A Passionate Advocate for Philanthropy
For Joel Friedman, M.D., the hardest aspect about retirement is not seeing his patients. "I’ve had some amazing patients: leaders of Silicon Valley, Nobel Prize winners, celebrity sportsmen, and those who may not be famous but are still very interesting," he says. "Many of my patients have become personal friends."
Having 12 to 15 patient appointments a day allowed him some structured time to have conversations around world affairs, politics, golf and philanthropy.
The first board-certified cardiologist to join the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Dr. Friedman, who received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed his residency and cardiology fellowship at Stanford, remembers a time of no computers, no electronic health records and an EKG machine in one room.
"From an organization of just 80 doctors to one that has more than 1,200 physicians and almost four times the number of staff, PAMF has come a long way," he says. "I've seen unbelievable change and advances in diagnostic, surgical and therapeutic techniques—all to enormous benefit to the patient. I never dreamed what would develop during my time as a cardiologist in the areas of heart surgery, echocardiography and angioplasty. We have been able to bring that technology to PAMF mostly because of the community’s generous donors."
A passionate advocate for philanthropy, Dr. Friedman served three terms on PAMF’s Community Board of Trustees and was a key leader during the capital campaign in the 1990s that raised $60 million to build the Palo Alto Center, which opened in 1999. Dr. Friedman worked closely with the first and second CEOs of PAMF, the late Robert Jamplis, M.D., and the late David Druker, M.D., as well as Gordon Ray, M.D., and board members Duncan Matteson and Tony Meier to lead physician engagement efforts that resulted in the philanthropic campaign exceeding its goal.
"I strongly believe that the only way to practice medicine with cutting-edge equipment, technology and facilities with the ultimate goal of providing the best care for our patients is through philanthropic giving," Dr. Friedman says. "Donors see how their contributions will help patients, many of whom can barely afford to see the doctor. Every single gift has a ripple effect and benefits the community."
When he retired in 2012, Dr. Friedman left behind a major cardiac program equipped with leading-edge technologies and helped to recruit a team of world-class specialists. With his leadership, we have been able to provide the highest standard of cardiac care to our patients. This commitment will not cease with his retirement.
PAMF has set up a fund in Dr. Friedman’s name to continue his outstanding work and to honor his 40-year legacy. Contributions to the Dr. Joel P. Friedman Cardiology Fund will support technological innovations to continue to offer our patients an excellent care experience.