Wellesley Prof Uncovers Tuskegee-Like Research in Guatemala

October 4, 2010

Susan M. Reverby, a medical historian at Wellesley College, has uncovered evidence -- confirmed by U.S. officials -- that American scientists infected hundreds of Guatemalans with sexually transmitted diseases in the 1940s, The Boston Globe reported. The scientists' records indicate that they believed they could test various treatments for the diseases, and they did treat those who were infected, although one died. But the experiments were similar to the infamous studies at Tuskegee in that the research subjects never granted permission to be used in this way (although the unknowing participants in the Tuskegee study, unlike those in Guatemala, had become infected with the disease by ordinary means). Based on the findings of Reverby, President Obama apologized to Guatemalan leaders. (See an interview in Inside Higher Ed last year with Reverby about a book about Tuskegee.)

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