An Outstanding Leader of FAER and Anesthesiology Research: Celebrating 2024 Friend of FAER Honoree Dr. James Eisenach

June 27, 2024

2024 Friend of FAER Honoree Dr. James EisenachFAER is delighted to recognize James C. Eisenach, MD, as this year’s Friend of FAER Honoree. Dr. Eisenach will be celebrated at the Friends of FAER Reception at ANESTHESIOLOGY® in Philadelphia this October. As part of this honor, FAER will be presenting Dr. Eisenach a book of photos and tributes at the reception. We encourage any who have felt Dr. Eisenach’s influence on their career or life to submit photos and tributes to be considered for inclusion in his Friend of FAER photobook to [email protected] by July 12, 2024.

First awarded in 2021, the Friend of FAER Honor recognizes individuals who have had broad impact on the world of anesthesiology research and its investigators, including those who have served as a resource or mentor for a substantial number of up-and-coming anesthesiology researchers.

Dr. Eisenach is an excellent representation of the traits FAER seeks when awarding the Friend of FAER Honor. As FAER’s President from 2016 to 2023, Dr. Eisenach played a key role in shaping the Foundation’s work around its mission to develop the next generation of physician-investigators. Additionally, both during his time as President and beyond, he has shared his wealth of experience and knowledge as a mentor with a plethora of anesthesiologists and investigators, as well as made substantial contributions to science in anesthesiology through his own research. While his time as President has passed, Dr. Eisenach continues to support the Foundation through volunteerism and generous financial support.

“This tribute from FAER, the gem of the research component of our specialty in the US, is such a huge honor.  Science is a central pillar of medicine, and without honesty, integrity, rigor, and creativity in scientific investigation, it can mislead us.  It has been a real privilege to work with FAER leaders in making sure that we first and foremost use these qualities in funding decisions and foster them in new programs.  I encourage all of you to support FAER and the advancement of science by anesthesiologists.”
- James C. Eisenach, MD, 2024 Friend of FAER Honoree and Immediate Past President of FAER

Dr. Eisenach Photo for Friend of FAER Highlight Article (#1)Dr. Eisenach earned his MD from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, where he graduated in 1982. This was followed by an internship at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco that same year, after which he made his way to Mayo Clinic Rochester for his residency from 1982 to 1985. Dr. Eisenach’s time at Mayo Rochester was not to last, though, with a fellowship in obstetric anesthesiology drawing him to the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

It was at Wake Forest that Dr. Eisenach truly planted his roots and continues to flourish. He has fulfilled numerous faculty and administrative roles over his nearly four decades with the institution. Appointed the inaugural FM James, III Professor of Anesthesiology in 1995, named for his mentor and longtime Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, Dr. Francis M. James, Dr. Eisenach has also served as Vice Chair of Research for the Department, as well as a professor in the Departments of both Translational Science and Physiology and Pharmacology. These positions are complimented by an expansive catalogue of committee appointments over his tenure, including Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology’s Committee on Research and Chair of the Conflict of Interest Review Committee.

The multitude of roles Dr. Eisenach has taken on over his career extend far beyond Wake Forest. On top of the prestigious positions listed above, Dr. Eisenach has also served as Chair of the Anesthetic and Life Support Drugs Advisory Committee with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 1994 to 1995, President of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia (ASRA) from 2002 to 2003, and Editor-in-Chief of Anesthesiology from 2007 to 2016, to name but a few.

Dr. Eisenach Photo for Friend of FAER Highlight Article (#4)We would be remiss to not similarly highlight Dr. Eisenach’s ample contributions and successes as President of FAER. In his time in this role, Dr. Eisenach oversaw the increase of funding offered by FAER’s flagship Mentored Research Training Grant (MRTG); introduced the Annual MRTG Meeting, offering networking and CME opportunities to FAER and IARS grantees; facilitated co-sponsored grant partnerships with the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF), American Heart Association (AHA), and Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP); as well as played a key role in the establishment of the endowed FAER NAM Fellowship with the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

These activities are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to Dr. Eisenach’s contributions to FAER. While the list goes on, these accomplishments help convey Dr. Eisenach’s presence as a true pillar of the Foundation. His insights and actions positioned FAER to not only maintain the high-quality of its work, but to continually improve on the support it offers anesthesiology’s up-and-coming investigators. While he passed the reins to Dr. Max Kelz at the end of 2023, Dr. Eisenach’s positive influence will be felt at FAER for years to come. An influence that ripples from FAER across anesthesiology and research.

