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New Chief Research Officer, Dr. Peter Friedmann, plans to grow research at Baystate Health

September 21, 2015

Dr. Peter FriedmannPeter Friedmann, MD, MPH is joining Baystate Health as its first Chief Research Officer on October 1, 2015. He plans to promote clinical and health services research and demonstrate the value-added of research to providers, patients and community.

He answers a few questions about getting started in his new role and  settling into western Massachusetts.

What is your vision for research at Baystate Health?

My vision is to grow and strengthen Baystate’s research programs to improve population health and reduce disparities in Western Massachusetts. 

Baystate’s size, community orientation and clinical excellence put it in an excellent position to perform clinical, translational and health services research. 

In doing so, our patients will get improved access to rigorous studies of cutting-edge treatments, and we will better understand which existing treatments and services work best for which patients, when and how inequities in service delivery and outcomes occur and how to reduce them, and how to provide the greatest healthcare value to our patients, community, payers and other stakeholders.

What are your goals over the next 3 - 5 years?

I would like to see research viewed as part-and-parcel of what we do everyday at Baystate.

For example, every patient at a Baystate affiliate who is potentially eligible and appropriate to enter a clinical trial should be offered the opportunity to do so.

Our integrated health systems and electronic health record should be structured to allow us readily to study which treatments work best for which patients. We should engage local and regional partners to help us develop and perform research that is relevant and useful to our patients and communities.

I believe we can make considerable progress toward these goals over the next half decade. 

What attracted you to accept this newly created position here?

Given my affinity for developing research programs, I was attracted by the opportunity to lead a well-functioning health system in its planned expansion of clinical and health services research.

In terms of my own research and clinical work, I saw an opportunity to help to address the substantial burden of addictive disorders in Western Massachusetts.

Do you have a memento that you'll bring to your new office?

I have a photo in my office of myself with colleagues I started out with at University of Chicago. 

This photo reminds me of the joys and challenges I experienced as a young investigator, and the importance of supportive colleagues—Marshall Chin (now the Parillo Family Professor at U. Chicago and President of the Society of General Internal Medicine); Nicholas Christakis (now the Sol Goldman Family Professor and Master of Silliman College at Yale); David Meltzer (now Professor and Chief of the Section of Hospital Medicine and Director of the Center for Health and the Social Sciences at U. Chicago); and our then Division Chief Wendy Levinson (now the Eaton Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at University of Toronto).

What will be your biggest adjustment to living in western Massachusetts?

My family already has a home in the Berkshires about 45 minutes from Baystate and that’s where I will be living. In Providence (Rhode Island) I could ride my bicycle to work. The biggest adjustment will be a longer commute to work, especially in winter.

What do you like to do in your down time?

I enjoy traveling with my wife Dr. Amy Gottlieb and our daughter. I am also an avid tennis player and jazz saxophonist.