“ For the most part, doctors and civil servants simply did their jobs. Some merely followed orders, others worked for the glory of science. ” — Dr John Heller, Director of the Public Health Service's Division of Venereal Diseases
Some of the Tuskegee Study Group clinicians. Dr. Reginald D. James (third to right), a black physician involved with public health work in Macon County, was not directly involved in the study. Nurse Rivers is on the left. Dr. Taliaferro Clark
Dr. Oliver WengerThe venereal disease section of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) formed a study group at its national headquarters. Dr. Taliaferro Clark was credited with its origin. His initial goal was to follow untreated syphilis in a group of black men for 6 to 9 months, and then follow up with a treatment phase. When he understood the intention of other study members to use deceptive practices, Dr. Clark disagreed with the plan to conduct an extended study.[clarification needed] He retired the year after the study began.
Representing the PHS, Clark had solicited the participation of the Tuskegee Institute (a historically black college (HBCU) that was well-known in Alabama) and of the Arkansas regional PHS office. Dr. Eugene Dibble, an African American doctor, was head of the John Andrew Hospital at the Tuskegee Institute. Dr. Oliver C. Wenger, a caucasian, was director of the regional PHS Venereal Disease Clinic in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He and his staff took a lead in developing study procedures.
Wenger and his staff played a critical role in developing early study protocols. Wenger continued to advise and assist the Tuskegee Study when it turned into a long-term, no-treatment observational study.
Dr. Raymond H. Vonderlehr was appointed on-site director of the research program and developed the policies that shaped the long-term follow-up section of the project. For example, he decided to gain the "consent" of the subjects for spinal taps (to...