The Legacy of Tuskegee: Investigating Trust in Medical Research and Health Disparities
Spencer, Dennis J.
Spencer, Dennis J. (2010) The Legacy of Tuskegee: Investigating Trust in Medical Research and Health Disparities. Journal of the Student National Medical Association.
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What was done cannot be undone, but we can end the silence … We cannot be one America when a whole segment of our nation has no trust in America. We can stop turning our heads away. We can look at you in the eye, and finally say, on behalf of the American people, what the United States government did was shameful and I am sorry. (Clinton, 1997) This apology offered in 1997 by then President Bill Clinton uncovered painful sores that many would like to believe had healed long ago. It is only recently that a growing number of social scientists have appreciated that persisting disparities reflect more than simple socioeconomic and educational parity. By examining the long-term psychological effects of Tuskegee, it becomes apparent that some African-Americans have lost all trust in their former abusers—the medical establishment—unintentionally perpetuating health disparities in their communities.