Dangerous Medicine: Militarized Science & America’s Experiments w/ Hepatitis Part 1 - Sydney Halpern

Thursday, April 2, 2015 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Sydney A. Halpern, PhD
Lecturer, Medical Humanities & Bioethics
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

For over thirty years, 1942 through 1974, American researchers conducted experiments that deliberately infected people with unmodified hepatitis viruses. The aim was to discover basic features of the pathogens, information necessary for developing preventive and therapeutic measures. The human subjects included mental patients, persons with cognitive impairments, conscientious objectors to the military draft, and inmates of prisons and reformatories. This talk presents major finding from a forthcoming book based on extensive archival research. It retells the story of human-subjects abuses in the U.S.

This talk, the first in a two-part series, locates the roots of the hepatitis studies—and other hazardous mid-century human experiments—with the rise of federal support of biomedicine for purposes of national defense. Scientists and their military sponsors invoked national security to justify dangerous medical research and secure the cooperation of those managing institutions housing potential subjects.

Organized by: Medical Humanities & Bioethics Lunchtime

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