5117.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 1:30 PM

Abstract #15362

Tuskegee: A red flag for bioethics

Stephen B. Thomas, PhD, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30322, 800-401-7580, thomas@sph.emory.edu and Sandra Crouse Quinn, PhD, Health Education and Health Behavior, University of North Carolina School of Public Health, Rosenau Hall, Campus Box 7400, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400.

The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate how and why the legacy of "Tuskegee" is a red flag for bioethics. For many black people, the Tuskegee legacy generates anger that hangs in the air like smoke. Black men were denied access to proven treatment for syphilis even after it was available by the early 1940s. Remarkably, some public health professionals still say the Tuskegee Study was a valid and well-intentioned effort to learn more about a disease that was rampant among black men in Macon County and that the men were not harmed and probably were helped by taking part in the study. This session will explore complexities of Tuskegee that have been overlooked in previous discussion of the topic. Over the years, the Tuskegee legacy has undergone transformation from science to conspiracy to metaphor. It is an American tragedy made of a volatile confluence of race and medicine. It is part of the collective memory of many African Americans, fueling suspicion and fear toward medical and public health research. It is still being deeply woven into the tapestry of American life. An indelible pattern is evolving as each of us responds to the contingencies and values exposed by Tuskegee. The specific aim of this session is to identify essential elements of the Tuskegee legacy that should be included as part of coursework in applied research ethics.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to: 1.List five indicators that link the unique features of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study to the existing cannon of research abuse. 2.Articulate the procedure for expanding the Belmont principles to include "protection of the community." 3.Develop a core module for inclusion of Tuskegee in the teaching of applied research ethics. Teaching Objectives: 1."During this session, faculty will discuss the Presidential Apology to Survivors of the Syphilis Study at Tuskegee. 2."During this session, faculty will provide training in the use of contemporary mass media portrayals of the Tuskegee Study as well as material from the historic archives of the Public Health Service

Keywords: Bioethics, Ethnic Minorities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA