Susan Friedman, MD, MPH, Named Founding Director of Lifestyle Medicine for Highland Hospital
Monday, November 1, 2021
Susan M. Friedman, M.D., MPH, Highland geriatrician, internist, and University of Rochester Professor of Medicine, has been named director of Lifestyle Medicine at Highland.
The American College of Lifestyle Medicine defines the specialty as the use of a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and positive social connection as a primary therapeutic modality for treatment and reversal of chronic disease.
Dr. Friedman is board certified in Lifestyle Medicine. Consultations are available in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Dr. Friedman’s consultation services are available for outpatient appointments at the GAMA (Geriatric and Medicine Associates) clinic and physicians can request that she consult on patients hospitalized at Highland Hospital about ways they can improve health by adopting positive lifestyle practices.
Dr. Friedman developed an interest in Lifestyle Medicine about 8 years ago. “When I started my career as a geriatrician 25 years ago, I was basically seeing patients in their 80s and 90s with multiple health and cognitive issues,” she said. “But as time went on, I noticed that more and more younger people were presenting with chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. I came to the realization that lifestyle made a big difference in health and well-being.”
Dr. Friedman took a sabbatical in 2016 to study Lifestyle Medicine and became board certified in 2017. “It’s been estimated that three quarters of chronic illness could be eliminated with better lifestyle habits,” she said. “And the pandemic has been a particular time of stress for everyone. It’s important for us to take the time to think about our health and make plans for positive changes that we can make to improve our health.”
The goal is to maximize healthy aging. “Working toward healthy aging starts the day you are born,” she said. “It’s never too early or too late to make adjustments in your lifestyle to make a positive impact on your health.”
Robert McCann, M.D, Highland’s Chief of Medicine, is impressed with the work of Dr. Friedman. “I think Lifestyle Medicine is an incredibly significant program in managing chronic disease and illness,” he said. “Important research has been done on how diet, exercise, and stress affect health. Dr. Friedman is leading us as we use this knowledge to care for our patients and ourselves.”
Rochester is one of the national leaders in Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Friedman has been working closely with the Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute (RLMI) where she has served as Director of Clinical Studies and Board Vice Chair for several years to make services and programs available for the community. As the former medical director of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Group, she has worked with patients to help them address root causes of chronic illness. Several widely known researchers and practitioners in Lifestyle Medicine are based in Rochester and Lifestyle Medicine is now a two week elective for medical students at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry.
For more information contact Dr. Friedman at Susan_Friedman@urmc.rochester.edu or call GAMA at 341-6775.