New England Journal of Medicine
November 26, 2020 Vol. 383 No. 22
Trustworthiness before Trust — Covid-19 Vaccine Trials and the Black Community
Rueben C. Warren, D.D.S., Dr.P.H., M.Div., Lachlan Forrow, M.D., David Augustin Hodge, Sr., D.Min., Ph.D., and Robert D. Truog, M.D.
… What are the barriers to greater participation of Black people in Covid-19 trials? Although they are multiple, a critical factor is the deep and justified lack of trust that many Black Americans have for the health care system in general and clinical research in particular. This distrust is often traced to the legacy of the infamous syphilis study at Tuskegee, in which investigators withheld treatment from hundreds of Black men in order to study the natural history of the disease. But the distrust is far more deeply rooted, in centuries of well-documented examples of racist exploitation by American physicians and researchers.2