Carola Eisenberg Dies at 103; Helped Begin Physicians for Human Rights

The medical group and another advocacy group, Human Rights Watch, exposed the threats to public health, especially children, from anti-personnel landmines in Cambodia. In a report she called for an international ban on these weapons. The group of doctors then teamed up with five other organizations to form the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

In a statement by Dr. Eisenberg’s death praised Alan Jones, chairman of the board of Physicians for Human Rights, for “the unfathomable number of lives she could touch, improve, ease and save”.

Caroline Blitzman was born on September 15, 1917 in Buenos Aires, the second of three daughters. Her father, Bernardo Blitzman, had emigrated to Argentina from Russia as a baby; Her mother, Teodora (Kahn) Blitzman, came from the Ukraine. Caroline grew up across the street from a slaughterhouse where her father was an executive hides.

After graduating from high school, she trained as a psychiatric social worker at the Hospicio de las Mercedes (now José Tiburcio Borda’s municipal hospital) in Buenos Aires before embarking on a medical career.

“I had to go into medicine to do more than just give the families tickets at Christmas time to get a turkey,” she said in a 2008 interview with the Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine.

In 1944 she graduated from the University of Buenos Aires with a degree in medicine.

Dr. Eisenberg was trained instead at Johns Hopkins University under the guidance of Dr. Leo Kanner, who recently coined the term autism. She worked with him at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

She then moved to the Johns Hopkins Medical School and practiced psychiatry until 1968 when she became a psychiatrist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Student Health Service.

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