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John M. Eisenberg Papers 1933-2002
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Administrative materials, research files, correspondence, journal articles, audiovisual materials, biographical material, and photographs (1933-2002; 113 linear feet) document the medical career of John M. Eisenberg, MD, former Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Materials cover Eisenberg's education at Princeton University and his careers at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, and AHRQ. The collection is evenly divided between research and administrative materials used by Eisenberg in speeches, lectures, writings, and management responsibilities.

The collection comprises nine series: Administrative Materials, 1971-2002; Correspondence, 1969-2002; Personal and Biographical, 1962-1976; Professional Organizations, Projects, and Contacts, 1979-2000; Publications, 1933-2001; Reports/Research Papers, 1974-2002; Audiovisual Material, 1980-2002; Photographs, 1993-1996; and Computer Disks, 1992-1997.

Created in 1989, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality housed within the department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and formerly known as the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research supports program evaluation and research projects that aim to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare. Work supported by the agency strives to help Americans make educated decisions in their choice of healthcare services and providers. The AHRQ carries out the "health services research continuum" through its five Centers. These Centers include the Center for Outcomes and Evidence, Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships, Center for Delivery, Organization, and Markets, Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, and the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety.

Many of his research methods focused on evidence-based medicine (EBM), the practice of making medical decisions through judicious identification, evaluation, and application of the most relevant published information. Eisenberg's research methodology depended heavily on vociferous reading of relevant publications and articles, internalizing the issues, and then formulating his own opinions for speeches, policy making, or his own writing. Therefore the collection contains a significant amount of photocopied and clipped articles on medical issues from newspapers, journals, and magazines which can be found in Series I: Administrative Materials, Series V: Publications, and Series VI: Reports and Research Papers. A significant amount of these materials have no citations.

Of significant interest is Series VII: Audiovisual Material, which contains audio and video cassettes from 1980 to 2002 that document Eisenberg's plans and proposals for quality healthcare. These cassettes contain his lectures at many institutions and his interviews on numerous television and radio programs concerning healthcare quality. Documentation concerning location and dates on some tapes is poor but nonetheless this series give unique insight to Eisenberg's philosophy on healthcare.

Series VIII: Computer Disks, contains both computer disks maintained by Dr. Eisenberg from 1992 to 1997 as well as paper copies of all the files on the disks which were able to be opened. These are primarily correspondence and reports.


This series contains a variety of records related to Eisenberg's day-to-day administrative responsibilities at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Items in this series include annual reports, budgets, conference notes and packets, date books, meeting minutes, notes, and subject files. There are three sub-series: the University of Pennsylvania, 1974-1991, Georgetown University, 1991-1997, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 1997-2001. The sub-series are arranged chronologically and the file folders are alphabetical within in each sub-series.

The Subject sub-sub-series contains the bulk of Eisenberg's administrative files generated during his tenure at AHRQ. Subjects include items relating to HHS divisions, AHRQ divisions, healthcare advocacy groups, and selected research topics. Of special interest are the Reauthorization" file folders which details the agencies reauthorization struggles of 1999 including reports and Senate testimony describing the successes and failures of the organization during Eisenberg's administration. In order to preserve Eisenberg's original filing order this sub-sub-series also contains correspondence as filed by Eisenberg. This sub-sub-series is arranged alphabetically by file folder and chronologically by item. Where appropriate topical areas are further arranged by correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, etc. Subjects A through B and J through L were mistakenly destroyed by AHRQ.


This series contains Eisenberg's professional correspondence files. Three sub-series cover his years at the University of Pennsylvania (1969-1992), Georgetown University (1992-1997), and AHRQ (1997-2002), although the bulk of this series consists of his Penn and AHRQ correspondence. The sub-series and file folders are arranged chronologically.

