U.S. Government Study in 1940s Guatemala

Johns Hopkins welcomes bioethical inquiry into the U.S. government's Guatemala study from the 1940s and its legacy. For more than half a century since the time of that study, scholars and ethicists have worked with government officials to establish rigorous ethical standards for human research. On this page, please find:

  • Information about a lawsuit filed in 2015 against Johns Hopkins, the Rockefeller Foundation and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company regarding the Guatemala study from the 1940s.
  • A Johns Hopkins commentary posted in 2012 about the Guatemala study from the 1940s.
  • Additional information and resources on this topic and on today’s guiding principles of institutional review boards for research involving human subjects.


Additional Information and Resources

  1. Presidential Commission Report - Institutional Review Boards at Johns Hopkins Medicine
  2. Presidential Commission Report - Moral Science: Protecting Participants in Human Subjects Research
  3. Institutional Review Boards at Johns Hopkins Medicine
  4. The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy Examining Tuskegee (Susan M. Reverby ed., 2009)
  5. Reverby, S. (2015, April 3). Suing for Justice? More on the U.S. STD Studies in Guatemala. Retrieved from http://www.thehastingscenter.org/Bioethicsforum/Post.aspx?id=7365&blogid=140Bioethics

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Guiding Principles of Institutional Review Boards (IRB)

Johns Hopkins experts discuss the guiding principles of Institutional Review Boards in research involving human subjects respect for persons, risk and benefit analysis, and justice and fairness.