• Brown v. Board of Education Read More
  • Ethically Impossible: STD Research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948 Read More
  • Manzanar National Historic Site Read More
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Ethically Impossible: STD Research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948

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Report on STD Research in Guatemala, 1946-48

This report examines a study funded by the U.S. Public Health Service in Guatemala in 1946–48 on sexually transmitted diseases using experiments that were “clearly unethical.” President Barrack Obama charged the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues in November 2010 to research and report on the Guatemalan experiments after he learned of the experiments that deliberately infected the subjects with syphilis, gonorrhea, and chancroid. The subjects included soldiers, patients from a state-run psychiatric hospital, and commercial sex workers. Serology experiments, not involving exposure, continued in 1953, even using children.

The President also asked the Commission to review current practices in human subject research to safeguard “the health and well-being of participants in scientific studies supported by the federal government.”

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Manzanar National Historic Site

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The management of historic sites often raises questions and opposing views from several constituencies. Ann Hitchcock of the National Park Service provided a striking example in the summer 2007 issue of The Federalist of the essential negotiations—the “Civic Engagement” process—that enabled the preservation of the Manzanar War Relocation Center in Owens Valley, California

She wrote that in 1992 “Congress established Manzanar National Historic Site to provide for the protection and interpretation of resources associated with the Japanese American relocation experience. The legislation also established an Advisory Commission composed of former internees, local residents, representatives of Native American groups, and the general public. Although the mission focused on the relocation camp, the composition of the Advisory Commission would give voice to diverse views.”

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