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CHOICE/LESS: The Backstory, Episode 4: Tuskegee Was the ‘Tip of the Iceberg’

Jenn Stanley

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When people hear about racism in medical testing and research, they often bring up the infamous “Tuskegee Study,” a decades-long program in which the government pretended to treat 400 Black men with syphilis. In fact, the government withheld adequate treatment to observe the effects of the disease.

“There was a whole history of racism in medicine and research, but this was the definitive study that was well-documented,” said Bill Jenkins, a statistician with the the agency funding the program at the time of the study, who helped to blow the whistle on it.

In the final episode of CHOICE/LESS: The Backstory, Bill Jenkins talks about the study, its legacy, and what we can learn from it.

Transcript (PDF)

Image from the National Archives in the public domain.