University of Richmond’s Healthcare Studies program is hosting a public forum to examine the ethical and social issues associated with racial disparities in U.S. healthcare.

The panel discussion, “Bioethics, Race, and Healthcare,” is Sept. 14, 6 p.m., in the Jepson Alumni Center, and will feature four speakers. The event is free and open to the public.    

The panelists will address the “U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study in Black Men,” which occurred in Tuskegee, Alabama, from 1932-1972. Many scholars have noted this study led to the development of what has become modern medical ethics. The 40-year study was conducted without the patients’ informed consent, and they were not given proper treatment, according to the CDC. The panelists will discuss the continuing racial disparities that exist in U.S. healthcare today.

Forum speakers include:

Betty Neal Crutcher
University of Richmond, Cross-Cultural Mentor
Crutcher is the presidential spouse at UR, visiting scholar at the National Center for Research and Healthcare at Tuskegee University and a descendent of the United States Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee. She recently completed a course in bioethics and research ethics at the National Bioethics Center for Research and Heath Care.

Julian Hayter
University of Richmond, Jepson School of Leadership Studies professor
Hayter’s research focuses on modern U.S. history, American political development during the mid-20th century within the broader context of modern African-American history and the American civil rights movement. He teaches courses such as “Leadership and the Humanities” and “Justice and Civil Society.” He is the author of “The Dream is Lost: Voting Rights and the Politics of Race in Richmond, Virginia.”

Wylin Wilson
College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences at Tuskegee University adjunct professor
Wilson is the former associate director of education at the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University. Her book, “Economic Ethics and the Black Church,” is forthcoming.

Joan Harrell
Auburn University School of Communication and Journalism visiting professor
Harrell is researching and writing about the descendants of the United States Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee. Her forthcoming work is "Nurse Eunice Rivers: The True Narrative About the Unethical Syphilis Study." She is the former associate director of community engagement at the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at the historic Tuskegee University. Harrell is an award-winning journalist and religion and media scholar.


Associate Professor of Leadership Studies
Modern African American History
American Civil Rights Movement
African American Politics in Richmond, Virginia
American Political Development after 1945