TUSKEGEE SYPHILIS STUDY: An Unethical Experiment Using African-American Men

Tuskegee Syphilis Study:  An Unethical Experiment Using African-American Men

For 40 years, public health professionals violated their solemn medical oath (“To do no harm”). They conducted an experiment  known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in Macon County, Alabama, on the campus of Tuskegee Institute, that was eventually found to be “ethically unjustified”.   Eventually!

The experiment started in 1932 when the Public Health Service, in conjunction with Tuskegee Institute, conducted an experiment to study the natural progression of syphilis titled the ‘Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male’.

As you are likely to already know, syphilis  is a sexually-transmitted disease and is particularly nasty. No-one would volunteer to suffer this disease for science.

The Deceit:

None of the Black males in the study, or their families, were informed of the true nature or purpose of the study. Researchers lied and told them they were being treated for “bad blood”. There was no treatment! In exchange for their participation, the participants received “free medical exams, free meals and burial insurance.” How conveniently generous?

The study enrolled 600 men, 399 had syphilis and the 201 who did not were the ‘control subjects’. Most were illiterate and poor sharecroppers. In 1932, there was no cure or effective treatment for syphilis, but in 1947 the antibiotic penicillin became standard treatment. This actual cure for syphilis was withheld from both groups in the study. Withheld! Published reports clearly showed the men with syphilis were dying at a rate faster than those uninfected, an indication to stop the study and administer treatment.   Still the experiment continued and treatment not given for another 25 years.

As per Wikipedia on the History of Syphilis:

In the 1960s, Peter Buxtun sent a letter to the CDC, who controlled the study, expressing concern about the ethics of letting hundreds of black men die of a disease that could be cured. The CDC asserted that it needed to continue the study until all of the men had died. In 1972, Buxton went to the mainstream press…

Associated Press broke the story of the experiment that let not only Black men die of a then curable disease, but watched as they infected their wives, offsprings and untold number of others with syphilis. Think about that, the US Public Health Service, the CDC stood by and knowingly watched Black men, women and children infect each other and die from a disease that was not only totally curable but preventable. They watched the spread of syphilis within the community to other men and women, who then gave birth to children with congenital syphilis.

Just muse on that thought.

A subsequent investigation concluded the study was “ethically unjustified”. While the men participated freely, they were MISinformed and never given appropriate treatment for syphilis. As part of a class-action settlement, free medical and burial services were given to survivors of the study, their wives, widows and children. The Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention continues to administer the program through the The Tuskegee Health Benefit Program. Monetary settlement included $37,500 to living participants with syphilis, while heirs of the control group got $5,000.

This study demonstrated once again the exploitation and the appalling abuse of human rights of Blacks by the US government. Were any criminal charges brought against anyone involved in conducting the experiment? Did anyone lose his medical license? Or were any health professionals sued? A sum of $37,500, medical care and an apology on May 16, 1997 by Bill Clinton seem like an incentive to continue such exploitation.

What’s the worse that can happen? A slap on the wrist.

Bill Clinton Apologizes for Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

About the USPHS Syphilis Study

Peter Buxton

Public Accountability and the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments: A Restorative Justice Approach

Stigma remains for Tuskegee Syphilis Study descendants

The Tuskegee Timeline


Source of Post:  TUSKEGEE SYPHILIS STUDY: An “Ethically Unjustified” Experiment Using African-American Men


Should Police Officers Be First Responders For 911 Medical Calls

Mental Illness vs Terrorism

These days medical problems are  morphing into “national security” risks.

Muslims with mental illness, who commit violent acts, are diagnosed as ‘terrorists’ and their mental illness ignored. Black people with mental illness, who are a threat to themselves, maybe suicide, are now being killed by first responder cops who feel threatened by their color and illness.

So as more medical problems are misdiagnosed as national security risks, negative health outcomes increase.

What do we physicians do to honor the oath of doing no harm? By permitting first responders to harm mentally ill patients, we abandon our oath and add to poor outcomes and the mounting expense of healthcare.

Aren’t we the gatekeepers of healthcare? Shouldn’t we intervene when harm is done by those who are supposed to transport and help keep our patients healthy?

{I believe} There are no official statistics on the number of deaths or injuries caused by first responders.

