rights for Black Women from a Critical Race Feminist Perspective,” 13 Am. U. J. Gender Soc. Pol’y & L. 1 (2004). She is currently writing a book entitled, “Tuskegee’s Forgotten Women: The Untold Side of the U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study” forthcoming with Praeger Publishers (ABC-CLIO).
In her academic writings and nearly 70 presentations domestically and abroad, Professor Alford has issued a call to action to both American and International medical schools and health care professionals: integrate in educational and professional training the “Her-storical” narratives of vulnerable women whose bodies have been used for and affected by medical research and advancement—whose stories have been neglected in the annals of medical history. For nearly a decade, she has been leading the charge for inclusion of these experiences of women as a matter of necessary cultural competency for medical and health care professionals and resulting gender and racial equity in the provision of health care. Medical schools have responded to Professor Alford’s charge.
On an international front, Professor Alford most recently serving in her capacity as a planning Committee member for the 2016 National Bar Association’s (NBA) Annual International Affiliates Meeting, Law Professors Division joined over 120 NBA delegates to travel to Havana, Cuba (May 22-27, 2016). The International Affiliates Meeting is a major part of the National Bar Association’s international goal to create an environment to help foster social, political and economic development around the world. Professor Alford moderated a panel of distinguished Cuban lawyers and judges. She also delivered a lecture entitled, Women, Standing at the Intersection both Domestically and Internationally: A Critical Race Feminist Perspective on Our Bodies, Our Dis-ease, Our Human-ness” wherein she focused on the integration of CRF Bioethics and international medical education curriculum for NBA lawyers and judges seeking Continuing Legal Education hours. As a part of this historic event, the delegation met with the Union Nacional de Jurists de Cubas – a professional organization for lawyers headquartered in Havana. They also visited the United States Embassy.
Professor Alford has provided Continuing Legal Education training to the National Bar Association (NBA) during their International Affiliates Meeting, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil (May 17 – May 21, 2014) and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (May 21 – May 24, 2014) on the panel topic, Comparative Perspectives on Human Rights Issues. She has also presented in London, England at “A Narrative Future for Health Care” International Conference (June 19-21, 2013).
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Courses taught by Professor Alford:
- Race and the Law
- Bioethics and the Law
- Critical Race Theory
- Professor Alford was cited for her groundbreaking work in the area of Critical Race Feminist Bioethics and its application to the current debate involving the memory and legacy of Dr. J. Marion Sims.
Garlarneau, Charlene, On Sims’s Legacy: Work for Bioethics, The Hastings Center website (August 17, 2017)
- Professor Alford served as the Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine at Lake Nona during summer 2017. In this role, she reported to the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion with administrative oversight of the Diversity and Inclusion office activities. Professor Alford placed particular emphasis on the design, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of science/medical educational pipeline programs and community outreach initiatives. She led this year’s UCF Health Leaders Summer Academy, an annual medical pipeline program for high school students in underserved communities who are interested in pursuing health careers.
- Professor Alford was recently invited to become a distinguished Fellow of The American Bar Foundation (ABF). As a Fellow, she will support the ABF’s groundbreaking research at the intersection of law and the social sciences. She will also enjoy educational and social Fellows events held locally and nationally (including the ABA Annual and Midyear Meetings), offering the opportunity to network with other leading lawyers, judges, and scholars throughout the United States and the world.
