UCLA Programs in Medical Classics
26th Year

Tuesday, 17 February 2009, 6:00 p.m.

UCLA Faculty Center

Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study:
What More Should We Know?

Susan M. Reverby, Ph.D.
Professor of Women’s Studies, Wellesley College

Introduction by Nina Harawa, M.P.H., Ph.D.
Adjunct Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Public Health;
and Assistant Professor, Charles Drew University of
Medicine and Science

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study (1932-72)-during which
hundreds of African American men with late stage syphilis
thought they were being treated, not watched for forty
years for their late stage syphilis-has become a symbol
of racism in American medicine and a metaphor for mistrust.
This lecture focuses on why the Study has become so
crucial and what we know, and do not know, now that the
medical records of the men have been opened.

The lecture is open, free of charge, and is followed by an
opportunity to converse over light refreshments.

An optional dinner with the speakers, at $23.00 per person
(please bring a check made payable to “UC Regents”),
will take place in the Faculty Center about 7:30 pm.
Please call History & Special Collections for the Sciences
at (310) 825-6940 or email [email protected] before
the end of the day on Thursday, February 12, to make
a dinner reservation; later reservations cannot be

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Background reading links:

U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee
(description, timeline, frequently asked questions)

“More fact than fiction: cultural memory and the Tuskegee
Syphilis Study” (Hastings Center Report, 2001) by
Susan M. Reverby: available as a PDF from her homepage at:

Final Report of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study Ad Hoc
Advisory Panel (1972)

UCLA Programs in Medical Classics is a series of free presentations
designed to enhance an appreciation of the links among famous
medical writings, clinical practice, basic research, and humanistic
scholarship. Several times a year these meetings bring together a
convivial group of individuals of scholarly tastes–both from the
community and from UCLA faculty, students, and staff–for a
lecture and an opportunity to discuss and examine texts and topics
that embody the history of advances in medicine, as well as the
relations of medicine to broader cultural settings.

Printable PDF version of this announcement is available at:

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Upcoming programs (UCLA Faculty Center, 6:00 p.m.)

14 April 2009 (Tuesday)
Emily K. Abel (UCLA)
“Tuberculosis and the Politics of Public Health in Los Angeles,
(lecture co-sponsor: School of Public Health)

21 May 2009 (Thursday)
Jeremy A. Greene (Harvard University)
“Keeping Modern in Medicine: Pharmaceutical Marketing
and Physician Education in the 20th Century”
(lecture co-sponsor: David Geffen School of Medicine
at UCLA)