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.
Image from the National Archives in the public domain.