Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Michelle Obama blocked University of Chicago hospital plan to test new vaccine on Chicago area black high school girls.

| 27 Comments

WASHINGTON---Michelle Obama, on leave from her job as a vice president of community affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center, is profiled in the Wednesday New York Times with some stunning details about a hospital proposal to use Chicago area girls as research subjects. That plus the flash that Obama is trying to soften up her image, with a start an appearence Wednesday as a guest host on "The View." (see my previous blog post for details on this.)

The New York Times report, by Michael Powell and Jodi Kantor LINK says Michelle Obama "altered the hospital's research agenda. When the human papillomavirus vaccine, which can prevent cervical cancer, became available, researchers proposed approaching local school principals about enlisting black teenage girls as research subjects.

"Obama stopped that. The prospect of white doctors performing a trial with black teenage girls summoned the specter of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment of the mid-20th century, when white doctors let hundreds of black men go untreated to study the disease."She'll talk about the elephant in the room," said Susan Sher, her boss at the hospital, where Obama is on leave from her more-than-$300,000-a-year job."

27 Comments

The article says nothing about the researchers proposing to use white high school girls as "research subjects". Probably because it was not proposed.

What is it about some white Americans that makes them still feel it is okay to use black Americans as guinea pigs? I supposed the shame of Tuskegee wasn't shameful enough.

Why does race need to come into it? It was a STUPID evil vaccine that's being pushed on poor white kids too.
The issue is POWER versus LACK THEREOF.

Michelle Obama is an elitist like Barack Obama.When she said she was never proud of America until now she posed her own set of problems. As all could see with Trinity United Church of Christ Pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Pfleger the congregation believed in black liberation theology and had an anti-white rascist mentality.
This has rubbed off on Michele after 20 year membership. Add to this her anti-white dissertation published by Michele using her maiden name when in college.
To say the least this action at the University of Chicago shows she has a chip on her shoulders. This is not a trait that is expected for the First Lady of the United States of America.

Good for her! I would never let my daughter get this shot. In a few years we'll hear how this is causing some side effect or cancer! All this country does is keep pushing drugs on all of us! If you ask me its the drug companies that are killing us!

Nothing will improve this woman's image. If you read her thesis and listen to her various speeches around America through the campaign of her husband, Obama, what you get is the same agenda and substance of her thesis. She obviously still feels the same way about the White race, only identifies with her black race and nothing will change my mind about her. She is mean spirited, gives a depresed message to her audience about America and generally is not White House material. The entire democratic party must have lost it to promote these two people! It is not about race fo me. IT is about everything American though and these two obviously do not fit in. Too many American haters around them and too many Muslim ties. Just shouldn't even be near our White House. I would be so revolted if Michelle Obama was given the keys to our White House that I suspect our family in it's entirety would remigrate back to Ireland. We feel that stronlgy about the misguided candidacy of Obama and any reference to his First Lady (NOT), wife.

I have already left the democratic party, never to return. They are insane to shove this candidacy down our throats!!!! Since when do we elect a President that has nothing but racist, white hating mentors, as well as Islamic radicals surrounding him? I'll tell you...."never", should we elect such a person. Not even if he is black!!! No excuse and no excuse for the deomcratic party to shove him down our throats!!! Unbelievable!!!!

In reality, anyone who takes medicine is a guinea pig for the pharmacudical companies. So what makes one group more special than another?

GOOD!!! Go, Michelle!!!

Why should poor people of color always be deemed to be expendable guinea pigs in the frankenstein human experimentations hosted by Big Pharma?

There are as many infected European girls per capita attending affluent suburban academies as there are infected African and Hispanic girls enrolled in urban high schools. Inject suburban adolescent girls with the mercury-based poisons their parents are manufacturing and calling the cure. After all, their parents enjoy Big Pharma dividends. Affluent suburban parents should be first in line to offer up a child, since their god requires the sacrifice. Once this 'cure' is tested and marketed, approved by the FDA or not, poor people of color can't even afford the crap, lethal crap that usually has a longer list of dangerous side affects than actual benefits. Big Pharma can sweep actual product-responsible deaths under their rug while lobbying the national legislature to continue to criminalise Marijuana use. Please!

Nope! Africans in America are still reeling from the Tuskeegee fiasco. That, and the modern-day Ridlin project. These 'offers' have never meant good news to us. Please appreciate exactly why our neighborhood does not trust medical reasearch, healthcare trials and experimentation, or the pharmaceuatical industry. Furthermore, we're just not buying into the xenophobic slander perpetuated with massaged stats and manipulative data that lies about a mere 12% of the US population having the most of anything, especially HPV and AIDS. If that were true, African America would have ceased to exist during the Reagan era. Contrary to what the corporate bought-n-bossed media thinks of women of color, we're not all sleazy, licentious, diseased whores from birth. The vast majority of us are disease-free and clean-living sisters, mothers, wives, aunts, and church members. We have and spread no more veneral disease than any other female ethnic segment of the American population.

