It’s Not Just Tuskegee

The Tuskegee syphilis study—which deceived Black men into thinking they were being treated for “bad blood” when they really had untreated syphilis—is a ubiquitous part of the public narrative around minorities’ mistrust of the medical establishment.
This assumption is an easy scapegoat, allowing scholars and commentators to evade deeper reflection and ignore more modern reasons for such hesitation, says USC’s Karen Lincoln.
One study series found no association between Black peoples’ knowledge of Tuskegee and willingness to participate in trials.
And while Black communities may be more hesitant about clinical research, that doesn’t equate to refusal—and that’s an important distinction, notes Ralph Katz of NYU.
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