This week marks five decades since an A.P. journalist broke the story about the Tuskegee Study, a government project that came to symbolize medical racism in America.
Between 1932 and 1972 doctors let syphilis go untreated in hundreds of black men in Alabama without their knowledge. Since then, researchers have pointed to Tuskegee as a central cause of mistrust between Black Americans and medical institutions.
Studies show this mistrust causes poor health outcomes, and even a decrease in life expectancy among Black men.
Harvard professor Evelynn Hammonds is an expert on the intersection of race and disease. She says the Tuskegee Study is only part of a much longer story about medical racism in the United States, a story that provides valuable lessons for addressing health inequities in the United States today.
- Evelynn Hammonds Professor of the History of Science and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University