Given the current environment, where cops ‘shoot to kill’ suicidal patients and those with flare ups of their mental illness, isn’t it time we track such?

If the medical community remains silent and blind to these egregious deviations in the standard of care, we will herald in a new era of medicine where harm is normal. A situation where medical error is the number one leading cause of death instead of a close third.

Lack of responsible oversight or statistics on LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) encounters with patients experiencing flare ups, or severe mental illness, has put patients at risk for death and worsening of their mental and physical ailments.

Simple interventions can go a long way. Straightforward respectful communication, on the part of first responders, can go a long way to averting bad outcomes.

Unfortunately, in most cases with bad outcomes, communication is poor. Attempts to get family members or friends involved, to de-escalate the situation, are now rarely sought.

Why? Is it better to just kill these patients who are in need of help?

Cops are first responders in the healthcare delivery system and as such should attempt to do no harm at all cost.  They chose to be police officers and are paid well for the service they are hired to perform.

Has the principle of mental illness care changed such that death by first responders is a more cost effective mode? Has imprisonment become a more secure environment for patients with mental illness? Where have all the State mental hospitals gone?

These are all problematic questions. We have a rise in mental and physical illnesses with poorer medical outcomes. And are we planning to exclude these patients from government statistics to make our health outcomes sound better than they actually are?

Misdiagnosing those with severe mental illness as terrorists, or threats to police security, leads to an escalation in problems. More power and money spent on law enforcement and less on effective treatment that could improve health outcomes.

Over 55 cents of each dollar goes to the DoD instead of money spent to better understand and treat people with mental illness humanely. We could target effective approaches to treat and de-escalate flare-ups so common in patients with severe mental illness.

Much debate has gone into First and Second Amendment rights. Let’s now face in earnest the reality around us.  A reality for which we have no metric or indicator to guide us when police officers administer inappropriate first responder care. A reality that unnecessarily mislabels patients and does harm when patients are treated as criminals.

I leave the reader with this last question: Should Police Officers be first responders for 911  medical calls?

Leave me your answer in the comments…



High Society Impunity

Op-Ed Updates: Where We Stand

Bassem Masri: “Racism is the conduit to white power”

With one in 100 Americans imprisoned, mass incarceration is a high mortality and morbidity contagious disease, that has gone unnoticed by public health and other medical officials.  Structural systems are deeply entrenched to guarantee this disease afflicts all Americans.  For most white Americans the disease of mass incarceration is asymptomatic, unaware they too have contracted the disease with risks for complications whether incarcerated or not.

The mainstream media continue to misrepresent the facts and give credence to misinformation.  After all, this is organized crime, where government agencies, the mainstream media and big corporations engage in criminal activities and cover each other’s back.  This is the current state of affairs, as we enter the latest US presidential election.

A presidential election without choice where one candidate, Donald Trump, refers to Whites as “us”; and Blacks, migrants and Muslims as “them”.  He believes “them” should be contained, in the interest of white supremacy, to make America white again. NEWSFLASH: America was never only  white.

The other choice for president, Hillary Clinton, is known for her corruption plus the dead bodies surrounding her law firm (allegedly!), her State Department appointment, and now her run for president. Hey, but with Wall Street and mainstream media covering her back, she has immunity and at no risk in becoming one of the incarcerated.  She is free to engage in criminal conduct in the interest of national security.

Both mainstream parties have ordinary citizens divided and fighting each other over who is less evil to become President of the US.  While both parties do their best to conceal their true intentions. Racism is their favorite tool and weapon, a conduit to invoke white power meant to divide & conquer we, the people.

The Problem Is NOT Mosquitos But Viruses

Part 2 of 3:

The Problem Is NOT Mosquitos But Viruses

I think the most confusing part of Zika is separating the virus from the mosquito. By declaring war on the mosquitoes we are literally shooting the messenger. The carrier.

It is questionable whether eradication of the Aedes mosquitoes will rid humanity of viral infections. It hasn’t so far, as areas where GMM (genetically-modified) mosquitoes were released are the very areas where the outbreak of microcephaly (tiny heads) occurred.

Could the two be related?

The FDA and WHO issued blanket statements regarding their safety. However, noted experts dispute their safety, as much is still unknown about transgenes (from species to species). These are difficult to control or predict.

