To Whom It May Concern:

In 1997 President Bill Clinton publicly apologized for the United States Public Health Service’s Syphilis Study on hundreds of African American men without their knowledge and consent. The Tuskegee experiment was a betrayal of those inalienable rights we Americans hold so dear-we are all diminished whenever a single citizen is denied the diligence of our government and the dignity of our shared humanity.

We cannot change the past, but we can learn from our mistakes, make amends for them, most importantly, resolve with the full strength of our convictions to never repeat them. Our efforts must turn to the future with an abundance of good will and the unwavering determination to make a difference.

This is precisely the impetus and the rationale behind the creation of the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University in 1999. As Secretary of Health and Human Services, I was empowered by President Clinton to begin the process of righting the wrongs committed through new funding for bioethics education and training in research and health care. Almost two decades later, the Center’s educational and outreach efforts continue to shine a light on the ethical treatment of all Americans and to help ensure that no institution or government agency willfully harm others.

The National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care arose from ashes of a terrible injustice. Let it serve as a vital reminder that our democracy is built on the foundation of justice and our continued faith and trust that justice will prevail.

Your support will help sustain a legacy of renewed integrity and responsibility to heal the shameful actions of the past and ensure the ethical and humane treatment of all people for all time.

We must never forget those men, their wives and children, who were so horribly wronged, as were the people of Tuskegee, Alabama and the Tuskegee University community. This is a challenge to future generations to do better and to never repeat the past.


Click here for to read full letter

For information about donations to academic scholarships, research and community services contact Dr. Rueben Warren, Director of the Bioethics Center at or Dr. Brian Johnson, President of Tuskegee University at