An Examination of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study Research Paper by scribbler

An Examination of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
An examination of the ethical lapses in the Tuskegee syphilis study and its impact on future study designs.
# 153120 | 2,062 words | 10 sources | APA | 2013 | US
Published on May 03, 2013 in Medical and Health (Medical Studies) , Ethics (General)

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This paper explores the Tuskegee syphilis study, including its historical background as well as its ethics and impact on future study designs. The paper describes how the researchers conducting the study failed to provide the subjects with the opportunity to withdraw from the study, did not provide efficacious treatments for their condition even when they became available, and the men were coerced into participating through deceitful tactics that would not withstand minimal scrutiny by 21st century standards. The paper discusses the development of institutional review boards and the impact of the Tuskegee syphilis study on their evolution. Finally, the paper discusses similarities between the Tuskegee syphilis study and recent HIV studies and evaluates how the field of ethicism developed in response to this study.

Review and Discussion

From the Paper:

"Although extensive medical experimentation with African-Americans took place in the United States throughout the 19th century (Byrd & Clayton, 2000), the history of the Tuskegee syphilis study dates to 1928 when the Julius Rosenwald Fund's director of medical service, a philanthropic organization based in Chicago, contacted officials with the US Public Health Service to identify initiatives that could be used to improve the health of African- Americans in the South (Cox & Wallace, 2002). This contact occurred at a time when the Public Health Service had recently finished an analysis of the prevalence rates for syphilis among 2,000-plus African-American employees of a lumber company in Mississippi (Cox & Wallace, 2002). Of the more than 2,000 employees, in excess of 500 of them were found to have syphilis and the Rosenwald Fund in collaboration with the Public Health service provided treatment for these African-American workers (Cox & Wallace, 2002). This collaborative effort led to an expansion of the program to include five southern counties, with Macon County, Alabama being among the targeted regions (Cox & Wallace, 2002). The prevalence of syphilis among African-Americans in Macon County was found to be between 35 and 40 percent (Jones, 1981). Prior to implementation phase of the expanded treatment program, though, the Great Depression dried up the funding sources from the Rosenwald Fund and the Public Health Service was unable to continue the initiative (Jones, 1981)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Byrd, W. M. & Clayton, L. A. (2000). An American health dilemma: A medical history of African Americans and the problem of race, beginnings to 1900. New York: Routledge.
  • Cox, R. J. & Wallace, D. A. (2002). Archives and the public good: Accountability and records in modern society. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.
  • Jones, J. (1981). Bad blood: The Tuskegee syphilis experiment. New York: Free Press.
  • O'Neill, O. (2002). Autonomy and trust in bioethics. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
  • Plowden, K., Miller, L. J. & James, T. (2000). HIV health crisis and African Americans: a cultural perspective. ABNF Journal, 11(4), 88-89.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

An Examination of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study (2013, May 03) Retrieved September 22, 2023, from

MLA Format

"An Examination of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study" 03 May 2013. Web. 22 September. 2023. <>