The real culprit (Zika Virus) we know little about. More information is needed about why Zika is now thought linked to microcephaly and Guillian Barre syndrome?

In many cases, mosquitoes acquire infections from humans and transmit back to humans (in the course of their mosquito life cycle). Human blood has proteins that nourish female mosquito eggs. Only females bite humans, while males feed on plant nectar, resulting in pollination.

Zika, Dengue Fever and Yellow Fever viral infections use mosquitoes to find suitable hosts to replicate. To ensure survival, these viruses mutate in response to changes in the environment.

Viruses consist of vital RNA or DNA (acidic molecules) that are enclosed in protein. They are only able to replicate within living cells and are not living organisms. They are complex molecules. Most viruses require particular species to replicate.

We know the Zika Virus replicates in humans. Does it replicate in other living organisms?

A virus can enter thru the skin, airways, GI (digestion), and via bites. Viruses release their genetic code — DNA or RNA — into a cell. This genetic material is susceptible to genetic modification or mutations.

Viruses, not mosquitoes, are deadly. Our only weapon to prevent viral illnesses are vaccines.

Once the association of Zika Virus to microcephaly is established, it will be the first known mosquito-borne virus to target a human offsprings’ neurodevelopment. Microcephalic offsprings do not reproduce and have diminished life expectancy.

Isn’t the virus doing to humans what gene modification was meant to do with the mosquito population?

Part  1 of 3:  Could mutated Zika cause Microcephaly

Part 3 of 3:  Approaches To Reduce Future Viral Infections


Update: Officially Withdrawn from Harvard School of Public Health

Dear Angela,

I am writing to inform you that you have been withdrawn from degree candidacy at the Harvard School of Public Health, per your email below.

I also wish to let you know that I am unable to change your grading option for the course mentioned below, because it is beyond the deadline to do.

All the best,



My thoughts:  Did I waste one year of my life? IDK

Time will tell; however, I look forward to a fresh start and a new beginning.  -Angela

Angela Grant

Unending List of The Black Experience -Updated 04/08/2013

The belief that every white person is against you. This makes many black people defiant, angry and suspicious with the little chance of developing any trusting partnerships. Here is an example the Black Experience resulting in the Failure to Listen, continuing the cycle of poverty and dependency.

Eyes filled with pain
Eyes filled with pain

Unending List of The Black Experience -Updated 04/08/2013

As I encounter and remember, I will list.   Please keep in mind I am speaking in terms of generalities.

It is those little things accumulated over time that makes one bitter, angry, and isolated, emotionally and physically.


  1. Black and Power are antonyms.

  2. White and Power are synonyms and equal to White Privilege.

  3. I was conscious and hesitant to acknowledge or strike up a conversation with another black person in the presence of white people. When I was an intern at the Boston City Hospital, a resident asked me in front of my colleagues (other interns) if I knew where her money was. I was the only black person in the room. In her mind, black people were thieves—naturally, I must be a thief. Sadly, four years at Cornell University and another four at Yale Medical School did not make me any different than a common criminal because I am black and proud! Black boys and men live in fear of being falsely accused and imprisoned.

  4. One of my most poignant experiences occurred at Cornell. I was in a non-science, small class that allowed us to sit around a table. I can’t remember what the topic of the day was, but I will always remember what that white boy sitting across from me said. He confidently proclaimed that black people were stupid and lazy.

    Then there was absolute silence.

    All eyes were on me!


    (what to say…everyone was looking at me)…

    I was the only black person in the class, so I was expected to respond and defend my race; unfortunately, I was speechless. In retrospect, no one said anything. I think people were disappointed in me. Their silence made them accomplices to this white boy’s racist statement – it signalled their agreement.

    After moments of uncomfortable silence, the discussion continued. I don’t recall the professor correcting that boy or anyone being offended except me. People were simply embarrassed because I was in the room, and mad because I didn’t give them a show.

    Unbeknownst to everyone, I left that classroom with stone cold eyes and a rigid body.  I don’t know how I controlled my tears or how I returned to the sanctity of my room, but I do remember the tears and feeling like crap. I was angry, not at that idiot white boy, but at myself for not defending myself and my race. At that time, I was not well-versed in the ways of the dominant culture. In retrospect, it was good I did not respond.

