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50th Anniversary of the Termination of the Infamous Tuskegee Experiment


The History Department’s “History of Epidemics” course, together with SJC’s offices of Sponsorship and of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, would like to draw your attention to an important online event happening today.

On Wednesday, November 30, from 1 to 3:30 pm, the Centers for Disease Control will be hosting an online remembrance to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the termination of the infamous and unethical Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment which will be streamed live at https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/tuskegee-remembrance/.

According to the CDC’s announcement,

“The intention is to create a space for authentic, accurate storytelling and discussion regarding current and future opportunities for public health leaders at CDC and beyond to move from trust to trustworthiness. The program will examine what happened, how and why it happened, lessons learned, the palpable effects still felt today, and CDC’s on-going role in addressing health equity. Participants will include experts in the fields of public health, ethics, history, and journalism.”

Following the public exposure of this horrific study in 1972, life expectancy for middle-aged Black men in the United States fell sharply because of the understandable widespread distrust of the American medical profession. To this day, that justified suspicion still contributes to widespread health & well-being gaps in the African-American community, including during the recent COVID pandemic.

(For additional information on the infamous study called the “United States Public Health Service Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male at Tuskegee and Macon County, Alabama, 1932 -1972,” see the excellent informative website “Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study” at this link.)

Mouhamadou B. Diagne, MDiv
Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion