In the U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee (1932-1972), more than 600 Black men were told they were being treated for “bad blood” but were not actually given any medical care. Penicillin was widely available as an effective remedy for syphilis, but the men were denied treatment, as part of the study parameters and protocols.
When the details of the study came to light in the early 1970s it sparked a wave of reforms in medicine and public health. In 1974, the National Research Act was signed into law with other sweeping regulations. Since then, laws require all medical studies or clinical trials to ensure transparency and get voluntary informed consent from all participants.
In 1997, President Clinton issued a formal apology to Tuskegee survivors and family members on behalf of the U.S. government. The government also helped establish The National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University (an HBCU in Tuskegee, Alabama).
As part of the ongoing COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative and “It’s Up To You” campaign a new short-form documentary was released and you are urged to view it: It presents the facts on what happened, what has changed and what current generations can learn from the experience to build confidence in public health within Black communities in America, especially as it relates to the COVID-19 vaccines.
The film, elevates a very personal and often unheard perspective on the legacy of the study, providing a rare opportunity to hear directly from the families involved in and impacted by the study. PRESS HERE: new short-form documentary.