- FAMU College of Law students enrolled in Professor Alford’s 1 credit Directed Individualized Study course attended class during the Spring 2017 semester once per week, culminating in a five-day, four-night trip to Havana, Cuba from March 5-9, 2017 with the Stetson/FAMU Spring Break in Cuba study abroad program. The course, “The Cuban Legal System and Society,” provided law students the opportunity to study the historical underpinnings of the Cuban legal system and society, including developing an understanding of the current legal system in Cuba. Students gained a substantive understanding of Cuban laws, U.S.-Cuba policy, Cuban society, and current legal issues relating to Cuba with particular emphasis on the topical areas selected by the students to complete their required paper to fulfill the course requirements.This Cuba Spring Break Study Abroad program served as a step toward realizing Florida A&M University’s Strategic Initiative 5: Enhance and sustain an academic and social environment that promotes internationalism, diversity, and inclusiveness.FAMU College of Law students Caridad Acosta, Jeanette Ortiz, Jason Birdsong with Professor Deleso A. Alford in Havana, Cuba with Stetson Law School’s Cuba Spring Break Study Abroad program. (March 5-9, 2017)
Professor Alford served as an invited speaker at the University of South Florida (USF) Morsani College of Medicine for the Department of Health Policy & Management Speaker Series on Thursday, November 10, 2016. The College of Public Health hosted a luncheon, followed by a time to meet with faculty and students.
Professor Alford’s presentation was entitled, Cultural Competency Meets Critical Race Theory: Examining the “Ethical Divide” for the SUPPORT Study, wherein she discussed the U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee, informed consent, and the dismissal of a class action lawsuit against researchers at the University of Alabama who conducted a study involving premature newborns. See http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2015/09/uab_study_probably_did_not_cau.html#incart_email .
Professor Alford’s invitation to speak at the USF Morsani College of Medicine was the result of her summer visitorship at Stetson University College of Law and her discussions regarding interdisciplinary and collaborative engagement opportunities with USF Health Tampa.
A photo from the event is below.
Professor Alford served as an invited panelist for Georgetown Women’s Legal Alliance Panel where she earned her LL.M degree from Georgetown University Law Center (Class of 2002). The panel topic entitled, “Leading Social Change: Women in Politics, Policy and the Private Sector” was held on October 21, 2016, in Washington, DC. (Program attached).
Professor Alford was recognized as “leading social change” through her scholarly impact across disciplines. She was honored for her efforts to inform the next generation of culturally competent legal and healthcare professionals by transforming critical race theory into practical application.
Professor Alford served as an invited speaker on the Health Law panel at Case Western Reserve University School of Law Symposium: In Honor of Fred Gray: Making Civil Rights Law from Rosa Parks to the 21st Century, held on October 14, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. Fred D. Gray, a 1954 graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, is a celebrated figure in the civil rights and legal communities and is considered one of the nation’s leading civil rights lawyers. The senior partner in the firm of Gray, Langford, Sapp, McGowan, Gray, Gray & Nathanson, has been practicing law full-time for more than six decades.
Professor Alford’s presentation was entitled, “Seeing Gender Equality Through an Interdisciplinary Lens: The Application of Critical Race Feminist Legal Theory in Practical, Medical School Curricula.” One of the major objectives of this conference was to “examine Fred Gray’s work through the prism of health law, voting rights, desegregation and the role of civil rights lawyers while also analyzing contemporary challenges in those areas.” Her presentation examined the continuing implications of Fred Gray’s work (as the Attorney who represented the 623 victims of the infamous U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee) through the utilization of a critical race feminist framework. The conference was approved for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit and the Case Western Reserve University School of Law Continuing Legal Education Booklet, Bios & Agenda are attached.
Pictured is Professor Alford with Attorney Fred Gray and his wife, Mrs. Carol Gray.
Professor Alford served as a moderator/panelist, Healing Black Women’s and Girls’ Minds and Bodies: The Fightback against Racism in Medical Science at the African American Women and Law Conference (AAWLC) 2016, Washington, DC (September 13-14, 2016). The panel was intended to encourage dialogue between the audience and panelists in order to develop recommendations on the federal/state policy level that address suggestions as to what black women and girls can do, individually, as well as collectively to improve our current state of health. The purpose of this conference was to develop a Black Women’s Legal and Public Policy Agenda to guide our advocacy for the next number of years. The theme of the 2016 AAWLC was “Black Women Still Rising!: Ending Structural Racism, Patriarchy, and Violence.”