If the government is going to allow Big Pharma to endulge in human animal testing of its lethal products, test EVERYONE, not just Black folks.

If the test was otherwise the right thing to do, then Mrs. Obama was wrong, possibly (and perversely) to the detriment of the health of black HS girls. What principle was she defending? That white doctors should not test black people? That is repellant and harmful to the health of blacks and everyone else. That public relations should trump medical research? That is at best troubling and illogical. Mrs. Obama may have been on the wrong job. On the other hand, was the proposed test limited to black girls? If so, why? To determine possible racial disparities to HPV incidence or outcomes? A good reporter would tell us, without making us hunt down the facts in whatever is linked to the blurb.

Just checked the linked story. Nothing illuminating on the tests Mrs. Obama is credited with stopping (and, hence whether she deserves credit fo blame). Puff piece and a puff blurb. Journalism as public relations. Congrats to all.

I would like to know how Michelle Obama knew that all these doctors are white. The Tuskeegee Experiment is a tragedy we cannot erase. However, this is now! Where are the statistics on the occurance of cervical cancer? Where are the statistics of sexual activity by young teenage females? These facts could lend some credance to this article and the choice of these schools. We do know that girls are becoming sexually active at a very young age today.

I would not want anyone giving a daughter of mind anything without my approval. However, that does not mean I would not consider giving that approval.

It's good to see women stand up for what they believe is right. So many of the responses have been about Michele being an elitist. Do they know what an elitist is? Or do we have parrots out there? What would these same readers say about Cindy McCain? Would they call her an elitist? Would they attack her for owning a company that cotnributes to our death rate to people who indulge in alchohol, and even those who don't (drunk driving accidents...). Let the candidates wives say what they want to say and let them stand up for their beliefs. No one is perfect and there will never be anyone who is. I think Michele Obama has a beautiful heart, much compassion, and the drive to succeed. We can't say that about everyone. Kudos to her for stopping such an experiment.

"Since when do we elect a President that has nothing but racist, white hating mentors, as well as Islamic radicals surrounding him?"

Well I hope you left the Democratic Party before Bill Clinton was elected because his mentor, Senator J. William Fulbright, was an avid racist. Not to mention Clinton pardoned 16 terrorists and whole host of other thieves and swindlers (some of whom were personal friends).

So, if you voted for Clinton, electing a President that has a racist, black hating mentor, who surrounds himself with theives and swindlers and pardons 16 terrorists seems to work for you.

ANYONE THAT THINKS THE VOTERS ARE DUMB ENOUGH FOR US TO BELIEVE MICHELL OBAMA IS ANY THING MORE THAN A ''WHITEY HATER'' JUST WAIT. THE GATE WAS OPEN AND THE HORSE IS ALREADY OUT. AND WHAT EVER MY FORMER PARTY IS TRYING TO PORTRAY HER AS WILL NOT WORK. SHE DOES NOT HAVE THE MAKINGS OF A 1ST LADY YOU HAVE TO BE A LADY FIRST. AND OBAMA HIMSELF WOULD ONLY SELL US OUT AS HE IS A MUSLIM HIMSELF AND WE WILL REALLY BE IN A MESS WITH THE LIKES OF WRIGHT AND ALL THE OTHER FRIENDS OF HIS. CLINTON VOTERS ARE SMART AND MIGHT BE SAYING THEY WILL SUPPORT THE PARTY BUT WHY SHOULD THEY THE PARTY SOLD US OUT. THEY CHOOSE THE WINNER NOT THE PEOPLE. ANYTHING DEAN IS MIXED UP IN IS A DISASTER. EVEN WITH HILLARY ON THE TICKET AND I DON'T THINK SHE WILL BE AS OBAMA WOULD BE KEPT IN CHECK AND HE WOULD NOT WANT SOME ONE WHO IS SMARTER AN GOT MORE VOTES THAN HE DID AND THAT MISERABLE WIFE OF HIS IS TO JEALOUS OF HILLARY BECAUSE SHE KNOWS HILLARY IS A SMARTER WOMEN WITH MORE EXPERIENCE THAN THE TWO OBAMAS PUT TOGETHER. GO MCCAIN AS ARE WHOLE FAMILY WILL BE SUPPORTING YOU WITH VOTES AND $$$$.

I think the true racists are being revealed by this campaign. I am a Black female who has voted mostly democratic my entire life. The Democratic party has been the party most sensitive to the needs of Black people and others who have been disenfranchised. Not every candidate was perfect. I find it disturbing that Obama has the folks from Ireland running to the hills.

We do need a change here in America. All of us need to look inside to see what really motivates us. Michelle Obama's opinions and view of America are shaped by her experiences here. She, her husband and other visionaries are moving on to what we can be not who we were. I for one am also proud of this moment in America's history. It is amazing to see these types of candidates in my life time. I am most proud that our country has evolved to this place so quickly. God bless America and Americans, great and small, Black and White, Dems and Repulicans!