  5. Black leaders are pounded for speaking their truth; white leaders are praised for reinforcing and embellishing  stereotypes. Remember Mitt Romney’s comments about 40% of Americans on entitlements. In reporting crimes believed to be committed by black people, the media will display a large scary image of the “guilty” person. (Please note the law states you are innocent until proven guilty—not so with the media.)   A black person in the background of an image implies guilt and violence; they are also very diligent in their mention of race. On the other hand, in reporting heinous crimes committed by white people, the media does not usually display large scary images in the background, nor is the person’s race mentioned—unless it’s a manhunt.

  6. At Boston City Hospital, I remember one attendant doctor who disliked me intensely. No matter what I said, it was wrong. Some of my colleagues even commented on it when they thought he was contradicting himself in trying to make me wrong. One evening, after a very hard day, he decided to treat everyone to a meal—except me. Do you know how it feels to see everyone being asked what they like, except you?  Also, to see everyone eating happily while I starved was humiliating and made me feel worthless!

  7. Even at the School of Public Health, the experts make associations that reinforce stereotypes.  In one class about the channels of communication and knowing your target audience, the discussion centered on black people being at risk for HIV.  Many in the class took the above for granted.   Only a few realized the stereotype  being reinforced.The professor prevented me from expressing my point of view.    To me, the assumption that all black people are at increased risk for HIV was offensive and  false!     However, that communication  class let it stand because the CDC found those ads effective for black audiences.In  the video ads, black women were  portrayed as promiscuous, reinforcing a stereotype now embellished with myths.

    There are studies, professors, and classmates who believe black children have sex because they have nothing to do after school.

    The other malarkey is that black women lust to be gang-raped, and so they are.

    These myths are offensive, but when they are part of a public health curriculum,  stereotypes become evidence-based.   Without meaningful data, the evidence the associations dangerous and sloppy.

  8. Are these  future public health official  going to help the disenfranchised? I have serious doubts.

    For your information:

    HIV is transmitted sexually and by blood. HIV is not transmitted racially. To associate HIV with the black race, or any other race, is to mislead and ignore the  behaviors that put all races at risk. HIV is a perfect example of a disease where lifestyle changes and medicine have removed the death sentence from the diagnosis.

  9. The belief that every white person is against you.   This makes many black people defiant, angry, and  suspicious with little chance of developing  any trusting partnerships.   Here is an example of the Black Experience resulting in the Failure to Listen, continuing the cycle of poverty and dependency.

Related Posts:

The Forgotten Black Experience not Trending…What is it?

Social Ecology Model: A Model of a Pro-Active Approach

Social-Ecological_Model nice pict

Social Ecology Model: A Model of a Pro-Active Approach

Your lifestyle affects your health more than the combined effects of your genetic makeup and relationship with your doctor. There are enough studies that confirm the above; this should now be considered a fact!

The Social Ecological Model (SEM) illustrates this fact. The image illustrates the interactions between people and their social/physical environments. There are five levels of influences:

  1. Individual—genetic makeup and culture.

  2. Interpersonal—interactions with family and friends, digital friends and social networks.

  3. Community—the culture of the neighborhood.

  4. Organization—schools, faith-based organizations, and professional organizations.

  5. Policies & Laws—dictating societal norms and cultures.

There should be a sixth level for the Media; the media is crucial in disseminating information—Policies and Laws—that affect organizations, communities, interpersonal interactions and intrapersonal beliefs and values that affect attitudes and behavior. The media has the greatest power to affect change. The internet has made the world global.

   6.   Media (not shown) includes internet; source of information outside our circle; the Internet connects us all.

Other features of this model:

The interplay between the person and the surrounding world. Did you know that the brain structurally changes in response to the environment? This is neuroplasticity. Our brain exhibits neuroplasticity, more so in the first five years. It responds to the environment and the environment responds to it. That means we can change.

The Social Ecological Models (SEM) is a good visual aid to determine the various intervention points. Since lifestyle plays a pivotal role in health, shouldn’t we observe and listen to our environment? What is it telling you?

It is telling me our failure to listen is linked to the increasing levels of stress and cases of mental illness in the last decade. Our failure to listen is ignoring the cumulative effects of environmental toxins. Is our failure to listen creating these bizarre weathers and natural disasters?