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UNC Department of Ophthalmology congratulates Professor of Ophthalmology Beth Friedland, MD, for her nomination as one of 15 leading female physicians nationwide for the 2022 Women in White Coats Heroes award. Every year, the blog hosts online voting and selection of a Women in White Coats Heroes awardee from a distinguished pool of institutional, community and private practice physicians across the U.S. Nominees are selected for their exceptional records in patient care, education, research/scholarship and innovation. Over a 40+ year career, Dr. Friedland’s achievements in entrepreneurial patient care, teaching/mentorship, research and innovation have demonstrated the critical contributions women in white coats make to integrated patient care enterprise, teaching the next generation of physicians, and investigation/innovation in clinical disciplinary prevention, therapeutics, and treatment.

Dr. Friedland completed medical school at the University of Florida (UF), as well as a post-doctoral research fellowship at UF in Glaucoma and Ocular Pharmacology that earned her a National Research Service Award. Her pre-medical school research fellowship (glaucoma and cornea) and residency at the esteemed Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (Miami, FL) shaped a career path distinguished in treating a diversity of ophthalmic and ocular surgery patient cases in institutional and private practice and in advancing innovation-driven research.

Post-training, Dr. Friedland founded Park Ophthalmology (Raleigh, NC) in 1984 and began running a fast-growing regional ophthalmology and ocular surgery practice as its Medical Director.  The same year Park Ophthalmology opened its doors, Dr. Friedland brought the value of high-volume private practice to academia through joining UNC Ophthalmology as adjunct teaching faculty (Assistant/Associate Professor). Her decades of faculty ties to the Department culminated in her March 2020 appointment as Professor of Ophthalmology.

In early 2020, Dr. Friedland’s regional private practice was integrated into UNC Medical Center’s ophthalmology service lines. The merger of Park Ophthalmology and UNC Ophthalmology was cited as instrumental to opening UNC Ophthalmology’s newest regional outpatient clinic in Raleigh, NC, in November 2020.

An established scholar, Dr. Friedland’s book chapters, peer-reviewed articles/manuscripts, and other publications focus on wide-ranging areas of investigative ophthalmology, from novel therapeutics, treatment, and technology to efficacy/safety in patient care. Unique to her depth of knowledge in subspecialty practice, investigative ophthalmology and entrepreneurial medical practice, Dr. Friedland is a guest lecturer at major academic (University of FL Department of Ophthalmology) and pharmaceutical (eg, Bausch & Lomb) conferences and additionally makes invited presentations to regional private practices. A known innovator in her field, Dr. Friedland’s two Johnson & Johnson-sponsored patents include development of methods, apparatuses, and systems to prevent and treat open-angle glaucoma via reducing intraocular pressure, and development of novel thermodynamic treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction.

Dr. Friedland noted: “It is a great honor just to be nominated and to realize how far women in medicine have advanced. Our successes reflect mentors and champions who came before us.

“The lessons learned in UNC TEAM leadership program have helped me to become a more effective mentor. In addition, overcoming struggles of starting and maintaining a private practice have prepared me to guide medical students and residents.”