Tuskegee University’s National Bioethics Centers plan a special day of healing to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Presidential National Apology for Syphilis Study.
On April 3rd, 2017, six hundred and twenty-three black men from Macon County, Alabama, who were treated as human guinea pigs in the United States Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee from 1932-1972, will be honored for their sacrifices.
The theme for The Community Day of Healing and Memorial Service is “Voices Moving Forward with a Purpose and Action.” This will be the first time the community of Macon County will come together since the national apology was given on May 16, 1997.
Dr. David Satcher, the U.S. Surgeon General, who asked for the apology, will be the keynote speaker at the National Apology Commemoration at Tuskegee University.
The community program, memorial service, and candle light ceremony will provide reflection, inspiration, and healing offered by descendants of the syphilis study.
The Voices for Our Fathers Legacy Foundation is a non-profit founded by the descendants of the USPHS Syphilis Study.
“This is the first descendants’ sponsored program to honor the lives of our fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers and uncles who sacrificed their lives,” said Lillie Head, co-chair of the foundation. “Each year we honor the men who were in the so- called study and their families during the month of April.
“The occasion will also serve as a reminder this type of unethical study will never be allowed to happen again. These men without their consent, unknowingly sacrificed their health, some of them lost their lives, while others impacted their families by passing on the disease to them,” she said.
“It is the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care’s distinct privilege and honor to collaborate with the descendants family members of the men who were in the study,” said Rueben C. Warren, professor and director of the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University.
The annual Public Health Ethics Intensive Course, which, is a component of the annual commemoration begins on April 4 and ends April 7th.
The course which is designed for the family descendants, students, local community residents, undergraduate and graduate students, health professionals, academicians, faith leaders, ethicists, researchers, and community advocates, will discuss ethical issues that challenge local, state, regional, national and global communities.
Registration is open to the public on the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University website.