The Search for the Legacy of the USPHS Syphilis Study at Tuskegee is a collection of essays that seeks to redefine the "legacy" of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study in light of recent findings from other scientific studies that challenge the long-standing, widely-held understanding of the study. These essays are written with thoughtful attention to fully integrate the essayists' perspectives on the impact of the study on the lives of Americans today and place the legacy of the study within the evolving picture of racial and ethnic relations in the United States. Each essayist looks through his or her own personal and professional prism to give an account of what constitutes that legacy today. Contributors include the two leading historians of the Tuskeegee Syphilis Study and two former Surgeons General of the United States as well as other prominent scholars from the fields of public health, bioethics, psychology, biostatistics, medicine, dentistry, journalism, medical sociology, medical anthropology, and health disparities research.
Ralph V. Katz —
Ralph V. Katz is professor and chair, Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion at the New York University College of Dentistry.
The Search for the legacy of the USPHS Syphilis Study at Tuskegee, ed. by Ralph V. Katz and Rueben C. Warren. Lexington Books, 2011. 166p index afp; ISBN 9780739147252; ISBN 9780739147276 e-book. Reviewed in 2012mar CHOICE.
This collection of essays looks at the historical and bioethical issues stemming from the USPHS Syphilis Study at Tuskegee, especially the legacy generated by the 40-year abuse of African American subjects in the study. In the excellent Examining Tuskegee (CH, May'10, 47-5055), Susan Reverby discussed how the long-held assumptions of the legacy have proven problematic. Here, contributors examine the evidence for two assumptions of the legacy: African Americans are less willing than whites to participate in biomedical research studies, and relative willingness to participate is associated with an awareness of the USPHS study at Tuskegee. The conclusion of the editors is that neither assumption is supported by the evidence of numerous studies of the past decade. That is just the beginning, however; the 14 essays that make up the body of the book deal, often in personal ways, with the variety of legacies that exist in the troubled landscape of racial relations, biomedicine, and the cultural realities of American life. The Tuskegee experience remains relevant and rightfully disturbing in so many ways, even if the assumptions of the original legacy have faded.
Summing Up: Recommended. Academic and professional readers, all levels. -- J. H. Barker, Converse College