Leah Eisenberg, J.D., M.A.

Faculty Member, Division of Medical Humanities, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Leah Eisenberg, J.D., M.A., completed a fellowship in bioethics research at Mayo Clinic after earning an M.A. in bioethics from Case Western Reserve University and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

After spending five years at Mayo Clinic, Eisenberg recently started a faculty position in the Division of Medical Humanities at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

Eisenberg's combination of education and experience gives her unique insight into problems that arise at the intersection of law, medicine and ethics. One of her particular interests is developing forms and processes that help individuals better understand medical and legal documents, particularly related to research biobanking, informed consent, assent for children, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

As someone trained in bioethics, she is concerned about the fact that many people sign consent forms without understanding them, and as a lawyer, she is dismayed that legal regulations are often cited as the reason that such forms are so incomprehensible. She knows that while the law does mandate the inclusion of specific information on consent forms, complex jargon is not necessary to meet those requirements.

Utilizing simple, plain language, she drafted a significant portion of the patient materials used at several biobanks at Mayo Clinic. These items have been utilized by more than 10,000 patients so far. To further increase participant engagement and understanding, she has been collaborating with the Center for Innovation and Center for Individualized Medicine at Mayo Clinic to produce and evaluate graphic versions of these documents.

Aug. 08, 2013