Category Archive for 'carola eisenberg'

Jack Geiger, founding member and past president of PHR.

Why do you go to Conferences? I go to be inspired by the speakers, informed about issues, and energized by the other participants. Given the speakers who have agreed to present, the 2011 PHR National Student Conference promises to be truly inspirational.

I’m thrilled to announce that Jack Geiger, MD, M Sci Hyg – a pioneer in human and civil rights, a founding member and past president of PHR, and the creator of the model of Community Health Centers, which now serves millions of low- and middle-income patients – will speak. He has graciously agreed to accept the Leon and Carola Eisenberg Award for a lifetime of dedication to health and human rights education.

Throughout the day, the speakers will offer thought-provoking insight into how to design a career that will make a difference. Join us to hear presentations from these physicians, public health practitioners, researchers, human rights activists, media analysts, and policy specialists:

  • Howard Zucker, MD, JD, LLM – A senior advisor to the Division of Global Health & Human Rights at Massachusetts General Hospital; formerly  Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health.
  • Jennifer Leaning, MD, SMH – The Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University and former PHR Board member who revealed the mass grave at Dasht-e-Leili, Afghanistan, and investigated systematic rape in Darfur, Sudan.
  • Khassan Baiev, MD – As a wartime trauma surgeon, Dr. Baiev treated thousands of civilians and combatants in Chechnya.
  • Mohammed Ahmed Eisa, MD – Awarded the 2007 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for his clinical and humanitarian work in Darfur, Sudan.
  • Gloria White-Hammond, MD – As a pediatrician, minister, and activist, Dr. White-Hammond has worked with marginalized communities in the U.S. and overseas.
  • Richard Sollom, MPH, MA – PHR Deputy Director and public health researcher whose reports on Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Burma are redefining how human rights violations are tracked.
  • Susannah Sirkin – As PHR Deputy Director since 1987, Ms. Sirkin has led the fight against genocide, violence against women, and incarceration of prisoners of conscience.
  • Parveen Parmar, MD, MPH – A physician with a background in humanitarian response who uses her clinical skills to demonstrate human rights violations in Bangladesh and Burma.
  • Nathaniel Raymond – A human rights investigator at the new Satellite Sentinel project initiated by George Clooney; former Director of PHR’s Campaign Against Torture and lead investigator on the Dasht-e-Leili case.
  • Christy Fujio, JD, MA – PHR’s Asylum Program Director oversees the network of health professionals who use their clinical skills to validate the claims of asylum seekers and survivors of torture.
  • Sarah Kalloch – A policy advocacy and education specialist; currently leads campaigns at Oxfam America.

Register today to hear these inspiring speakers on February 12 at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston!

Leon Eisenberg, MD

Leon Eisenberg, MD

Physicians for Human Rights mourns the loss of child psychiatrist, medical educator, and human rights advocate Leon Eisenberg, MD, husband of PHR founding board member Carola Eisenberg, MD.

PHR CEO Frank Donaghue said:

The board and staff of Physicians for Human Rights express our appreciation for Leon’s lifelong commitment to the advancement of human rights, and extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Carola, and his family and friends. We will all miss our dear friend and colleague.

PHR Deputy Director Susannah Sirkin added:

Leon was a towering figure in advancing social medicine and passionate about human rights and dignity. He will be deeply missed.

The American Academy of Arts Sciences captured many of  Dr. Eisenberg’s accomplishments in a death notice published in the New York Times:

To the medical community, he contributed pathbreaking work in child psychiatry and an abiding concern with the relation between the practice of medicine and the lives of patients. As the Communications Secretary of the Academy for seven years, he informed our work with his gentle humor and his wide-ranging knowledge and interests. He helped to ensure that merit and diversity were the hallmarks of our membership and that the communication of information and ideas across fields and professions was our responsibility to society.

PHR is deeply moved and grateful that Dr. Eisenberg’s family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Physicians for Human Rights or Partners In Health.

Last year, Harvard Medical School’s Focus Online profiled Dr. Eisenberg. The piece described Eisenberg’s difficult entry into medical school in the 1940s; he was a straight A student but most schools would not admit him because he was a Jew. He was eventually admitted to Pennsylvania School of Medicine, rose to the top of his class and graduated valedictorian. He was nonetheless denied an internship, along with the seven other Jews who applied, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

He went to Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York, where he discovered psychiatry….  In 1952, after a two-year stint in the Army teaching physiology to military doctors, he began a residency in child psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, where his doubts about psychoanalysis were encouraged by the great psychiatrist, Leo Kanner….

Eisenberg would join him in his exploration of the newly identified psychiatric disorder, autism, paying special attention to the social, and especially, the family setting of the children in which it appeared.

Though Eisenberg suspected a genetic basis to the then rarely diagnosed disease, it would be years before the tools existed to look at it. In subsequent years, he turned his attention to more common childhood problems, such as school phobia, looking once again at the social setting in which they occurred.

In 1962, Eisenberg launched the first randomized clinical trial of a psychiatric medicine. “As simple as it seems, as straightforward, child psychiatry had gone on for 40 years before somebody did a randomized clinical trial,” said Earls.

The Focus piece also noted Dr. Eisenberg’s role in increasing the number of Black students at Harvard Medical School.

“Since being Jewish was no longer an issue in medical school after about 1950, I had thought that my job was to fight for the people who were being excluded, which were blacks,” he said. He was asked to chair the HMS commission on black community relations and the HMS admissions committee for the first seven years of affirmative action. “It was a wonderful place to see to it that the plan was implemented.”

Dr. Eisenberg’s commitment to fairness was constant and always included a focus on the institutions that he worked in.

A case in point was a festschrift held on the occasion of his 60th birthday. Former students presented an extraordinary array of papers, each of which Eisenberg thoroughly critiqued.

“At the end, when you would have expected Leon simply to say, ‘I’m so delighted, and I want to thank you for what you’ve done,’ well, he said all those things, and then he said, ‘You know, I just want to be honest with you,’” said Kleinman. “‘You’ve all become professors now, and you’re all outstanding in what you do, but I want to ask you this—have you used your tenure to go up against the system that we’re in? Have you spoken out?’”

With great admiration for Dr. Eisenberg’s contributions to psychiatry, medical education and human rights, the entire PHR staff extends our condolences to his wife, Carola; to his family; and to all who have been his friends, colleagues and students.