SUNY Downstate professor for 50 years
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Eli A. Friedman, MD, distinguished teaching professor of medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in Hemodialysis (HD), February 8, at the Thirty-fourth Annual Conference on Dialysis, presented by the University of Missouri School of Medicine, at a ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia.
A Brooklyn native, Dr. Friedman received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Brooklyn College and received his medical degree from SUNY Downstate. He then spent four years at Harvard University’s Peter Bent Brigham Hospital as an intern, resident, and nephrology fellow, learning the then new specialty of nephrology and transplant immunology. As a lieutenant commander in the United States Public Health Service, Dr. Friedman was recruited to the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based in Atlanta, Georgia, with an appointment as assistant professor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine.
In 1963, Dr. Friedman returned to Downstate as assistant professor of medicine, where he established the first federally funded hemodialysis center linked to an organ (kidney) transplant facility in the United States. His hemodialysis patients at Downstate’s neighboring affiliate, Kings County Hospital Center, formed the American Association of Kidney Patients, for which he served as chair of the Medical Advisory Board.
Dr. Friedman has been president of the American and International Societies for Artificial Organs, and has received honorary memberships from kidney societies in Belgium, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, and Yugoslavia. In 2003, Dr. Friedman was elected president of the International Society for Geriatric Nephrology and Urology. He is the author of 530 scientific publications, which includes the editing of eleven books.
Dr. Friedman’s concern for medical ethics led to his chairing Downstate’s Institutional Review Board for more than a decade. His decision was fueled by the need to apply selection criteria to patients who would be offered life prolongation through hemodialysis, prior to its funding in 1972 by the United States Public Health Service.
Research interests pursued by Dr. Friedman have focused on both slowing the course of progressive chronic kidney disease (CKD) and easing patient adjustment to the burden of irreversible kidney failure during its major therapies of hemodialysis and kidney transplantation. He designed an artificial kidney within an attaché case that could simplify travel for dialysis patients. His current studies center on the possible application of orally ingested probiotic bacteria as therapy for kidney failure without the need for dialysis.
In 2010, Dr. Friedman received the New York Academy of Medicine’s Edward N. Gibbs Memorial Award and presented a lecture entitled “Pandemic Diabetic Nephropathy,” a major cause of kidney failure in the United States and throughout the world. He currently serves on Editorial Advisory Boards for Diabetes Care, the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, and Transplantation Proceedings.