Episode summary introduction:
When I first heard Tuskegee, I did not know anything about this topic. I even asked my husband if he had ever heard of Tuskegee, and of course he knew about the airmen
The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. Now, this may make some cringe, but that was the official title of the study we are going to talk about today. The name of the study has since been updated to, USPHS Syphilis Study at Tuskegee. Since that is a mouthful, we will simply use the Tuskegee Experiment. I can see why the name was changed, but I wanted to have the original name to express that this study was specifically for African American males.
Syphilis is a STI that worsens over time if untreated
While researching Tuskegee, down the rabbit hole I went looking at other unethical research that has been done. There are many soul crushing stories, one that stands out to me is in an article published by the NIH, there is reference to a “ prestigious US University” that recruited African American BOYS into a study regarding aggressive behavior.
It’s well documented that minorities are underrepresented in clinical studies. When specifically talking about African Americans, mistrust is the most prevalent barrier to research participation. This probably comes as no surprise after what we just talked about. There are countless years of life that have been lost and will continue to be lost due to the mistrust that minorities have with research. This becomes a double edged sword that the American government and research institutions have to work to fix. Without research on minorities, we do not have as much information for treatment options that may differ depending on ethnicity.
Harriet A Washington - Medical Apartheid - The dark history of medical experimentation on black Americans from colonial times to the present ( published 2006)