ANN ARBOR, MI - In honor of the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a screening will take place of the PBS/Nova documentary on January 17, 2011 from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m., of "Deadly Deception," which tells the story of the 625 African-American men from Macon, Alabama, who for four decades were unwitting participants in a government study of untreated syphilis. Wellesley College medical historian Susan Reverby will lead a discussion titled "Does the History of Ethical Violations Matter? What Can We Learn from Tuskegee and Guatemala?" following the screening, which is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the discussion.
Reverby is the author of "Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy," a 2009 book that won the 2010 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. She also was a member of the Legacy Committee on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study that successfully lobbied then-President Bill Clinton to offer a public apology to the surviving men.
In the course of researching the Tuskegee study, Reverby uncovered a second U.S. government study in Guatemala between 1946-1948 in which men and women were given syphilis and then treated with penicillin, not always successfully. Reverby's research, which will appear this month (January 2011) in the Journal of Policy History, prompted a joint apology this past fall from the Secretaries of the U.S. departments of State and Health and Human Services, and a review of human subjects protection by the President's Bioethics Commission.