Foundational Pediatric Leader Passes

Jun. 30, 2013
Dr. Stanford Friedman brought attention to developmental and psycho-social issues of childhood

Stanford B. Friedman, M.D., who helped launch the field of Behavioral Pediatrics, a loyal alumnus of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry class of 1957, died June 23 in the state of Washington.

“We are all better off for having been touched by Stan, his standard of excellence, his wry sense of humor and of the absurd, and his fostering of the subsequent generations of academic leaders,” said Richard E. Kreipe, M.D., Elizabeth R. McAnarney Professor of Pediatrics. Kreipe added that he considers Friedman his academic “grandfather,” as he was the academic “father” to Kreipe’s mentor, McAnarney, chair emerita of the Department of Pediatrics.  

During the 11 years Dr. Friedman was on the faculty at the University of Rochester, he recognized that the needs of adolescents were different than other children and advocated for the creation of specialists in adolescent medicine. It was also during his time here that he and Robert J. Haggerty, M.D., who was chair of Pediatrics during Dr. Friedman’s tenure at URMC, worked together to create a new vision for caring for the psycho-social needs of their patients.

“It was, at the time, very progressive that pediatricians should expand their roles and include psycho-social issues in the care of children and adolescents,” McAnarney said.

Dr. Friedman’s interest in how psycho-social issues impacted the health of young people didn’t end at caring for them in the hospital. Haggerty and Dr. Friedman founded the Haggerty-Friedman Psychosocial Fund because they wanted to educate future pediatricians interested in developmental and behavioral pediatrics both as a subspecialty and as it relates to typical development and children and youth with chronic illness. The fund sponsors two Grand Rounds on behavioral topics yearly and research by medical students, residents and fellows.

“The generosity of Dr. Friedman and Dr. Haggerty has created opportunities for students, residents and fellows to study behavioral topics and promotes education related to the psycho-social issues in children and adolescents,” said Susan Hyman, M.D., chief of Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. “It’s really our job to bring the next generation the vision Dr. Friedman had in understanding the need for developmental-behavioral and adolescent medicine research and education.”

Dr. Friedman’s laboratory research also focused on psycho-social issues, specifically the role stress plays in immunity against infectious diseases in mice. He found as stress from overcrowding increased, their immune systems were less able to fight off infectious diseases. He received many prestigious grants for his research, including a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Mental Health.

Dr. Friedman was a 1957 graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and became Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester in short order. In 1973 he left to become director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and head of the Division of Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Maryland, before moving on in 1985 to first serve as chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Behavioral Pediatrics at North Shore. He then became a faculty member in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center.

Dr. Friedman was president of the National SIDS Foundation, Society of Adolescent Medicine, (first) president of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, and American Psychosomatic Society. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and wrote more than 125 articles, edited two books and wrote many chapters. He retired in 2003, but his work continues on in the dozens of trainees he influenced, at least two of whom went on to become chairs of Pediatrics at major medical centers.