Miss Evers Boys

Indiana University Cinema Bloomington, IN


Dr. Rasul A. Mowatt

Associate Chair, Instruction and Undergraduate Studies, Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism StudiesSchool of Public Health, Indiana University, Bloomington


Dr. Maria E. Hamilton Abegunde

Director of the Graduate Mentoring Center and Postdoctoral Fellow, Wells Library, Indiana University, Bloomington; Visiting Lecturer, Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington


Dr. Walton Muyumba

Associate Professor and Assistant Director of Creative Writing, Department of English, Indiana University, Bloomington


Dr. Bernice A. Pescosolido

Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Indiana University; Co-Director, Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research

moderated by

Dr. William L. Yarber

Professor of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington; Senior Scientist, The Kinsey Institute; Senior Director, Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention, School of Public Health, Indiana University, Bloomington


Dr. Carolyn Calloway-Thomas

Professor and Chair, African American and African Diaspora Studies Department, Indiana University, Bloomington

Miss Evers’ Boys— The Lasting Impact of the Tuskegee Experiment

A panel discussion of medical experimentation, medical racial profiling, human-test subject ethics, and mental-health awareness. 

Indiana University Cinema Bloomington, IN

Film Synopsis

The true story of the US Government's 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, in which a group of black test subjects were allowed to die, despite a cure having been developed.

When nurse Eunice Evers (Alfre Woodard) is chosen to facilitate a program intended to curb syphilis rates among African Americans in rural Alabama, she is gratified to be able to serve her community. Over time, however, the study becomes twisted into a shocking human experiment in which patients are systematically denied much-needed medicine. Decades after the fact, Evers is called before a Senate committee to testify as to what really happened during the infamous "Tuskegee Study."

About the Speaker

Dr. Rasul A. Mowatt is the associate chair and associate professor in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies within the School of Public Health at Indiana University, Bloomington. His main research areas include social justice, cultural studies, leisure behavior, and critical pedagogy. Sub-research areas are racial identity, social inequity, management best practices, violence, policy analysis, participatory research, critical historical analysis, and visual methodology. A graduate of the University of Illinois served the Champaign Park District for eight years, overseeing three parks, four facilities, and numerous programs, services, and events. His professional experience extended further to the United Way and Rotary as well as the city of Champaign as Chair of the Human Relations Commission. He has continued this avenue of service as a faculty representative of the Indiana Memorial Union Board. His work on analyzing lynching photography for examples of violence as a form of leisure has been published in a special issue of American Behavioral Scientist and in the collaborative release of Globalizing Cultural Studies. Additional work on perceived notions of racial identity in community recreation centers has been published in Journal of Parks and Recreation Admin., the complexities of visitation to Ghanaian Slave Castles in Annals of Tourism Research, a critique of Whiteness in the Journal of Leisure Research, and alternative treatment for veterans with PTSD in the Therapeutic Recreation Journal. Lastly, his emphasis on methods of teaching has been exemplified by articles in SCHOLE and is a recipient of several teaching awards. He has also presented at conferences within the United States, Canada, Britain, and Denmark. His teaching, research, and service is strongly centered on critiquing society for the issues that are prevalent and impacting the social well-being of people. While in his spare time he has enjoyed DJing as an artform, spinning for over 25 years.

Dr. Maria E. Hamilton Abegunde is the director of the Graduate Mentoring Center and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Wells Library at Indiana University, and a visiting lecturer in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies. Dr. Abegunde is an egungun (ancestral) priest in the Yoruba Orisa tradition and a Reiki Master with a focus on the recovery and healing of ancestral memory from the Earth and human body. She is also a poet, writer, teacher, and birth doula. Her ongoing research in the United States and Brazil is on embodied memory of the Middle Passage, the ways in which unresolved ancestral emotions shape the lives of descendants, and the links between ancestral wounding, contemporary violence, and illness and disease. 

Dr. Walton Muyumba is an associate professor and assistant director of creative writing in the Department of English at Indiana University, Bloomington. Focusing on American and African Diaspora literature, his work bridges the academic and mainstream worlds. His book The Shadow and the Act examines the influence of jazz improvisation and pragmatist philosophy on the literary art of Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Amiri Baraka. He’s written for a wide range of publications, including The AtlanticThe Chicago TribuneOxford American, and the LA Review of Books. Dr. Muyumba also serves as a board member of the National Book Critics Circle.

Dr. Bernice A. Pescosolido is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Indiana University and Director of the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research. Dr. Pescosolido received a BA from the University of Rhode Island in 1974 and a PhD from Yale University in 1982. She has focused her research and teaching on social issues in health, illness, and healing. 

Dr. Pescosolido’s research agenda addresses how social networks connect individuals to their communities and to institutional structures, providing the "wires" through which people’s attitudes and actions are influenced. This agenda encompasses three basic areas: health care services, stigma, and suicide research. In the early 1990s, Dr. Pescosolido developed the Network-Episode Model which was designed to focus on how individuals come to recognize, respond to the onset of health problems, and use health care services. Specifically, it has provided new insights to understanding the patterns and pathways to care, adherence to treatment and the outcomes of health care. As a result, she has served on advisory agenda-setting efforts at the NIMH, NCI, NHLBI, NIDRR, OBSSR, and presented at congressional briefings.

