case western reserve university



Researcher speaks out about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study has come to symbolize unethical medical research. Susan M. Reverby, the editor of Tuskegee's Truths: Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, will give the inaugural talk in Case Western Reserve University's 2006 College Scholars Spring Lecture Series: "Medicine, Science, Myth and Morals." Reverby's free, public talk begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday, February 7, in 309 Clark Hall, 11130 Bellflower Road on the Case campus.

From 1932-72, some 600 African Americans thought they were participating in a United States Public Health Service-sponsored treatment program for what they thought was "bad blood." Instead, 399 of the men with latent syphilis and 20l controls without the disease were participants in one of the longest running, non-therapeutic research studies in American history that involved following, but not treating, their disease.

Reverby—professor of women's studies at Wellesley College and an historian of American women, medicine and nursing—served as a member of the Legacy Committee on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study that successfully sought a public apology for the study's participants and their families from President Bill Clinton.

In her talk, Reverby will discuss beliefs about the study based on her forthcoming new book on the stories told about the Study.

Reverby leads off a series of three lectures this semester that focus on myths and ethics in medicine and science. Other speakers will be Peter Singer from Princeton University, who will give the talk "Our Changing Ethics of Life and Death" at 4 p.m., March 21, and Wendy Doniger from the University of Chicago, who will present "Mythology and Medical Ethics: The Cases of Cloning and Transplants" at 4 p.m. April 11. Both talks, also free and open to the public, take place in Ford Auditorium in Allen Memorial Library, 11000 Euclid Avenue.

The lecture series is supported by Case's College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the President and Provost.

For information, call 216-368-8961 or visit


About Case Western Reserve University

Case is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work.