Professor Alford’s presentation was entitled, “’Her-story’ and Gynecology: Practical Application of Critical Race Feminist Theory to Address Racism in Medical Science” wherein she framed the unique and particularized experiences of Black women, specifically Anarcha, Betsey and Lucy (circa 1845-1849, Montgomery, Alabama) who amongst others were forced by the laws of U.S. enslavement to lay at the intersection of gender, race, human experimentation and the development of gynecology as a medical specialty.(see attached final program booklet)
Professor Alford was also extremely proud to hear the exceptional presentation given by one of our FAMU College of law alumnae, Alicia McNeal, Esq. who is currently President of Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women Lawyers Division, National Bar Association (“GWAC”).
Professor Alford served as a plenary speaker to approximately 117 registered attendees for the Florida Trial Court Staff Attorney Association Annual Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on September 22-23, 2016. The Florida Trial Court Staff Attorneys Association (FTCSAA) was founded to promote research and administrative efficiency for the benefit of the State Court system.
The conference was approved for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit and Professor Alford’s presentation entitled, Our Courtrooms are “Color-blind” or Not?: Making the Case for Training Culturally Competent Attorneys was well-received. Pictured below is Professor Alford with FAMU COL alumnae Elizabeth Henslee, Staff Attorney with the Fifth District Court of Appeal.
Professor Alford served as a visiting scholar at Stetson University College of Law this summer. As part of her visit, she continued the conversation developed from her research about the building of a framework for cultural competence through the lens of personal narratives that shape how individuals see and understand each other. Information regarding Professor Alford’s visit can be accessed here:
Professor Alford forwarded these pictures and news clip from her recent trip to Cuba. As noted in the FACCOLADE dated June 9th, Professor Alford was a member of a 120-person delegation of the National Bar Association (NBA) who traveled to Havana, Cuba from May 22-27, 2016 for the NBA Annual International Affiliates Meeting.
Professor Deleso Alford was a member of a 120-person delegation of the National Bar Association (NBA) who traveled to Havana, Cuba from May 22-27, 2016 for the NBA Annual International Affiliates Meeting. The International Affiliates Meeting is a major part of the National Bar Association’s international goal to create an environment to help foster social, political, and economic development around the world.
Professor Alford moderated a panel of distinguished Cuban lawyers and judges. She also delivered a CLE-lecture entitled, Women, Standing at the Intersection both Domestically and Internationally: A Critical Race Feminist Perspective on Our Bodies, Our Dis-ease, Our Human-ness” during which she focused on the integration of CRF Bioethics and international medical education curriculum for NBA lawyers and judges.
Serving on the Law Professors Division’s Planning Committee for the International Affiliates Meeting, Professor Alford and the delegation met with the Union Nacional de Jurists de Cubas – a professional organization for lawyers headquartered in Havana. They also visited the United States Embassy.
Professor Alford’s abstract entitled, “Exploring Innovative International Study Abroad Programs with an Interdisciplinary Focus: An Eye Towards Interprofessional Education (IPE)” will be presented at the International Legal Education Abroad Conference (IEAC) at Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, Florida on Monday, April 4, 2016. For your convenience and information, the agenda for the International Legal Education Abroad Conference is attached.
Professor Alford was an invited panelist for the Zora Neale Hurston’s 125th Birthday Celebration. The event took place at the Enzian Theatre (Maitland) for Women’s History Month screening of You Belong to Me: Sex, Race, and Murder in the South (Zora Neale Hurston covered the Ruby McCollum murder trial for The Pittsburgh-Courier. The trailer for the movie can be viewed here: http://enzian.org/film/you-belong-to-me-sex-race-and-murder-in-the-south/.