Michelle Obama is once again playing the RACE CARD......this vaccine is available to all girls, to be administered BEFORE they become sexually active. One of the ways the virus is transmitted is through sexual activity.

When did Michelle Obama get her medical degree?

If you have questions on this vaccine, INFORM YOURSELVES!Internet or:

Ask your own doctor or someone in whom you place your trust

If this vaccine is so wonderful, let the pharmaceutical company take it to the rich suburbs and test it on white high school girls. I note that category of high school females was not suggested as part of the research test group. Thank God for someone like Michelle Obama who didn't just turn her back and go after the money like others (some of whom have responded with comments to this story) apparently would have. Let the pharmaceutical company test it on your high school daughters then, if it is so great - you hypocrites.

noone will ever make me believe that michelle is better liked than cindy mccain nice try media but the american people know better.

Obama, a visionary???? What drug are you on?? All the man can talk about is change but with no substance whatsoever......

I think it's time for a third party.................

All that I can say is that Obama's people in his Senate offices really are impressed with themselves, and are not inclined to give the time of day to common folk such as myself.

On the other hand, if I were a hot actress...perhaps like Scarlett Johansson...I bet that the man himself would be happy to give me the time.

Here is a really big difference. I have health insurance and can get the vaccine for my daughters. Those who do not have health insurance may find it harder to get. So Michelle doesn't think that young females in a poor area in HER district should get the vaccine for free?

Ten to one, there are studies already out there showing that the girls in this area are experiencing a higher than average number of cancer risks, as well as other risks, due to lifestyle choices.

Hospitals don't just make up ideas around a table about who to give free medicine. It has to have some relevance between the medicine, and who it can help. It does nothing if it just goes out to anyone who is not a potential candidate for positive results.

Michelle has a personal philosophy that apparently keeps her from looking at things objectively. If she was objective, then her comments would have reflected reasonable statistics on why this would not be a good idea.

Some of you people need to get a grip. I'm a black male, I'm 52, life-long Democrat and pro-Obama. Let's have some perspective here. I've worked for the Centers for Disease Control 20 years ago and recently an independant research firm. I know that it is ROUTINE to test across a broad demographic.

Does it occur to you that even black people get cervical cancer?? I have zero medical training but I have COMMON SENSE!!!! Do you really think it's wise to release a vaccine that hasn't been tested AT ALL on blacks and THEN administer it to blacks after the fact? That's insane.

How ironic that the same idiots who posted comments bashing Big Pharma will soon require blood pressure pills, diabetes medications, and antibiotics created by the same industry. I suppose it's fitting therefore that the same savants sing the praises of Michelle Obama. This is a woman who stonewalled vital research to evaluate a product which PREVENTS CANCER in a chronically underserved, undertreated, and understudied population in Chicago, under the pretense that the study investigators were racist. To compare the research for Gardasil to the Tuskegee Experiment is lunacy at worst, and race-baiting at best. Be careful what you wish for, Democrats - Michelle Obama will be a dangerous, polarizing influence on the future president of the United States.

Bottom line is, we need medicine to improve quality of life, help us live longer and healthier and to cure disease. But to know if anything will actually work, they have to do clinical trials on humans. This is a fact of life. The fact that Michelle would block something that could potentially save thousands and thousands of lives (including black girls) is horrifying. But then, if you research the hospital where she is vice president, you will learn that it is very anti-poor. If that hospital is any indication of what Obama will do for healthcare in America, then God help us all!

Big Ups to Michelle for preventing that study on those girls. No girls of any so call racial group should be used as research subjects, especially when something may happen, from the use of medication, to arrest their youthful bodies. It has already been in the media that lawsuits are being filed, and not only by families of black girls, but by the parents of many groups of girls. And really, look to the parents and schools who approve these studies, and make these choices without the children understanding the repercussions. Look to the past - how many five year olds and up are on pharmaceutical medications (drug addits) because of research into so called HD, HADD, ADD and other acronyms clouded by so call problems, when children are just being children. It's big business for the pharmaceutical corporations. Here's and idea - let test subjects be adults who understand, no matter how blindly, be the subjects of new research. Not children.

Did anyone take into consideration that in today's world, all clinical trials need to have informed consent to accept the drug? This consent needs to be obtained from a LEGAL adult guardian. No one can willy nilly administer the vaccine to high school children, even if the child would like it. You need to be 18 yrs of age in America to consent to anything! ----Registered Nurse in Illinois

Race I believe is not an issue for the study... Just the administration. I perform research and the more logical reason for this is that NIH is directed to fund african american studies so much when it comes to gov grants. I am absolutely stunned that Michelle Obama has not been able to see it from a beneficial research project but only a political opportunistic moment! True Colors...

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 18, 2008 1:38 AM.

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