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December 26, 2021

From 1932 to 1972, the United States Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention operated an extremely unethical medical experiment on the effects of outcomes of untreated syphilis. Hundreds of poor Black men from Macon County, Alabama were enrolled in the study, and treatment for syphilis was withheld from them. Even after antibiotics became available that could cure syphilis, these men were left to suffer from the disease and to expose their families to syphilis as well. Today we're learning about the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, a shameful example of racism in American medicine, and a tragedy that still impacts how many Black Americans think about healthcare today.

Clint's book, How the Word is Passed is available now!


● Susan Reverby, Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2009).
● Susan Reverby ed., Tuskegee’s Truth’s: Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2000).
● Harriet A. Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Penguin Random House, 2008).
Nia Johnson. Expanding Accountability: Using the Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim to Compensate Black American Families Who Remained Unheard in Medical Crisis. Hastings Law Journal. (Forthcoming, Summer 2021).
Brandt, Allan M. 1978. "Racism and research: The case of the Tuskegee Syphilis study." The Hastings Center Report 8(6): 21-29.
Tuskegee's Truths: Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study (edited by Susan M. Reverby)

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