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Am J Public Health. 2008 Jun;98(6):1137-42. Epub 2007 Sep 27.

Awareness of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and the US presidential apology and their influence on minority participation in biomedical research.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion, NYU College of Dentistry, 345 E 24th St, MC-9416, New York, NY 10010, USA. ralph.katz@nyu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We compared the influence of awareness of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and the presidential apology for that study on the willingness of Blacks, non-Hispanic Whites, and Hispanics to participate in biomedical research.

METHODS:

The Tuskegee Legacy Project Questionnaire was administered to 1133 adults in 4 US cities. This 60-item questionnaire addressed issues related to the recruitment of minorities into biomedical studies.

RESULTS:

Adjusted multivariate analysis showed that, compared with Whites, Blacks were nearly 4 times as likely to have heard of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, more than twice as likely to have correctly named Clinton as the president who made the apology, and 2 to 3 times more likely to have been willing to participate in biomedical studies despite having heard about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study (odds ratio [OR]=2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.4, 6.2) or the presidential apology (OR=2.3; 95% CI=1.4, 3.9).

CONCLUSIONS:

These marked differences likely reflect the cultural reality in the Black community, which has been accustomed to increased risks in many activities. For Whites, this type of information may have been more shocking and at odds with their expectations and, thus, led to a stronger negative impact.

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