Harriet: Columbia University and Morningside Campus Essay

Submitted By beautiful4eva
Words: 1431
Pages: 6


April 26-May 2,2007 2 9

Harriet Washington, author of ^^Medical Apartheid/' visits Dr. John Henrik Clarke House
By DAA'IYA L. SANUSI Special to the AmNews The Board for the Education of People of African Ancestry (BEPAA) presented medical writer Harriet A. Washington, author of "Medical Apartheid," at the Dr. John Henrik Clarke House recently, in Harlem. The plan was to have her just sign books, but the turnout was so significant that the plan changed effortlessly, to the delight of the crowd. Washington's book "Medical Apartheid" reveals, with solid research, the medical field's malevolent treatment and experimentation committed against African American people throughout the enslavement era into the 20th century. Washington, who is also a former editor at USA Today and other newspapers, and founding editor of the Harvard Journal of Minority Puhlic Health, has received awards for her excellence in journalism. As a medical ethicist, she has documented an overwhelming number of abuses. For example, MK-ULTRA, the CIA mind-control program that hegan in 1953, where scientists utilized technology in the form of a machine they developed, called a Biogen. It mass-produced pathogens, including huge vats of cultures that could cause fatal illnesses. These biological agents and microorga'nisms were used to test vulnerabilities in Blacks living in Carver Village, the largest, most impressive new minority-housing development in the nation, in 1951. This was an experiment to see if mosquitoes could be used as firststrike biological weapons to spread yellow fever and other infectious diseases. In Florida, including near Carver Village, 4 million mosquitoes were released per day, writes Washington. CEMOTAP's Betty Dopson introduced Washington, who discussed the impact that this experimentation has upon health, well-heing and disparate treatment African Americans experience. Washington gives the example, in Chapter 5 of her hook, of a man that disappeared and whose family searched for him to no avail: "How often do the bodies of the poor, the homeless, the fi-iendless, or those who simply look that way to medical personnel, end up on anatomy tables?" She answers, "Historical data reveal a longstanding preference for African American bodies in medical research and studies of anatomy, without consent." The hook "Medical Apartheid" is filled with descriptions of numerous examples of experiments on unsuspecting people including teenagers: "Black women are still more likely than white women to be pressured or misled into sterilization, which tripled hetween 1970 and 1980, in part hecause hysterectomies are offered as the only curative option for ailments that can be treated more conservatively, such as fibroids and endometriosis." "By 1978, doctors also began administering the drug Depo-Provera—but only in. research studies and almost exclusively to poor women of color. And in 1978 DepoProvera also known as DMPA, was FDA-approved for cancer therapy, but animals tested with the drug developed breast cancer at an alarming rate. Despite these findings the drug was administered as an experimental contraceptive to healthy Black patients and Native Americans. Also in 1978, the FDA criticized an Emory Univ. study of DepoProvera as having needlessly imperiled the lives of 4,700 women, all Black, and hy 1992 an FDA board warned, "Never has a drug whose target population is entirely healthy people heen shown to he so pervasively carcinogenic in research as has Depo-Provera," writes Washington in her stunning hook. Solomon Goodrich, Chairman of the Board for the Education of People of African Ancestry, stated, "The stories of torture, cruelty, and inhumane treatment of Black patients is a sordid period of America's medical history that must he exposed." Yet another example is hrought to light, Norplant, another physician-controlled long-term contraceptive. "From the first, Norplant was selectively marketed not only to poor…