DMU welcomes famed author in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 6, 2009 —

(Des Moines, IA) – The public is invited to a free presentation by James H. Jones, Ph.D., author of Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, A Tragedy of Race and Medicine.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Dr. Jones will speak at 3 p.m. on January 15. The public is invited to join Des Moines University (DMU) staff and faculty for his presentation, “The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and its impact on African-Americans’ trust in the medical system.”

“We’re thrilled to host Dr. Jones at DMU and are eager to engage in discussions about diversity and how it relates to health care,” said Lynn Martin, Ph.D., educational support director. “This is especially meaningful in a week honoring Dr. King.”

For 40 years (1932-1972), the U.S. Public Health Service conducted an experiment on approximately 400 men in Tuskegee, AL, known as the Tuskegee Study. The purpose of the study was to trace the evolution of syphilis in black subjects. The men involved in the study were not told that they had syphilis, offered treatment or told what it could do to them or their families.

In 1943 when the Public Health Service began to administer penicillin to patients with syphilis, study participants were excluded from treatment and information about their condition was still withheld. Bad Blood attempts to show that the Tuskegee Study was a logical outgrowth of race relations and medical practice in the United States. It also touches upon how the Tuskegee Study became a symbol of oppression against African-Americans and medical neglect.

Dr. Jones is a highly respected author and scholar of American history. Bad Blood was chosen as a New York Times ‘Best Book.’ He has provided information on the Tuskegee study for CNN and attended President William Clinton’s formal apology for the study. He has also written Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is currently writing a book on David Vetter, known as “the bubble boy,” and a biography of President Clinton.

The event is free and will be held in DMU’s Student Education Center, 3300 Grand Avenue in Des Moines. Parking behind the building is free.


Courtney Tompkins has been part of the DMU marketing team since Nov. 2005 and loves promoting a school she believes in so thoroughly. Proud daughter and patient of DMU alumni, Courtney knows, first-hand, that Des Moines University is doing a world of good. A fan of all outdoor festivals, fruity drinks and nearly all edibles, she has a hard time narrowing down her list of favorite places to go and things to do but lists the Iowa State Fair as an all-time fave. She loves her 8-minute commute to DMU from Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines. She and husband Tyler are owned by three large dogs, Tonka, Tucker and Tank.

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