Professor Alford’s former Bioethics and the Law student, Imani Jackson, published the lead editorial piece entitled, The least of these deserves to be: Opposing Disparate Sterilization. The article is officially available in The Rutgers Journal of Bioethics Volume VII, Spring 2016. (attached)
Ms. Jackson acknowledged the FAMU College of Law and specifically, the Bioethics and the Law course in her bio which reads:
Imani Jackson is an interdisciplinary advocate and writer committed to empowering vulnerable populations. Imani earned a B.A. in mass communication, cum laude, with a psychology minor from Grambling State University. Imani continued her education at Florida A&M University College of Law where she obtained a Juris doctor degree. In law school, Bioethics and the Law was a transformative course that piqued her interest in the subject. The Florida native believes cultural humility, historical knowledge, and empathic education can prevent future bioethical harms to targeted groups.
Professor Deleso Alford assisted in the organizational planning stages of the Association of American Law Schools, AALS Section on Socio-Economics 2016 Annual Meeting. Additionally, on January 9, 2016 at 2 pm, she served as a panelist, Perspectives on Economic, Gender, and Racial Justice,“Socio-Economics: Broadening the Economic Debate” panel at the Association of American Law Schools, AALS Section on Socio-Economics 2016 Annual Meeting, From Challenge to Innovation: American Legal Education in 2016, New York Hilton Midtown & Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, New York City. Professor Alford’s presentation was entitled, Reforming Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Training for Institutional Review Board (IRB) Members on Human Subjects Research through the integration of Critical Race Feminist theory, wherein she explored the nexus between race and healthcare in the 21st century by addressing potential societal economic costs, including notions of humanity toward the advancement of health equity.
On January 11, 2016, at 9:00 am-6:00 pm, she served as a plenary panelist during the Society of Socio-Economics (SOS) Annual Meeting Program, Association of American Law Schools, AALS Section on Socio-Economics, Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel.
The Marshall-Bell organizers of Law Day 2015 selected Professor Alford’s Race and the Law class as the venue through which the FAMU undergraduate participants could gain a law school classroom experience. Prior to the classroom visit, the participants were instructed to take the Project Implicit’s “Hidden Bias Test” located at https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report.
Professor Alford provided the participants with an introductory orientation lecture entitled, “STRIKE: How to Succeed in Law School.” This portion of the lecture provided Marshall-Bell organizers with an opportunity to share their law school “lived experiences” with the undergraduate participants. In keeping with Marshall-Bell’s mission to promote cultural competency and sensitivity in the legal profession, Professor Alford conducted a lecture entitled, “Race and the Law: Exploring “Cultural Competency.” During this lecture, the students were able to learn about the challenges and concerns related to legal education’s formal education and the impact of race and the enforcement of laws.
Professor Deleso Alford, Professor Nicola Boothe-Perry, Professor Cori Harvey, and Professor Phyllis Taite participated and a scholarly contribution to the 9th Annual Lutie A. Lytle Black Women Law Writing Workshop held July 9-12, 2015 at Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville, Tennessee.
Professor Deleso Alford has been very active this past summer serving as a presenter on topics related to her research on the importance of including the diversity perspective in the medical school curricula. Her activities include the following:
Panelist, Pursuing Gender Equality Through an Interdisciplinary Lens: The Application of Critical Race Feminist Legal Theory in Practical, Medical School Curricula,Workshop on Next Generation Issues of Sex, Gender and the Law Conference, Ideas for the Future Panel, Association of American Law Schools, AALS 2015 Mid-year Meeting, Orlando, Florida (June 25-26, 2015).
Presenter, Teaching Medical Students to Advance Health Equity, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) 2015 Joint Professional Development Conference (PDC) for Admissions and Student Diversity Affairs, Miami, Florida (June 18- 21, 2015).
Professor Alford’s research and presentations have not gone unnoticed and have resulted in her being appointed by the American Bar Association (ABA) President Paulette Brown as a member of the Special Committee on Bioethics and the Law for the bar year 2015-2016. Professor Alford also attended the ABA Annual Meeting held in Chicago, Illinois (July 30- August 4, 2015).
