Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment


Please find enclosed Alabama Public Radio’s entry for best radio documentary, titled “Help Wanted: Alabama’s Rural Health Care Crisis.” The three member Alabama Public Radio news team spent the year, with no budget, investigating why the system here is so badly broken and why solutions aren’t being pursued.

On September 27, 2017, the Washington Post published an article about how only one half of rural hospitals in the U.S. can deliver a baby.

In rural Alabama, it’s barely a third.

Stan Ingold / Alabama Public Radio

All year long at Alabama Public Radio, we’ve been looking at rural health. Many of the challenges residents of these communities face are a lack of doctors and hospitals, and the money to pay for care. For many African-Americans in Alabama, a lack of trust of outsiders and the government. This issue can be traced back to a study conducted by the U.S. government on black men living around Tuskegee. This year marks a twenty year milestone in a federal study of syphilis which still resonates across the country.

Tomorrow marks 20 years since President Bill Clinton formally apologized on behalf of the U.S. government for the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.

The purpose of this study was to observe the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men in Alabama. The study began in 1932 and lasted until 1972, after a whistleblower exposed information about the research to the press and prompted the government to shut down the program.