Leon Eisenberg

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Leon Eisenberg
BornAugust 8, 1922
DiedSeptember 15, 2009(2009-09-15) (aged 87)
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania, BA, MD
OccupationChild psychiatrist, social psychiatrist, medical educator
Spouse(s)Ruth Harriet Bleier, MD
Carola Eisenberg, MD
ChildrenMark Philip Eisenberg, MD;
Kathy Bleier Eisenberg,
Alan Edward Guttmacher, MD (stepson);
Laurence Guttmacher, MD (stepson)

Leon Eisenberg, (August 8, 1922 – September 15, 2009)[1] was an American child psychiatrist, social psychiatrist[2] and medical educator who "transformed child psychiatry by advocating research into developmental problems"[3]

He is credited with a number of "firsts" in medicine and psychiatry - in child psychiatry, autism, and the controversies around autism, randomized clinical trials (RCTs), social medicine, global health, affirmative action,[4] and evidence-based psychiatry. Having retired in 1967 from Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Child and adolescent psychiatry (he was the chairman of the department after Leo Kanner)[5] and from Harvard Medical School in 1988, he continued as The Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Social Medicine and Psychiatry Emeritus (and actively serving - lecturing, researching and writing, and mentoring) in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine of the Harvard Medical School in the Longwood Medical Area of Boston until a few months before his death in 2009. He received both his BA and MD degrees from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, taught previously at both the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University, and was Chief of Psychiatry at both Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston during formative periods in psychiatry for each institution.[6]

Medical accomplishments[edit]

The reasons Leon Eisenberg is listed as a famous figure in world and American psychiatry are numerous; here are eight select reasons. Leon Eisenberg identified rapid return to school as the key to treatment in the management of the separation anxiety underlying school phobia. He completed the first outcome study of autistic children in adolescence and recognized patterns of language use as the best predictor of prognosis. Of the two first studies of the outcome of infantile autism, he reported the American study in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1956, and the UK study was reported in JCPP shortly afterward by Victor Lotter[dead link] and Sir Michael Rutter. That was a time when a narrow rather than a broad definition of autism was in fashion. It is of interest that the poor prognosis was evident both in the narrowly and broadly defined cases and that, because many of the cases now called autistic would have been called "mental retardation: moderate to severe", they would have joined other such children with a relatively poor outcome.

He was Principal Investigator (PI) on the first grant from the Psychopharmacology Branch of NIMH for RCTs in child psychopharmacology. From a concern for evidence-based care, well before the phrase was coined, he introduced randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in psychopharmacology and showed that "tranquilizing" drugs were inferior to placebo in the treatment of anxiety disorders, whereas stimulant drugs were effective in controlling hyperactivity. He completed the first RCTs of psychiatric consultation to social agencies and of the utility of brief psychotherapy in anxiety disorders. He published a forceful critique of Konrad Lorenz's instinct theory. He established the usefulness of distinguishing "disease" from "illness". He has highlighted the environmental context as a determinant of the phenotype emerging from a given genotype, and from the late 1990s through 2006, he had been involved with developing conferences and resources for medical educators in various specialties that would help them incorporate, into courses with their current and future students, the tidal wave of new information in genomics yet to puzzle future clinicians. This interest may have been encouraged by his stepson, Dr. Alan Guttmacher, then Acting Head of the National Human Genome Research Institute. For many decades, Leon Eisenberg had criticized psychoanalysis from a number of platforms.

The scientific contributions of Dr. Eisenberg include:

  • the first longitudinal follow-up of Leo Kanner's original cases of autism
  • a study that identified the roots of social phobia in parental anxiety
  • the first clinical trial of the effectiveness of psychiatric consultation in a social agency
  • the first randomized controlled trial in childhood psychopharmacology
  • the first randomized controlled trial of stimulant drugs in adolescents
  • the first randomized clinical trial of brief psychotherapy
  • a forceful critique of Lorenz's theory of instincts and imprinting
  • an early statement of the distinction between "disease" (what doctors deal with) and "illness" (what patients suffer)
  • a widely cited critique of the oscillation of psychiatry between brain-centered and mind-centered approaches arguing for the integration of the two
  • a synthesis of the evidence on the importance of training primary care physicians to recognize and treat depression
  • papers that highlight the molding of the brain structure by social experience
  • publications putting inheritance in an environmental context as a determinant of risk and resilience.
  • Called "the father of prevention science in psychiatry"[7]

Specific publications referring to the above achievements are contained in his bibliography

Leon Eisenberg was proudest of the Diversity Lifetime Achievement Award he received in 2001 for his role in inaugurating affirmative action at HMS in 1968 and sustaining it as Chairman of the Admissions Committee from 1969 to 1974. He regards that as his most important contribution to Harvard Medical School.

