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

In the final episode of the miniseries CHOICE/LESS: The Backstory, one of the men who blew the whistle on the "Tuskegee Study" talks about that experience, the study's legacy, and what we can learn from this page of history.

An unidentified subject, onlookers, and Dr. Walter Edmondson taking a blood test (NARA, Atlanta, GA)

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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.