194647 Detailed Knowledge of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study: Lack of knowledge reveals educational opportunity

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lin Li, DDS, MS , Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, NYU College of Dentistry, New York, NY
B. Lee Green, PhD , Office of institutional diversity, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
Min Qi Wang, PhD , Department of Public and Community Health, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD
Rima Gluzman, DDS , Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, NYU College of Dentistry, New York, NY
Ralph V. Katz, DMD, MPH, PhD , Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, NYU College of Dentistry, New York City, NY
Objectives: The purpose of this analysis was to compare the level of detailed knowledge about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study (TSS) between Blacks and Whites.

Methods: The Tuskegee Legacy Project (TLP) Questionnaire was administered, via a RDD telephone survey, in 3 U.S. cities. The TLP Questionnaire included 7 True-False items that comprised the TSS Facts & Myths Quiz with subjects categorized into four Detailed Knowledge categories based on correct answers: High (> 5), Medium (3-5), Low (1-2), and None. An ANCOVA analysis (adjusted for age, gender, education, income, and city of residence) comparing Blacks vs. Whites by category of detailed knowledge was then performed.

Results: A total of 848 adults responded, response rates ranged from 50-70% across cities. While adjusted mean scores for detailed knowledge showed Blacks to have higher detailed knowledge (after adjusting for age, gender, education, income, and city of residence), the scores for both Blacks and Whites were very low (1.16 vs. 0.86, p<.05). Further, no subject had more than 5 correct answers. Both Blacks and Whites were nearly three times as likely to be categorized as having No Detailed Knowledge as compared to having Medium Detailed Knowledge (50.6% vs.17.7%, respectively, p=0.08).

Conclusion: Despite the observed differences between Blacks and Whites on the detailed knowledge level, there clearly is a significant lack of detailed knowledge about the TSS in both Blacks and Whites. This latter finding suggests that an opportunity exists for educating the next generation to provide a more informed perspective about this historical, if infamous, study.

Learning Objectives:
The learning objectives will allow attendees to have the opportunity to learn about and discuss the following: To understand the method of how subjects were categorized to 4 detailed knowledge levels of TSS (Tuskegee Syphilis Study) according to the result of TSS Facts & Myths Quiz in the Tuskegee Legacy Project (TLP) Questionnaire. To be able to understand the list of variables were being adjusted in ANCOVA analysis from a socio economic perspective. To decipher the result of the analysis in the detailed knowledge levels of the TSS between Blacks and Whites. Point out the opportunity to educate the next generation regarding the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

Keywords: African American, History

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a second year NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow in NYU College of Dentistry Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion. I have been working on the research project regarding the Tuskegee Syphilis Study for past two years. I lead the analysis in this study and reported our study findings in a abstract and a manuscript.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.