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Dr. Gerald J. Friedman’s Legacy

Gerald J. Friedman, M.D., was an internist known as a superb diagnostician, as well as a specialist in diabetes, cardiac disease, endocrinology and nutrition.

A lifelong New Yorker, Dr. Friedman earned his bachelor's and medical degrees from NYU. After serving as commanding officer of the 222nd Station Hospital in World War II, he joined the staff of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, where he stayed until 1993, holding many key positions, including Chief of the Medical Intensive Care Unit (now named after him), Chief of Diabetes and Metabolism, Chief of Metabolism and Endocrinology and President of the Center's medical board.

Dr. Friedman was also a physician at Bellevue and University Hospitals and, from 1965 to 1970, headed a board reviewing the relation of diet to coronary heart disease for the New York City Department of Health.  Dr. Friedman maintained a notable private practice and kept an active schedule working in a number of hospital clinics.

For more than 30 years, beginning in 1957, he served as the international Medical Director for the United Parcel Service.  He embraced this position as he did all challenges in his life with enthusiasm and eagerness to learn as much as he could.  He was active in a variety of related positions, holding top offices in the New York State Society of Industrial Medicine, the New York Occupational Medicine Association, the Industrial Medical Association, and the Occupational Health Institute.

Dr. Friedman had a career-long interest in diabetes. He held almost every post that existed in the New York Diabetes Association and, with his wife, Dorothy, a Boston-born pianist and recording artist, helped that organization create a summer camp for children with diabetes.  He wrote extensively on the management of diabetes, especially in the workplace, at a time when many employers discriminated against people with this disease.  Mrs. Friedman stopped performing professionally after her husband finished his residency, and became an active volunteer for Beth Israel Medical Center and the New York Diabetes Association.

Dr. Friedman died at the age of 91 on November 25, 2004 following a prolonged illness.