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The Willowbrook Study (Darr, 2011, pp. 114-116) is not the only research study that raised concerns about the ethical treatment of study participants. In fact, there were others many others including the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Please select only ONE of the three options below to discuss in your assignment.  Please be sure to complete your work to the minimum expectation of 2 full pages of text and a minimum of 3 reputable references, both in APA format.  

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Option #1  

Summarize the Tuskegee Syphilis Study (in one paragraph). Then, discuss why this experiment was unethical. Discuss the numerous ethical issues that were raised resulting from this study.Here are a few links that you may want to refer to:

Syphillis StudyTimeline

Option #2

If you would like to examine another study instead, feel free to do so. You must reference the article or website you used. Summarize the study in one paragraph. Then, discuss why this experiment was unethical.  Discuss the numerous ethical issues that were raised resulting from the study.Option #3Discuss one of the following studies with ethical concerns:

Milgram Study, 1961Stanford Prison Study, 1970Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital (cancer), 1963

Summarize the study in one paragraph. Then, discuss why this experiment was unethical.  Discuss the numerous ethical issues that were raised resulting from the study.


Assignment Instructions:

Please review the Weekly Assignment Grading Rubric prior to submission.

Make sure you read and understand the directions and requirements for each Assignment. Please ensure you cite your references in APA format with a minimum of 3 references (You may use your textbook as a reference and you should have a minimum of 2 academic outside references). 

Expert Solution Preview


The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was a research study conducted by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) between 1932 and 1972. The study aimed to observe the natural progression of syphilis in African American men, who were initially misinformed that they were receiving free healthcare and treatment. However, the study was highly unethical due to multiple reasons.

Summary of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study:

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study initially involved 600 African American men, where 399 of them had syphilis and 201 did not. The participants were led to believe that they were receiving treatment for “bad blood,” a term commonly used in the African American community to describe various health conditions. However, the participants were not given proper treatment for syphilis, even when penicillin became available as a standard treatment in the 1940s.

Instead, the participants were closely observed by the researchers, who wanted to study the natural progression of the disease. The participants were not informed about the true nature of the study and were denied access to treatment in order to study the long-term effects of untreated syphilis.

Ethical Issues and Concerns:

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study raised numerous ethical concerns. Firstly, the participants were not provided with informed consent, as they were not told about the true purpose of the study and were deceived into believing they were receiving proper treatment. This violated the basic principle of autonomy and respect for individuals.

Secondly, the participants were denied access to proper medical care, including the available treatment for syphilis. This not only violated the principle of beneficence, which requires promoting the well-being of individuals, but also the principle of non-maleficence, which prohibits causing harm to participants.

Furthermore, the researchers’ failure to notify participants about the availability of penicillin, even after its effectiveness against syphilis was widely recognized, clearly demonstrated a disregard for the ethical principle of justice. The participants were disproportionately affected due to their race, as the study was exclusively conducted on African American men.

Moreover, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study lacked scientific validity, as the research design was flawed and did not contribute significantly to medical knowledge. Therefore, the ethical breaches in this study were not justified by the potential benefits to society.


The Tuskegee Syphilis Study stands as one of the most infamous examples of unethical research in medical history. The deception and denial of proper treatment to vulnerable individuals violated fundamental ethical principles, including informed consent, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. It serves as a stark reminder of the importance of proper ethical guidelines and oversight in medical research to protect the rights and well-being of study participants.