The Penn sub-series mainly concerns educational programs and publications at various organizations. In addition, this sub-series also documents his daily administrative concerns at the University. Of interest in the Georgetown University sub-series is his correspondence with Congressman James McDermott concerning healthcare in the United States. The AHRQ sub-series correspondence focuses on daily administrative matters but also includes discussions of plans and proposals concerning the Agency. Importantly, Eisenberg filed his email and written correspondence separately. This filing system has been preserved by arranging his email after the written correspondence.


This series contains materials related to Eisenberg's personal life and professional recognition. Items include school papers, diplomas, awards, and photocopied personal correspondence with colleagues concerning his final illness. There are two sub-series: Academics Papers, 1962-1976 and Professional Recognition, 1968-2002. The sub-series and file folders are arranged alphabetically.


This sub-series contains school papers written by John Eisenberg while attending Princeton University although none of his science classes' notes or papers are included. In addition, several school newsletters, including White Station High School's The Scroll and the Daily Princetonian, highlight Eisenberg's academic achievements.


This sub-series contains awards and diplomas received by Eisenberg throughout his career. The materials include Visiting Professor and Lecturer awards, American College of Physician awards, his University of Pennsylvania promotion letter, and memorial books created at the time of his death.


This series contains Eisenberg's reference files concerning his involvement with professional organizations and colleagues. These materials include correspondence, membership packets, meeting notes, and publications. Documented are the American Board of Internal Medicine, Fox Chase Bone Marrow Project, and the Norfleet Forum as well as other organizations and projects. These materials span his entire career. The file folders in this series are arranged alphabetically.


This series contains books, journal articles, and newsletters used by Eisenberg to research a variety of medical topics. There are three sub-series: Books, 1933-2001, Journal Articles, 1960-2002, and Newsletters, 1983-2001. The Journal Articles sub-series contains journal articles used by Eisenberg to research various medical issues. The journal articles are arranged alphabetically by topic. Some topics include AIDS, cost-effectiveness, and healthcare quality. Eisenberg clipped and photocopied these articles often without including citation information. Thus it is difficult to verify the source of a majority of these articles. The sub-series and file folders are arranged alphabetically.


This series reflects the primary areas of policy and reform that was the focus of Eisenberg's professional work and philosophy. It contains reports and research papers generated by various committees and task forces with which Eisenberg was either involved or in which he participated, including the Public Policy Institute, the Commonwealth Fund, and the General Accounting Office. There are eight interrelated sub-series: Health Insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid, 1991-2001; Healthcare Costs and Economics, 1981-2000; Healthcare Policy, Legislation, and Reform, 1981-2001; Healthcare Quality, 1974-2002; Healthcare Technology, 1985-2001; International Medicine, 1980-2001; Medical Diagnosis and Treatment, 1980-2001; and Medical Education, 1980-2001. The sub-series and file folders are arranged alphabetically by topic. Individual subseries descriptions are available below, within the folder list body.


Contains reports and research papers related to the availability, cost, and effectiveness of health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid programs.


Contains reports and research papers related to research on the economics of healthcare. Many reports deal with the cost-effectiveness of various healthcare services.


Contains research papers related to the politics of healthcare issues. Materials address the debates over policy, legislation, and reform issues at the state, local, and federal levels of government. Most materials focus on healthcare concerns at the national level.


This sub-series contains reports and research papers related to attempts within the healthcare professions and government to improve the quality of healthcare.


This sub-series contains reports and research papers related to the use of technology in the practice of medicine.


This sub-series contains medical reports and research papers relating to healthcare quality generated by medical organizations outside the United States.


This sub-series contains reports and research papers related to the diagnosis and treatment of various medical conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and cardiovascular disease.


This sub-series contains reports and research papers related to medical education and research in a university setting.


Printouts of contents of thirty-six 3.5 floppy disks. Each folder contains printout of the disk's directory structure and file names. Some files could not be opened; these are noted on the directory list. Many files contain date macros which changed the document date on the printout when translated by MS Word. Users should compare dates from directory list."