Essay on The Tuskegee Study

Essay on The Tuskegee Study

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President Clinton in 1997 apologized for the harm caused by what might be called as America’s most notorious medical experiments, ‘The Tuskegee Study’ saying “The legacy of the study at Tuskegee has reached far and deep, in ways that hurt our progress and divides our nation. We cannot be one America when a whole segment of our nation has no trust in America. An apology is the first step, and we take it with a commitment to rebuild that broken trust. We can begin by making sure there is never again another episode like this one. We need to do more to ensure that medical research practices are sound and ethical, and that researchers work more closely with communities.” (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013) This study could well be described as one of the most horrible medical scandals in the 20th century; a so-called “scientific” experiment which was an evidence of a race-based unethical medical practice. (Brandt, A.M., 1978)
The Tuskegee Study was carried in and around Tuskegee in Macon County, Alabama, from 1932 to 1972. The United States Public Health Service (USPHS) initiated the study to gather more information about the effects of untreated syphilis in African American males. The subjects comprised of 399 African American males who were presumably in the late stage of syphilis which was not contagious. These subjects only received some initial treatment after which they were kept on aspirin and iron tonic under the assurance of being treated. The study also consisted of 200 controls who were subjects without the disease. They, too, were cared for and administered similar medications. (Reverby, S.M., 2009)
The study began at a time when there was no known med...

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Jefferson, T. (1955). Notes on the State of Virginia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Martin Luther King, Jr.. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2013, from Web site:
Reverby, S.M. (2009) Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and its Legacy. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
Schwab, A.P. (2008) Tuskegee Syphilis Study. International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences 2nd Edition; 472-473.
Williams, D. R., Lavizzo-Mourey, R., & Warren, R. C. (1994). The concept of race and health status in America. Public health reports;109(1); 26.
Yudell, M. (2011) A short history of the race concept. Race and the Genetic Revolution: Science, Myth, and Culture. Retrieved from

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