The Obama administration has recruited another Larchmonter to fill a critical post. Thomas Frieden, who grew up in Larchmont, is leaving his current position as head of New York City’s Department of Health to lead the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
The Frieden family has lived in Larchmont since Dr. Frieden was an infant. He attended Chatsworth Avenue School, the Hommocks and Mamaroneck High School. He was in the same graduating class as Mayor Liz Feld, 1978.
“Larchmont breeds leaders,” commented Larchmont Mayor Liz Feld.
Dr. Frieden’s mother, Nancy Frieden, still lives in Larchmont. “His biggest influence was his father,” said Ms. Frieden. The elder Dr. Frieden was a cardiologist. “Tom was interested in both politics and medicine. His father suggested he go into public health,” said Ms. Frieden.
The son took his father’s advice. After graduating summa cum laude from Oberlin (philosophy and pre-med), Tim Frieden went on to Columbia University, where he picked up degrees in medicine and public health. He took additional training in infectious diseases at Yale University.
In the 1990s, he spent years fighting tuberculosis. In New York City, he helped contain the spread of a particularly troublesome strain of TB that was resistant to treatment. In India, he helped with a national prevention and treatment effort that is credited with saving millions of lives.
Since 2002, he has been at the helm of the NYC Health Department. Getting people to stop smoking was a top priority. He also got the city to ban trans-fats in restaurant food and require chain restaurants to post calorie counts.
Most recently, Dr. Frieden was in the news as the city coped with an outbreak of swine flu.