Friday, October 01, 2010

Tuskegee Guatemala

I’m writing this some what quickly because I don’t know if the google cache will exist much longer.

Dr. John C. Cutler ran the Tuskegee experiments which allowed syphilis patients to go without treatment for decades, decades during which they infected partners, spouses, and children. Today the U.S. government revealed that sixty years ago American scientists infected Guatemalans with syphilis in order to test penicillin. Cutler was involved in that atrocity as well.

Cutler went on to the University of Pittsburgh which until today used Cutler to pitch to major donors. Notice that they do not mention his role in this notorious Tuskegee experiments.

Eleise S. Cutler and the late Dr. John C. Cutler, Friends of Pitt

Eleise Cutler has always supported the advancement of education and the exploration of public health issues. Her husband, Dr. John C. Cutler spent much of his life as a physician largely in service to global public health. Prior to joining the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health for his "second career", he served as both assistant surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service and deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization. Eleise was always there supporting his every effort.

Dr. Cutler's early work was in the field of venereal disease. He was a part of the group of physicians who developed VDRL, the venereal diseases research laboratory test, which has become the accepted test for the diagnosis of syphilis. "We traveled all over the world together when he was doing research work in syphilis and gonorrhea," Eleise explains. "He worked in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, in New York and also in Guatemala. And, I was with him every step of the way." Dr. Cutler's research also took the two of them to India where, while working for the World Health Organization, he organized a venereal disease laboratory for South East Asia.

When Dr. Cutler arrived at the University of Pittsburgh in 1967, he became the head of the population division of the Graduate School of Public Health where he helped establish and coordinate major international health projects in West Africa and several third world countries. He was also instrumental in the development of a joint program with the University's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Eleise, a graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts, also understood the importance of population control – one of her husband's passions. She has served on several boards, including Planned Parenthood, that assist in educating others on the importance of these and other issues. Her work with a visiting nurses association and the Pittsburgh Dance Council while in Pittsburgh and numerous other non-profits throughout the nation during their travels have given her a first-hand understanding of the importance of philanthropy.

In 1995, Eleise and her husband began discussing the possibility of planned gifts to support some of their favorite causes. "Since we didn't have any children and our home was our largest asset, we thought that donating that part of our estate would be a good way to give to organizations," Eleise explains. The Cutlers chose to include the University of Pittsburgh in their will, along with six other organizations, who will split the funds obtained in the sale of their estate after they are no longer able to live there. "I'm still living in my house," she reveals, "and through this gift we were able to do something wonderful that we never anticipated."

After Dr. Cutler's death in 2003 at the age of 87, the John C. Cutler Memorial Global Health Fund was established to honor Dr. Cutler's legacy of global health, leadership, research, practice, education and devotion to nurturing the careers of future public health leaders. The funds raised through their gift of real estate will be added to this fund which supports a lecture series in global public health. "I am so happy that we are able to help the university and ensure my husband's work continues." Elsie proudly says.

Southeast Asia, New York, India, West Africa, federal prisons? How many people did Cutler infect with syphilis? I hope that there is a full investigation of his activities. I find it hard to believe that Cutler didn’t repeat his Guatemala and Tuskegee horrors in a federal jail and in Asia and Africa.