Dr. Gerald J. Friedman recognized this early in his illustrious 55-year career and pioneered clinical nutrition’s role in disease prevention. A brilliant and widely respected New York physician, Dr. Friedman specialized in diabetes and metabolism, endocrinology, cardiology and internal medicine. He spent his distinguished career caring for thousands of patients at some of New York’s finest hospitals and was fascinated by medical research throughout his life.
The foundation established upon his retirement in 1992 carries on this legacy to this day, led by Gerald and his wife Dorothy’s niece, Jane Friedman. Since he was no longer caring directly for patients, Dr. Friedman set out to support the work of researchers, their laboratories and projects in many diverse fields, most notably diabetes, through his philanthropy.
A decade ago, when diabetes centers were closing around the country because insurers weren’t paying for diet and exercise education, the Gerald and Dorothy Friedman Foundation established The Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute to transform diabetes care.
The Institute moved to Northwell Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in 2014 through a $6 million grant from the Friedman Foundation and is now led by Dr. Leonid Poretsky, the chief of Endocrinology at Lenox Hill Hospital.
The multidisciplinary facility treats anyone, regardless of whether they have insurance or their insurer will reimburse for the treatment.
Doctors and staff at the Institute can take the time they need to collaborate with patients to create a holistic treatment approach, which considers mental and social factors along with the physical symptoms of the disease. They can also visit the Institute’s demonstration kitchen and a gym for one on-one instruction.
The Institute also teaches patients, family members, the medical profession and the community how to prevent diabetes through nutrition, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices. Grants from government, industry and foundations allow the doctors and staff to advance the treatment and cure of diabetes thanks to the research lab provided by the Friedman Foundation.
In 2016, the Friedman Foundation emerged as advocates for the transgender community. An initial grant has enabled Dr. Poretsky to establish a Transgender Health and Wellness Program to begin meeting medical, social and legal needs and work toward providing barrier-free holistic care to the transgender community.
These philanthropic endeavors form a living legacy for Dr. Friedman, transforming lives the way he did: every day.