Marcella Alsan wins Arrow Award for research on Tuskegee Study

MARCELLA ALSAN, associate professor of medicine, is a co-recipient of this year’s Arrow Award from the International Health Economics Association (IHEA) for research that shows the health of African American men was adversely impacted by the Tuskegee syphilis study of the early 20th century.

Marcella Alsan
Marcella Alsan (Cindy Chew)

The award recognizes excellence in the field of health economics and is named after the late Kenneth J. Arrow, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and mathematician. He was a Stanford Health Policy fellow and senior fellow by courtesy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI).

The IHEA awarded the 27th annual Arrow Award to Alsan, a core faculty member at Stanford Health Policy and a senior fellow at FSI and at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and co-author Marianne Wanamaker of the University of Tennessee for their paper, “Tuskegee and the Health of Black Men,” published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

The infamous Tuskegee study began in 1932 when the U.S. Public Health Service began following approximately 600 African American men, some of whom had syphilis, for the stated purpose of understanding the natural history of the disease. The government willingly withheld treatment even after penicillin became an established treatment for the illness.

When their working paper was first published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, it became part of the national discussion about the lasting impact of the Tuskegee study.

Read the full article on the Stanford Health Policy website.