He and his wife, Dr. Carola B. Eisenberg, former Dean of Students, first at MIT, then at Harvard Medical School, had been active with Physicians for Human Rights, which as an organization received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for its International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

In mid-2009 (June 22, 2009), a Leon Eisenberg Chair in Child Psychiatry was named at Children's Hospital Boston. The first chairholder of the Leon Eisenberg Professorship in Child Psychiatry is David R. DeMaso, MD, HMS Professor of Psychiatry and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Children's Hospital Boston.

His brief (~30 pages) autographical memoir (a walk through the history of psychiatry) was published posthumously by Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica - in mid- or late-2010) "Were we asleep at the switch?" [See below] was written from his home.


Among his friends and professional colleagues, Leon Eisenberg was known for his humor and friendly wit which he shared in lectures, publications, and even as Recording Secretary for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (sometimes in the form of haiku).[8]

Attendees at the Annual Leon Eisenberg Award at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts, end the evening - after the Awardee's lecture - with informal sharing of 'Leon's jokes to the best of our memories.' While it is often assumed that these quips and stories were Eisenberg originals, research shows that many if not most - or even all - 'had a prior history' (sometimes a very long history).

One example of 'an original' related to healthcare and medicine is:

The embarrassingly poor outcomes of the painfully expensive US healthcare system can be summed up in the words of Dolly Parton, "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!"

Collecting his humor is difficult (often it was in personal e-mails), but many agree that a few typical scenarios recurred:

  • Several persons of different social backgrounds involved in a difficult, odd, or even humorous situation, usually with a Jewish psychiatrist or a rabbi [often exploring social nuances and varying or even contrasting perceptions].
  • A very wise person involved with something very unusual [e.g. Chinese mathematician sipping tea (often a tale about moral outrage)].
  • A well-known historical event [e.g. The last survivor of the Johnstown Flood (about humility before highly accomplished and esteemed professional colleagues)].[9] However, the late Senator Ted Kennedy is also credited with this story.[10]
  • Poetry (often haiku)

Close friends (and fans) described his stories as customized for each occasion (so they never tired of hearing the same stories repeated because, with customization, they never were truly the same story or joke).

Former President of Case Institute of Technology (then Case-Western Reserve), Dr. Edward M. Hundert, while he was a medical student (class of 1984) at Harvard Medical School, played the part of Leon Eisenberg in the HMS Class Folies, in which (as his character) he sang the supposedly satirical but actually most complimentary tune, "I feel witty!"


Leon Eisenberg died of prostate cancer at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 15, 2009.[11]

Memorial Services were held at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in September 2009, and in Boston, Massachusetts, in the New Research Building at the Harvard Medical School, on March 12, 2010.

Timeline of Leon Eisenberg's life and achievements[edit]

Eisenberg in 2007
  • 1922 - Born in Philadelphia, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants
  • 1934-1939 Attended Olney High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • 1938-1939 - Editor of Olney High School newspaper
  • 1939 - Graduation from Olney High School, Philadelphia PA; won a Mayor's Scholarship to College (based on the College Entrance Board Examinations).
  • 1942 - Leo Kanner identified 11 boys with unusual constellation of traits—extreme social isolation, an inability to look people in the eye, a preoccupation with objects and ritual, and hand-flicking and other repetitive movements.
  • 1944 - AB - College of University of Pennsylvania (nearly straight As)
  • 1944 - Applied to medical schools with nearly straight A's in college; turned down by all those schools; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine accepts him after intervention by Pennsylvania legislator on behalf of outstanding student Leon Eisenberg.
  • 1946 - Graduated valedictorian of his medical school class but denied (along with the seven other Jews who applied) an internship at the University of Pennsylvania hospital; went to Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City instead
  • 1946 - MD - University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • 1946 1947 - Rotating Intern, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City (discovered psychiatry)
  • 1947-1948 - Instructor in Physiology, University of Pennsylvania
  • 1948-1950 - Instructor in Basic Science Program, Walter Reed Hospital
  • 1948-1950 - Captain, Medical Corps, U.S. Army
  • 1950 1952 - Psychiatric Resident, Sheppard Pratt Hospital, Towson, MD.
  • 1952 1954 - Fellow in Child Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD - works with the great psychiatrist, Leo Kanner. Eisenberg would join him in his exploration of the newly identified psychiatric disorder, early infantile autism,[12] paying special attention to the social, and especially, the family setting of the children in which it appeared. Becomes Kanner's protégé and spread his mentor's Refrigerator mother theory until the end of the fifties. For example, in 1955 he told Johns Hopkins Medical Association that the case of a mother who let one of her baby twins die because he was crying off scientific schedule "can serve as a paradigm of the emotional refrigeration that has been the common lot of the autistic child."[13] Later he seemed to regret this period and said his doubts about psychoanalysis were encouraged by Leo Kanner.[14]
  • 1953-1955 - Instructor in Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University
  • 1955 (Dec) - Certified in Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • 1958-1961 - Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University (Became Chief of Child Psychiatry 2 years before actual promotion to full Professor)
  • 1959 - Became Chief of Child Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins upon the retirement of Leo Kanner (became Full Professor 2 years later, in 1961)
  • 1959-1967 - Chief of Child Psychiatry, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • 1960 (May) - Certified in Child Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • 1961-1967 - Professor of Child Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University
  • 1962 - Eisenberg launched the first randomized clinical trial of a psychiatric medicine (childhood clinical psychopharmacology)
  • 1967 - AM (Hon) Harvard University
  • 1967-1974 - Chief, Psychiatric Services, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • 1967 - only months after arriving to chair the Psychiatry Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, Eisenberg was asked to join a small committee, including HMS Professors Jon Beckwith, Ed Kravitz, and David Potter, that was pushing to increase the number of African-American students at the Medical School.
  • 1967-1993 - Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
  • 1969 - first HMS entering class to include black students, who had been recruited through the efforts of Eisenberg and his colleagues
  • 1973 - DSc (Hon) University of Manchester, England
  • 1973-1980 - Chairman, Executive Committee, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
  • 1974-1977 - Member, Board of Consultation, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • 1974-1980 - Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
  • 1974-1992 - Senior Associate in Psychiatry, Children's Hospital Medical Center
  • 1977-2009 - Honorary Psychiatrist, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • 1980-1991 - Chairman, Department of Social Medicine and Health Policy, Harvard Medical School (invited by then HMS Dean Daniel Tosteson)
  • 1980-1993 - Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Social Medicine
  • 1987 - Named Senior Fellow of the Harvard Program in Ethics and the Professions, later to become the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University, for which a partial history is outlined on their website.
  • 1991 - DSc (Hon) - University of Massachusetts
  • 1992-2009 - Honorary Senior Staff Psychiatrist, Children's Hospital, Boston
  • 1993 - Retirement from Harvard Medical School (then mandatory at age 65); becomes Professor Emeritus; continued to serve actively without pay but with his original chairman's office
  • 1993-2009 - Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Social Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School
  • 2009 - Leon Eisenberg Chair of Child Psychiatry named at Children's Hospital Boston.
  • 2009 - Death at home (September 15)

Memberships, offices, and committee assignments in professional societies[edit]

Editorial boards[edit]

  • Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (1960–1983)
  • Journal of Psychiatric Research (1962–1993)
  • Child Development (1962–2009)
  • American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (1963–1973)
  • Communications in Behavioral Biology (1967–1972)
  • Comprehensive Psychiatry (1971)
  • Social Psychiatry (1971–1982)
  • Psychosomatic Medicine (1972–1976)
  • Journal of Pediatrics (1974–1980)
  • Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry (1977)
  • Psychological Medicine (1977–1990)
  • International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology Research (1981–2000)
  • The Future of Children (1991–2009) [or was it 2004?]
  • American Journal of Psychiatry (2005–2009)

Academic committees[edit]

Leon Eisenberg served on seemingly countless academic and other committees at Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Children's Hospital Boston. He was typically among the first thought and invited to such committees because of his breadth.

Attempts to identify a full set of such committees are proceeding.

Themes of most recent writing[edit]

Leon Eisenberg is credited by numerous colleagues with "simple and direct" prose (Arthur Kleinman, Norma Ware, etc.). He will be remembered most for his writings in these areas, though his encyclopedic comprehension reached much more broadly:

  • Evidence-based medicine
    • Capacity of academics to accept ideas that are absurd and later rejected
  • Why and how did psychoanalysis come to be so dominant for so long (the triumph of psychopharmacology over psychotherapy and changes in the way care was financed) has been explored repeatedly, but outlined here in two papers for different Josiah Macy Conferences:
    • "Modern Psychiatry: Challenges in Educating Health Professionals to Meet New Needs"
    • "The Challenge of Neuroscience: Behavioral Science, Neurology, and Psychiatry"
  • Diagnostic classifications (see below) - a theme continued from the very beginning of his career
  • Human rights of patients
  • Conflict of Interest (COI) in the Practice of Psychiatry and Medicine
    • Issues in rewriting the entire psychiatric taxonomy at one time (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders = DSM): COI, empirical evidence to support DSM changes, timing of revisions
    • Complicity of the medical and psychiatric professionals in torture.
    • Criticizing the replacement of patient interests with the profit motive in healthcare.[18]
    • The relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and medical education through sponsorship and educational programs.
  • Integration of genetics in health professional education[19]
  • Resolving the conflict between integrative medicine and evidence-based biomedicine[20][21]

Later autobiographical reflections: "Were We Asleep at the Switch?"[edit]

Leon Eisenberg had written from his home a 'mini-autobiography' which he named "Were We Asleep at the Switch?".[22] Eisenberg suggested that a switch from 'mind' to 'body' has taken place in psychiatry as a discipline, which led to overuse of medication. He also argued that, while medical scientists were worrying about the tedious science at the base of medical practice and healthcare decisions for the general public, "money" and monied interests had been making de facto decisions for the populace about how things that affected them deeply were going to be done. In this view, the overwhelming impact of economic considerations over emerging bodies of expert knowledge may have rendered and might continue to render futile the professional contributions of many brilliant, timely, and concerned working scientists.

A 2012 article in the German weekly publication Der Spiegel gives an account of an interview Eisenberg gave in 2009, seven months before his death. It quotes him as saying, "ADHD is a prime example of a fabricated disease. ... The genetic predisposition to ADHD is completely overrated." Instead of prescribing a 'pill', Eisenberg said, psychiatrists should determine whether there are psychosocial reasons that could lead to behavioral problems.[23]

Earliest papers[edit]

  • Bazett HC, Love L, Newton L, Eisenberg L, Day R, Forster R. (1948) Temperature changes in blood flowing in arteries and veins in man. J Appl Physiol. pp. 1:3-19.
  • Eisenberg L. (1953) Treatment of the emotionally disturbed pre-adolescent child. Proc Child Research Clinic Woods Schools. 35:30-41.
  • Kanner L and Eisenberg L. Child psychiatry; mental deficiency. American Journal of Psychiatry 1955: 111:520-523.
  • Eisenberg, L. (1956), The autistic child in adolescence. American Journal of Psychiatry 112, pp. 607–612. Reprinted in: Alexander et al., eds. Psychopathology Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959.
  • Kanner L and Eisenberg L. Child psychiatry; mental deficiency. Am J Psychiat. 1956; 112:531-534.
  • Kanner, L. & Eisenberg, L. (1956), Early Infantile Autism 1943–1955, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 26, pp. 55–65. Reprinted in: Alexander et al., eds. Op. cit. Reprinted in Psychiat. Res. Repts. 1957 (April), American Psychiatric Assn., pp. 55–65.
  • Eisenberg L. The parent-child relationship and the physician. AMA J Dis of Children. 1956; 91:153-157.
  • Eisenberg L. Dynamic considerations underlying the management of the brain-damaged child. GP. 1956; 14:101-106.
  • Glaser K and Eisenberg L. Maternal deprivation. Pediatrics 1956; 18:626-642.
  • Kanner L and Eisenberg L. Child psychiatry: mental deficiency. Am J Psychiat. 1957; 113:617.
  • Eisenberg L. Psychiatric implications of brain damage in children. Psychiatric Quarterly. 1957; 31:72-92.
  • Eisenberg L. Progress in neuropsychiatry. J Ped. 1957; 51:334-349.
  • Eisenberg L. The course of childhood schizophrenia. Arch Neurol Psychiat. 1957; 78:69-83.
  • Kanner L and Eisenberg L. Childhood problems in relation to the family. Pediatrics 1957; 20:155-164.
  • Eisenberg L. The fathers of autistic children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 1957; 27:715-724.
  • Kanner L and Eisenberg L. Child psychiatry; mental deficiency. Am J Psychiat. 1958; 114:609-615.
  • Eisenberg L. School phobia: a study in the communication of anxiety. Am J Psychiat. 1958; 114:712-718. Reprinted in: Trapp EP and Himmelstein P, eds. Readings on the exceptional child. New York: Appleton, 1962. Reprinted in: Bobbs-Merrill Reprint Series in the Social Sciences, 1966, p. 433. Reprinted in: Davids A, ed. Issues in abnormal child psychology. California: Brooks/Cole, 1973.
  • Eisenberg L. Discussion: roundtable symposium on desegregation (segregation-integration). Am J Orthopsychiat. 1958; 28:33-35.
  • Eisenberg L. An evaluation of psychiatric consultation service for a public agency. Am J Public Health. 1958; 48(6):742-749.
  • Eisenberg L. Emotional determinants of mental deficiency. Arch Neurol Psychiat. 1958; 80:114-121.
  • Eisenberg L. Diagnosis, genesis, and clinical management of school phobia. Ped Clin North America. 1958 (August); 645–666.
  • Eisenberg L, Marlowe B and Hastings M. Diagnostic services for maladjusted foster children: An orientation toward an acute need. Am J Orthopsychiat. 1958; 28(4):750-763.
  • Kanner L and Eisenberg L. Child psychiatry and mental deficiency. Am J Psychiat. 1959; 115:608-611.
  • Eisenberg L, Ascher E and Kanner L. A clinical study of Gilles de la Tourette's disease (maladie des tics) in children. Am J Psychiat. 1959; 115:715-523.
  • Eisenberg L. Office evaluation of specific reading disability in children. Pediatrics. 1959 (May); 23(5):997-1003.
  • Rodriguez A, Rodriguez M, and Eisenberg L. The outcome of school phobia: a follow up study. Am J Psychiat. 1959 (December); 116:540-544.
  • Eisenberg L. The pediatric management of school phobia. J Pediatrics. 1959 (December); 55(6):758-766.
  • Eisenberg L. Child psychiatry; mental deficiency. Am J Psychiat. 1960; 116:604.
  • Eisenberg L. Conceptual problems in relating brain and behavior. Am J Orthopsychiat. 1960; 30:37-48.
  • Cytryn L, Gilbert A, and Eisenberg L. The effectiveness of tranquilizing drugs plus supportive psychotherapy in treating behavior disorders of children. Am J Orthopsychiat. 1960; 30:113-129.
  • Eisenberg L. The challenge of change. Child Welfare. 1960 (April); 39:11-18.
  • Lesser LI, Ashenden BJ, Debuskey M, and Eisenberg L. A clinical study of anorexia nervosa in children. Am J Orthopsychiat. 1960; 30:572-580.
  • Eisenberg L and Gruenberg EM. The current status of secondary prevention in child psychiatry. Am J Orthopsychiat. 1961; 31:355-367.
  • Eisenberg L, Gilbert A, Cytryn L, and Molling PA. The effectiveness of psychotherapy alone and in conjunction with perphenazine and placebo in the treatment of neurotic and hyperkinetic children. Am J Psychiat. 1961; 117:1088-1093.
  • Bahn AK, Chandler CA, and Eisenberg L. Diagnostic and demographic characteristics of patients seen in outpatient psychiatric clinics for an entire state (Maryland): implications for the psychiatrist and the mental health program planner. Am J Psychiat. 1961 (March); 117:769-777.
  • Eisenberg L. The strategic deployment of the child psychiatrist in preventive psychiatry. J Child Psychol Psychiat. 1961; 2:229-241. Reprinted in: Proc III World Congress on Psychiatry. Montreal, 1961, pp. 280–284.
  • Eisenberg L. Child psychiatry; mental deficiency 1960. Am J Psychiat. 1961 (January); 117:601-604.
  • Eisenberg L, Landowne EJ, Wilner DM and Imber SD. The use of teacher ratings in a mental health study: a method for measuring the effectiveness of a therapeutic nursery program. Am J Pub Hlth. 1962 (January); 52:18-28.
  • Eisenberg L. The sins of the fathers: urban decay and social pathology. Am J Orthopsychiat. 1962 (January); 32:5-17. Presented as lecture at 55th Annual Meeting of The Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, June 4, 1968.
  • Bahn A, Chandler C and Eisenberg L. Diagnostic characteristics related to services in psychiatric clinics for children. Milbank Mem Fund Quart. 1962 (July); 40:289-318.
  • Molling P, Lockner A, Sauls R and Eisenberg L. Committed delinquent boys: The impact of perphenazine and placebo. Arch Gen Psychiat. 1962 (July); 1:70-76.
  • Eisenberg L. Preventive psychiatry. Annu Rev Med. 1962; 13:343-360.
  • Eisenberg L. Child psychiatry; mental deficiency. Am J Psychiat. 1962; 118:600-605.
  • Eisenberg L. Possibilities for a preventive psychiatry. Pediatrics. 1962; 30:815-828.
  • Eisenberg L. If not now, when? Am J Orthopsychiat. 1962; 32:781-793. Reprinted in: Canada's Mental Health Suppl #36, April 1963. Reprinted in: World Mental Health. 1963; 5:48-64. Reprinted in: David HP, ed. International Trends in Mental Health. New York: McGraw Hill, 1965. Reprinted in: Child and Family. 1965(1); 4:84-91.
  • Eisenberg L, Lachman R, Molling P, Lockner A, Mizelle J and Conners K. A psychopharmacologic study in a training school for delinquent boys. Am J Orthopsychiat. 1963 (April); 33:431-447.
  • Oleinick M, Bahn A, Eisenberg L, and Lilienfeld A. Early socialization experiences and intrafamilial environment. Archives of General Psychiatry 1966 (October); 15:344-353.

Select publications[edit]

  • Eisenberg, L. "Can Human Emotions Be Changed?" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January 1966, p. 29.
  • Eisenberg L. Clinical considerations in the psychiatric evaluation of intelligence. In: Zubin J and Jervis GA, Eds. Psychopathology of mental development. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1967:502 513.
  • Eisenberg L. Social class and individual development. In: Robert W. Gibson, Ed. Crosscurrents in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. Philadelphia and Toronto: J.B. Lippincott, 1967. London: Pitman Medical. 1968. [Cited (1981) in Sir Michael Rutter's Maternal Deprivation Reassessed, Penguin Modern Psychology.]
  • Eisenberg L. The social development of human intelligence. Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin 1968; 43:2-7; reprinted (1969) in H. Freemen, Ed. Progress in Mental Health. Churchill.
  • Eisenberg L, Berlin, CI, Dill A and Frank S. Class and race effects on the intelligibility of monosyllables. Child Development 1968 (December);39(4):1077-1089.
  • Eisenberg L. Au-dela de l'heridite: le test de l'evolution. La Psychiatrie de l'Enfant. 1968; 11:572-588.
  • Eisenberg L. The interaction of biological and experiential factors in schizophrenia. Journal of Psychiatric Research 1968 (November, Supplement #1);6:403-409.
  • Eisenberg L. Child psychiatry: the past quarter century. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 1969(April); 39(3):389-401. Reprinted in: Davids A, Ed. Issues in abnormal child psychology. California: Brooks/Cole, 1973.
  • Koupernik C and Eisenberg L. Réflexions sur l'autisme infantile (1943–1969) [Reflections on infantile autism (1943–1969)]. Confrontations Psychiatriques (Psychiatric Confrontations). 1969; 2(3):31-55.
  • Conners CK, Rothschild G, Eisenberg L, Schwartz LS and Robinson E. Dextroamphetamine sulfate in children with learning disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry 1969 (August);21:182-190.
  • Rutter M, Lebovici S, Eisenberg L, Sneznevskij A V, Sadoun R, Brooke E and Lin T Y. A triaxial classification of mental disorders in childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 1969 (December);10:41-61. [Cited (1981) in Sir Michael Rutter's Maternal Deprivation Reassessed, Penguin Modern Psychology.]
  • Eisenberg, L. "The Human Nature of Human Nature" Science, vol.176, 1972, p. 126.
  • Eisenberg L. "Psychiatric intervention" Scientific American 229; 116 127. Reprinted in: Humber JM and Almeder RF (Eds.) Biomedical Ethics and the Law. New York: Plenum, 1976. Reprinted in: Humber JM and Almeder RF (Eds.) Biomedical Ethics and the Law. 2nd Edition. New York: Plenum, 1979, pp. 109 120.
  • Eisenberg L. The perils of prevention: a cautionary note. New England Journal of Medicine 1977 (December 1);297:1230 1232.
  • Eisenberg L. Introduction. In: Marmor J. Psychiatry in transition. New York: Bruner/Mazel, 1974:v viii.
  • Eisenberg L. Foreword. In: Thomas A and Chess S. The dynamics of psychological development. New York: Bruner/Mazel, 1980:ix xvii.
  • Eisenberg, L. "Mindlessness and brainlessness in psychiatry" The Eli Lilly Lecture, Winter Quarterly Meeting. Royal College of Psychiatrists, London, 21 January 1986. British Journal of Psychiatry 1986;148:497-508.
  • Eisenberg, L. "Rudolf Virchow: the physician as politician" Medicine and War 1986;2(4):243-250.
  • Eisenberg, L. "From circumstance to mechanism in pediatrics during the Hopkins century. Pediatrics. 1990; 85:42-49.
  • Eisenberg, L. "Subject and object in the grammar of medicine" Penn Medicine 1992(Fall);6:18-28.
  • Eisenberg L. "The Social Construction of the Human Brain", American Journal of Psychiatry 152: 1563–1575, 1995. Translated into Italian as: La Costruzione Sociale Del Cervello Umano Sapere 62(5):46-58, 1996.
  • Eisenberg L. "Nature, niche and nurture: the role of social experience in transforming genotype into phenotype." Academic Psychiatry. 1998; 22:213-222. Reprinted in Epidemiologia E Psichiatria Sociale 1999; 8:190-7. Translated as: Naturaleza, Entorno Y Crianza. El Papel de la Experiencia Social en la Transformacion del Genotipo en Fenotipo. Psychiatria Publica 1999; 11:139-46 .
  • Eisenberg L. "Would cloned human beings be like sheep?" New England Journal of Medicine. 1999; 340: 471–475. Reprinted in Klotzko AJ (Ed) (2001) The Cloning Source Book. N.Y., Oxford University Press pp. 70–79.
  • Eisenberg, L. "Does social medicine still matter in an era of molecular medicine?" Journal of Urban Health 1999; 76: 164–175.
  • Eisenberg, L. "Whatever Happened to the Faculty on the Way to the Agora?" Archives of Internal Medicine 1999;125:251-6.
  • Eisenberg, L. "Is Psychiatry More Mindful or Brainier than it was a Decade Ago?" British Journal of Psychiatry. 2000;176.1-5.
  • Eisenberg, L. "Good Technical Outcome, Poor Service Experience: A Verdict on Contemporary Medical Care?" Journal of the American Medical Association 2001;285:2639-2641; in reply. Journal of the American Medical Association 2001;286:1315.
  • Eisenberg, L. "From Molecules to Mind" Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal 2002;7:3.
  • Eisenberg, L. "Social Psychiatry and the Human Genome: Contextualizing Heritability" British Journal of Psychiatry 2004;184:101-103.
  • Eisenberg L. "Letter to the Editor: Which Image for Lorenz?" American Journal of Psychiatry 2004;161:1760.
  • Eisenberg L. "When "ADHD" was "the Brain-Damaged Child"", Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 2007;17(3):279-283.
  • Eisenberg L. cowritten with Javad Nurbakhsh; and Hamideh Jahangiri; Handbook of Psychiatry volume 29 ISBN 978-620-0-48143-6, 2019.

Many of Leon Eisenberg's books and papers have been translated into both European and non-European languages and have been widely cited.

Papers written from consulting[edit]

Kleinman A, Eisenberg L, Desjarlais R (Eds) (1995), World Mental Health: Priorities and Problems in Low-Income Countries[permanent dead link]. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Translated into Spanish as: Salud Mental en el Mundo by I. Levav and R. Gonzalez and published by Organizacion Pan Americana del Salud, Washington, 1997.
  • Translated into Italian as: [La Salute Mentale nel Mondo: Problemi e priorità La Salute Mentale nel Mondo: Problemi e priorità nelle popolazioni a basso reddito] by C. Belotti, G. de Girolamo, A. Fioritti, and V. Melaga and published by Il Mulino/Alfa tape, Bologna, Italy, 1998.[24][25]
  • Translated into Ukrainian 2001.


Awards named for Leon Eisenberg[edit]

Several late-in-life and posthumous awards were developed to continue the historic legacy of Leon Eisenberg.[26]

The Award Ceremony involves a dinner at the Harvard Faculty Club with testimonies, presentation, celebration of Leon Eisenberg's jokes, and Grand Rounds with lecture the following morning in Judah Folkman Auditorium at Children's Hospital Boston.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Boston Globe obituary
  2. ^ The Creation of Psychopharmacology, David Healy, 2002, cites Eisenberg's role in evidence-based social psychiatry
  3. ^ Obituaries:Leon Eisenberg
  4. ^ Shanks Thirty Years of Affirmative Action at Harvard Medical School: A Mixed Method Program Evaluation, U Mass EdD Thesis by Alane Shanks (2004)
  5. ^ Kanner L and Eisenberg L. Child psychiatry; mental deficiency. American Journal of Psychiatry 1955: 111:520-523
  6. ^ Leon Eisenberg papers, 1905-2009 (inclusive), 1968-2005 (bulk). HMS c196. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.
  7. ^ Video of the announcement of the Leon Eisenberg Chair in Psychiatry at Children's Hospital Boston, in which Dr. William Beardslee, a colleague, notes the grounds for Eisenberg's being considered the founder of preventive psychiatry[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ AmAcad
  9. ^ This story was retold by colleague Dr. Arthur Kleinman at the announcement of the Leon Eisenberg Chair at Children's Hospital Boston, between 1:13:00 and 1:14:00.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ David. Teaching flood preparedness to Noah. It's Not a Lecture: A blog by Wescott Strategic Communications. December 6, 2013
  11. ^ Benedict Carey, Dr. Leon Eisenberg, Pioneer in Autism Studies, Dies at 87 The New York Times. Retrieved on October 3, 2009.
  12. ^ Kanner L., Early Infantile Autism, september 1944, Journal of Pediatrics, 25, 3, 211-217, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-3476(44)80156-1
  13. ^ Child 'autism' is described, The Baltimore Sun, February 26, 1955, page 6
  14. ^ Eisenberg L., August 2010, Were we all asleep at the switch? A personal reminiscence of psychiatry from 1940 to 2010, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, volume 122, issue 2, 189-102, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2010.01544.x
  15. ^ Women and Medicine: Proceedings of a Conference Chaired by Catherine D. DeAngelis, MD, MPH
  16. ^ Macy Conferences Women and Medicine To be held in November 2006 Chairman: Catherine D. DeAngelis, M.D., M.P.H. in 2005 Josiah Macy, Jr.Foundation Annual Report, p. 56
  17. ^ “Women and Medicine” Conference An allocation to support a Macy Conference on "Women and Medicine" held in Bermuda in November–December, 2006 ($350,000). Chairperson: Catherine DeAngelis, M.D., M.P.H., R.N., pp. 52-53 of printed book
  18. ^ Eisenberg, L. Marketplace Medicine: Prescription for Disaster. Academe: Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors 1999;85:26-30
  19. ^ A series of annual conferences on the future of integrating the avalanche of genetics research results from biomedical research in health professional education was sponsored by the Josiah Macy Foundation and coordinated from Leon Eisenberg's office at Harvard Medical School
  20. ^ Eisenberg, L. 2000. Why is there a conflict between complementary and alternative medicine and the medical establishment? Education of Health Professionals in Complementary/Alternative Medicine: Proceedings of a Conference Chaired by Alfred P. Fishman, MD, Edited by Mary Hager. Phoenix, Arizona, November 2–5, 2000. Sponsored by Josiah Macy Foundation.
  21. ^ Eisenberg, L. 2002. Complementary and Alternative Medicine: What Is Its Role? Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 10(4), pp. 221-230. Published online: 03 Jul 2009
  22. ^ Leon Eisenberg and Laurence B. Guttmacher, Were we all asleep at the switch? A personal reminiscence of psychiatry from 1940 to 2010, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 2010, vol. 122, Issue 2, pp. 89-102
  23. ^ Jörg Von Blech, Schwermut ohne Scham, Der Spiegel, 2012, Issue 6
  24. ^ Online reference in Territori per la Salute Mentale through Google Books
  25. ^ [Online reference in La cura degli altri. Seminari di etnopsichiatria edited by Luigi Attenasio through Google Books]
  26. ^ "Eisenberg Name Associated with Two New Honors, 23 Apr 2010". Archived from the original on 7 July 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  27. ^ LEND Boston bio
  28. ^ Amazon Author page for James C. Harris, MD
  29. ^ Luis Salvador Carulla - Google Scholar Citations
  30. ^ Face perception
  31. ^ "Bucharest Early Intervention Project". Archived from the original on 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
  32. ^ Deinstitutionalisation (orphanages and children's institutions)
  33. ^ Springer link to Dr. Janina R. Galler's famous 1984 book, Nutrition and Behavior, part of a 5-volume series, Human Nutrition: A Comprehensive Treatise, which she co-edited; DOI 10.1007/978-1-4615-7219-0; Print ISBN 978-1-4615-7221-3; Online ISBN 978-1-4615-7219-0
  34. ^ Harvard Catalyst page for Janina R. Geller, MD
  35. ^ NCBI PubMed publications list for Janina R. Geller, MD
  36. ^ Janina R. Geller, MD, profile page at MGH
  37. ^ Dr. Janina R. Geller's ResearchGate profile
  38. ^ Eisenberg Name Associated with Two New Honors

External links[edit]