Dr. Eisenach Photo for Friend of FAER Highlight Article (#2)Of course, one cannot forget that the abundant commitments Dr. Eisenach took on were carried out alongside his prolific research career. With his work focusing on “clinical translation of basic science to patients with neuropathic pain or recovering from surgery and to volunteers using pharmacologic approaches to manipulate pain sensation and processing” (Eisenach Lab), Dr. Eisenach has published over 350 articles, nearly equally divided between laboratory and clinical research. He has achieved nearly 40 years of continuous NIH funding, and his robust research career has garnered him a wide array of awards over the years, including the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ (ASA) Excellence in Research Award in 2013 and Mayo Clinic Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016. In 2015 he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine. This comes coupled with a slew of named lectures he has presented, including the FAER-Helrich Research Lecture in 2002, and the ASA’s Emery A. Rovenstine Memorial Lecture in 2015 and John W. Severinghaus Lecture in 2021.

Cataloguing the full breadth of Dr. Eisenach’s professional accomplishments is something of a Sisyphean task. Even with his already substantial catalogue of achievements, new accolades and activities seem to materialize one after another. Despite what could have proven an all-consuming (if profoundly successful!) career, Dr. Eisenach has simultaneously enjoyed a fulfilling personal and family life. Father to a son and a daughter, and proud grandfather of four., Dr. Eisenach maintains a strong relationship with his brothers, whom he often joins for trips to Italy. Along with his family life, Dr. Eisenach is also an avid bike rider, going so far as to keep a bicycle at FAER’s Schaumburg office for rides when he wasn’t busy lending his knowledge to the Foundation’s work!

Dr. Eisenach Photo for Friend of FAER Highlight Article (#3)The broad range of activities and accomplishments highlighted in this piece, a fraction of Dr. Eisenach’s full collection, are a testament to the impact he has had on anesthesiology and research. An impact that can be attributed to not only his scientific excellence, but also the quality of his character. In serving as a resource for so many over the course of his career, Dr. Eisenach has radiated an openness and true desire to see his mentees and colleagues succeed that has set him apart. It is the combination of this commitment to both science and the people carrying it out that has cemented Dr. Eisenach as a true champion of the specialty.

Please join FAER in congratulating Dr. Eisenach on his selection as the 2024 Friend of FAER Honoree. We hope you enjoy these tributes from some of the many Dr. Eisenach has impacted and worked with over his career.

“Dr. Eisenach has played a vital role in supporting physician-scientists in the field of Anesthesiology. His outstanding contributions and exemplary leadership of FAER will be remembered for a long time.” – Soban Umar, MD, PhD

“There are few [Mayo Clinic Rochester] alumni who have been at the forefront of anesthesiology research and advances in the specialty more than Dr. James C. (Jim) Eisenach.” – Mark A. Warner, MD

“The specialty of anesthesiology is in a better place and is a better specialty because of [Dr. Eisenach] and [his] contributions to all of us. We all owe [him] a debt of gratitude and this award reflects [his] place in all of our hearts.” – Margaret Wood, MB, ChB, FACA, FRCA

“Jim was an outstanding editor-in-chief of Anesthesiology who brought special skills and integrity to the task. The Journal prospered under his meticulous leadership.” – Daniel I. Sessler, MD

“As someone who received his FAER MRTG when Jim was president and remembers receiving that email from Jim, and then someone who worked with Jim as a colleague in the same department at Wake Forest later where I inherited the vice chair of research from him, this person has had a tremendous impact on my life.” – Ashish K Khanna, MD, MS, FCCP, FCCM, FASA

The Friend of FAER Honor is awarded annually, with honorees selected by a cohort of FAER leaders. Previous honorees include:

  • Alison Cole, PhD (2021)
  • Margaret Wood, MB, ChB, FACA, FRCA (2022)
  • Steven J. Barker, PhD, MD, FACA (2023)

FAER is a related organization of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). For over 35 years, FAER has been dedicated to developing the next generation of physician-investigators in anesthesiology. Charitable contributions and support to FAER help fuel the future of anesthesiology through scientific discovery. Funding priorities include: Research, Education, and Training. At the time of this article's publication, FAER has awarded more than $58 million in research grants and programs since 1986. To donate to FAER, visit

Curated by: BH

Last updated by: BH

Date of last update: June 27, 2024