'Medical Apartheid' Author to Give Bioethics Lecture
Media Contact: Keith Hautala, 859-257-1754, x231
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 28, 2009) - Harriet Washington, author of a comprehensive history of medical experimentation on black Americans, will present a free public lecture at noon Tuesday at the University of Kentucky W.T. Young auditorium, sponsored by the UK HealthCare Program for Bioethics.
Washington's Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (Doubleday, 2007) provides "the first full history of black America's shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment," according to a statement from the publisher. Washington will give a reading and sign copies of her book at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at 6 p.m. Monday.
M. Sara Rosenthal, director of the bioethics program says it's important for medical researchers and health care providers today to know this history and confront it. "Washington's book helps us understand how we even got to the infamous Tuskegee study. There are layers of research and clinical abuses prior to Tuskegee that Washington unearths," Rosenthal said.
"Perhaps the best way to communicate my feelings about Washington's work is to invoke the words of President Obama, when he delivered his speech on race last year: 'Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point.' We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered."