University of Minnesota

William Friedewald, MD

Born: 1939

Dr. Friedewald was for many years director of prevention activities at NHLBI during the generation of preventive trials, going on to be Chief Medical Director of MetLife.

Educated at Yale, he immediately joined the Public Health Service, served in the Epidemic Intelligence Service and then administered epidemiological studies and trials at NHLBI. His signature publication was the Friedewald Equation, a simplified method for estimating lipoprotein ratios (based on the fairly constant LDL content of triglycerides), but his major contributions were in the design and analysis of clinical trials, coming in with the early Coronary Drug Project, then supervising the Aspirin-Myocardial Infarction Trial and then the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial. In our interview, he talks about the different approaches of cardiovascular and cancer investigators, the latter caught up in the dream of a cure and the War on Cancer. He also discusses the strong central encroachment of NIH control on CVD epidemiologic and trial research and its possible consequences.

In retirement, Dr. Friedewald is a consultant on national trials and Director of the Biostatistical Consulting Service in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University. (HB)


Oral history with Henry Blackburn, March 21, 2002.

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