In the area of stigma research, Dr. Pescosolido initiated the first major, national study of stigma of mental illness in the US in over 40 years, producing groundwork for the Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health. Currently, she and her colleagues are developing a model on the underlying roots of stigma, designed to provide a scientific foundation for new efforts to alter this basic barrier to care. They are now completing a series of papers based on the National Stigma Study – Children, the first national study of stigma toward children with mental health problems. With funding from the Fogarty International Center, she is also leading a team of researchers in the first international study of stigma.

Drawing from the same theoretical insights that guide her work on the influence of community on the use of health care, Dr. Pescosolido is a leading sociological researcher on suicide. Her early work examined claims on and evaluated the utility of official suicide statistics. Her work also has focused on the way that religion and family ties can protect or push individuals to suicide as a solution to problems. Currently, she is working with researchers at the CDC to bring together the best insights from psychiatric and sociological research on suicide. With Arthur Kleinman, she helped to shape and write the chapter on social and cultural influences in the 2002 IOM report, Reducing Suicide: A National Imperative.

In 2005, she was presented with the American Sociological Association’s Leo G. Reeder Award for a career of distinguished scholarship in medical sociology. Her address takes on the challenge of synthesizing social and biological issues in understanding current challenges in epidemiology and health services research. 

Dr. Pescosolido has received numerous grants from federal and private sources including the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. From 1989 to 1995, she held a Research Scientist Development Award and from 1997 through 2003 held an Independent Scientist Award, both from the NIMH. She is the founder and director of the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research as well as the IU Strategic Directions Initiative's CONCEPT I Program in Health and Medicine. Both are designed to enhance the research and training of Indiana University's faculty and students to contribute to the national agenda on health and health care. In 2003, she received the Wilbert Hites Mentoring Award from Indiana University in recognition of her teaching and mentoring activities and in 2006 the Distinguished Faculty Award from the IU Alumni Association. She has also received the Hans O. Mauksch Award (2006) from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Teaching & Learning in Sociology. Dr. Pescosolido has published widely in sociology, social science, public health and medical journals; served on the editorial board of a dozen national and international journals; and been elected to a variety of leadership positions in professional associations including serving as Vice-President of the American Sociological Association, and as Chair of the ASA Section on Sociology of Mental Health and the ASA Section on Medical Sociology.

William L. Yarber
 is a professor of applied health science and adjunct professor of gender studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is also a senior research fellow at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction and the senior director of the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention at IU.

Dr. Yarber, who received his doctorate from Indiana University, has authored or co-authored numerous scientific reports on sexual risk behavior and AIDS/STD prevention in professional journals and has received several federal and state grants to support his research and AIDS/STD prevention efforts. He is a member of the The Kinsey Institute Condom Use Research Team (CURT) comprised of researchers from Indiana University, University of Kentucky, University of Guelph (Canada), and University of Southampton (United Kingdom). For over 15 years, with federal and institutional research support, CURT has investigated male condom use errors and problems and has developed behavioral interventions designed to improve correct and consistent condom use.

He authored four school AIDS/STD prevention curricula published by professional organizations: STD: A Guide for Today’s Young Adults (1985); at the request of the US government, Dr. Yarber authored the country’s first secondary school AIDS prevention education curriculum, AIDS: What Young People Should KnowLooking into AIDS, and STDs and HIV: A Guide for Today’s Young Adults. Dr. Yarber also co-edited the Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures, Third Edition. Dr. Yarber is the lead author of Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary America, a college human sexuality textbook used in over 300 colleagues and universities nationwide. This book was recently translated into Chinese and published by the Beijing World Publishing Company as the most up-to-date book on human sexuality published in China in the past 50 years. Also in 2012, the text was translated and published in Korea.

Dr. Yarber chaired the National Guidelines Task Force, which developed the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Kindergarten–12th Grade, published
by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and adapted in six countries worldwide. Dr. Yarber is past president of The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) and a past chair of the SIECUS board of directors. His awards include the SSSS Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, the Professional Standard of Excellence from the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Indiana University President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the inaugural Graduate Student Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award at Indiana University.

Dr. Yarber has been a consultant to the World Health Organization Global Program on AIDS as well as sexuality and HIV/STI-related organizations in Brazil, China, Jamaica, Poland, Portugal, and Taiwan. He regularly teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in human sexuality. He was previously a faculty member at Purdue University and the University of Minnesota, as well as a public high school health science and biology teacher. He endowed at Indiana University, for perpetuity, the world’s first professorship in sexual health, the William L. Yarber Professorship in Sexual Health.  He also endowed Ryan White and William L. Yarber Lecture Series.

Dr. Carolyn Calloway-Thomas is a professor and chair of the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department at Indiana University, Bloomington. She studies intercultural communication, African American communication, intersections between empathy and conflict, and pedagogy and civic engagement. She is currently the president of the World Communication Association. She has served in many leadership positions, including president of the Bloomington Faculty Council at Indiana University, Communication National Advisory Board, director of the Interracial Communications Project, and past president of the Central States Communication Association (CSCA). In 2012, she was inducted into the CSCA's Hall of Fame. In 2007, she was invited to participate in the Oxford Round Table conference on diversity and public policy at Oxford University in England. Her national awards include a Ford Postdoctoral fellowship; a Fulbright scholarship in Nigeria, West Africa; a Carmegie scholarship; the National Communicaiton Association's Robert J Kibler award; and the Distinguished Alumni award from Grambling State University. She currently serves as Book Review Editor of the Howard Journal of Communications and as a member of the editorial board of Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, a publication of the World Communication Association.