3433.0 Thirty Years of Bad Blood: The Lingering Impact of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study on Community-Based Research

Monday, October 31, 2011: 4:30 PM
For forty years, the U.S. Public Health Service studied the effects of untreated syphilis on African-American men from Macon County, AL. Not only were the participants were recruited without informed consent, many were misled about the nature the procedures being done for research purposes. Furthermore, despite early evidence that the rates of complications and death among syphilis-infected participants were twice as high as for uninfected controls, and despite the fact that penicillin was already widely accepted as a cure for the disease, researchers continued to deny treatment to the men enrolled in the study. Following public outcry, the study was stopped in 1972. The resulting scandal also lead Congress to pass the National Research Act, which established the current IRB-based system for ethical review of federally-funded research. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study damaged the trust of the black community toward public health efforts in the United States, however, and this mistrust continues to this day. In this session, we will explore lingering impact of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study on public health research and examine ways in which researchers may strive to rebuild community trust.
Session Objectives: 1) Describe the history of the "Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male" (more commonly known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study); 2) Examine the impact of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study on community-based research, particularly in communities of color; and 3) Discuss ways in which that public health researchers can address the lingering impact of this scandal and rebuild trust in the community.
Kathleen Powderly, CNM, PhD

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Ethics SPIG
Endorsed by: Labor Caucus, Socialist Caucus, Women's Caucus

See more of: Ethics SPIG