Former U.S. Surgeon General to speak at syphilis apology commemoration


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (March 25, 2013) — Tuskegee University will commemorate the 16th anniversary of former President Bill Clinton’s apology for the U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study April 2-5. Known as the “Tuskegee Experiment,” from 1932-1972, black men in Macon County, Alabama who participated in the study were denied adequate treatment for syphilis and their health as well as that of their families who suffered for decades.

The commemoration marks the 1997 apology President Clinton made to the victims of the infamous experiment. Some of their relatives attend the commemoration at Tuskegee annually. This year, the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care will hold several anniversary events including a public health ethics intensive course, lectures and panel discussions on campus. Thursday, April 4, students from Macon County are invited to attend a forum on violence prevention in the Bioethics Center’s John A. Kenney Auditorium at 9 a.m. Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, 15th U.S. Surgeon General, will deliver the keynote address at the commemoration luncheon Friday, April 5.

Dr. Elders is now Professor Emeritus of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Arkansas School of Medical Science. She attended the University of Arkansas Medical School. After graduation in 1960, she was an intern at the University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis and did a pediatric residency and an endocrinology fellowship at the University of Arkansas Medical Center in Little Rock and attained full professorship after her fellowship and board certification in 1976. 

Elders joined the faculty at UAMS as a professor of pediatrics and received board certification as a pediatric endocrinologist in 1978. She was appointed director of the Arkansas Department of Health in October of 1987.Elders was nominated as Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service by President Clinton in 1993. Elders served in this post until January 1995 following which, she returned to the University of Arkansas Children's Hospital until her retirement on June 30, 1998. In 2011, the University of Minnesota Program in Human Sexuality established The Joycelyn Elders Chair in Sexual Health Education; it is the nation's first department chair in sexual health education.

For more information: Go to for registration and to view a detailed schedule. 

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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