The Tuskegee Syphilis Study, like the traditional recounting of the event, failed to acknowledge the direct impact of untreated syphilis in women. Arguably, the most infamous biomedical research study ever performed by the United States government is the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which occurred between 1932 and 1972 in Macon County, Alabama. The stated purpose of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study was to determine the effects of untreated syphilis on Black men in Macon County, Alabama. Accordingly, historical and legal accounts have primarily told the stories of the male participants of the Study.
However, an overlooked yet important question looms: What about the women of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study? To date, there have not been consistent and adequate substantive challenges to the omission of the women affected by the study, whether in historical accounts or contemporary bioethical discourse. This Article fills the gap in this historical and contemporary omission by calling for a reproductive justice framework to not only critically examine the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, but also to offer curricular content on cultural competency to aid medical schools in their quest to attain accreditation.
Washington, Deleso Alford, Examining the "Stick" of Accreditation for Medical Schools through Reproductive Justice Lens: A Transformative Remedy for Teaching the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, 26 J. C. R. & Econ. Dev. 153 (2011)