The U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee

Doctor and man. Tuskegee gentlemen.

The U.S Public Health Service (USPHS) Syphilis Study at Tuskegeeexternal icon was a clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972. The study was intended to observe the natural history of untreated syphilis. As part of the study, researchers did not collect informed consent from participants and they did not offer treatment, even after it was widely available. The study endedexternal icon in 1972 on the recommendation of an Ad Hoc Advisory Panel, convened by the Assistant Secretary for Health and Scientific Affairs, following publication of news articles about the study. In 1997, President Clinton issued a formal Presidential Apologyexternal icon, in which he announced an investment to establish what would become The National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee Universityexternal icon. Many records can be found in the National Archivesexternal icon.

After the study, sweeping changes to standard research practices were made. Efforts to promote the highest ethical standards in research are ongoing today.