May 2, 2011

Expert on unethical medical research to speak in East Baltimore

Medical historian Susan Reverby, a nationally recognized expert on the notorious Tuskegee syphilis study, will give a community talk on Monday, May 9, in the East Baltimore headquarters of the charity organization Humanim. The nonprofit is housed in the historic American Brewery building, at 1701 N. Gay St.

The special event is part of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute’s Race and Research Series, as well as Bioethics Week at the university. The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics is the event’s co-sponsor. A reception will follow.

Reverby, a professor at Wellesley College, will discuss her recently publicized research that revealed grossly unethical experiments led by U.S. public health officials in the 1940s in Guatemala, where men and women were given venereal diseases without their knowledge to study the effectiveness of penicillin. The revelation led to an apology from President Barack Obama to the president of Guatemala last October.

Reverby’s talk, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., will address the deep mistrust of medical researchers among certain communities spawned by historical controversies in human experimentation, and will attempt to put long-held suspicions in perspective.

Those planning to attend are asked to call 410-502-6155. For more information, go to