In memory of the late Pamela Bridgewater, Professor Alford presented Tribute to Law Professor Pamela Bridgewater, American University Washington College of Law “Ode to a Good Sister” at the 9th Annual Lutie Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Writing Workshop, “Advance Your Agenda, Build Your Brand and Chart Your Career” that was held at the Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville, Tennessee (July 9-12, 2015).
Professor Deleso Alford recently co-authored peer-reviewed piece which is now published in MedEdPORTAL Publications. MedEdPORTAL is a program of the Association of American Medical Colleges and through Publications, the Association promotes educational scholarship and collaboration by facilitating the open exchange of peer-reviewed health education teaching and assessment resources. A description regarding Professor Alford’s peer-reviewed writing as well as access information immediately follows.
Title: Medical Ethics and Health Equity: The Henrietta Lacks Story
This is a team-based learning (TBL) module that is part of our Psychosocial Issues in Healthcare course for first-year medical students and also serves as a learning module for the University of Central Florida College of Medicine longitudinal curricular thread in Culture, Health, and Society. The Psychosocial Issues module is designed to prepare first-year medical students to address key issues that impact the provision of healthcare and the doctor-patient relationship. This is primarily behavioral science and focuses on how people’s thoughts, behavior, and social environment affect their health. These factors make up some of the art of practicing medicine and are key competencies to providing high-quality care to the diverse patients we serve. The Culture, Health, and Society longitudinal curricular thread is designed to meet the Liaison Committee on Medical Education cultural competency standards and has sessions in all four years of the MD curriculum.
Dr. Lisa Barkley (University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine), and Deleso A. Alford, J.D., LL.M. (Florida A&M University College of Law) developed this learning session. Dr. Barkley is the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and Assistant Professor specializing in family, adolescent and sports medicine. Ms. Alford is a law professor with a specialization in critical race theory and bioethics and Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at UCF College of Medicine.
Barkley L, Alford D. Medical Ethics and Health Equity: The Henrietta Lacks Story. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2015. Available from: https://www.mededportal.org/publication/10276 http://dx.doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10276.
- ENSLAVED WOMEN IN AMERICA: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA (Senior Editor, Deleso A. Alford, Editor, Daina Ramey Berry) Greenwood Press/ABC-CLIO.
Barkley, Lisa, Alford, Deleso. Medical Ethics and Health Equity: The Henrietta Lacks Story. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2015. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10276
- HeLa Cells and Unjust Enrichment in the Human Body, 21 Annals Health L. 223 (2012)
- Examining the “Stick” of Accreditation for Medical Schools through Reproductive Justice Lens: A Transformative Remedy for Teaching the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, 26 J. Civ. Rts & Econ. Dev.153 (2011)
- Critical Race Feminist Bioethics: Telling Stories in Law School and Medical School in Pursuit of “Cultural Competency” (72 Alb. L. Rev. 961 (2009)
- The Anatomy of a “Pantsuit”: Performance, Proxy, and Presence for Women of Color in Legal Education 30 Hamline J. Pub. L. & and Pol’y 605 (2009)
- Hurricane Katrina and Collective Identity: Seeing Through a “Her-storical Lens”, 31 Nova L. Rev. 352 (2007).
- Every Shut Eye, Ain’t Sleep: Exploring the Impact of Crack Cocaine Sentencing and the Illusion of Reproductive Rights for Black Women from a Critical Race Feminist Perspective, 13 Am. U. J. Gender Soc. Pol’y & L. 1 (2004).
- Exploring the Black Woman’s Sphere and the Anti-Lynching Crusade of the Early Twentieth Century, 3 Geo. J. Gender & L. 895 (2002).
- Roots, Resistance, and Responsibility: The World Conference Against Racism, Reflections Magazine, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Fall 2001).