The 2011 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards in the early-career physician category honor Stefan J. Friedrichsdorf, MD, medical director of the Department of Pain Medicine, Palliative Care and Integrative Medicine at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, for innovative symptom management of pediatric patients, compassion, and family-centered care.

Dr. Friedrichsdorf is also the principal investigator of a five-year, multisite study on the creation, implementation and evaluation of a pediatric palliative care curriculum, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute. He lectures extensively nationally and internationally on pediatric pain medicine, palliative care and integrative medicine and has contributed to more than 15 books on the subjects.

Dr. Friedrichsdorf cares for children as inpatients and outpatients, as well as in their homes. “He has a profound ability to connect with patients and families in a nonthreatening way that builds trust and openness,” wrote Clark Smith, MD, Chief of Services, Pediatrics, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, in nominating Dr. Friedrichsdorf. “He is known for his open-door policy and his willingness to do ‘curbside consults’ with family members, who as a result feel free to contact him to discuss their concerns.”

Before becoming a doctor, Dr. Friedrichsdorf worked as a factory worker, actor, assistant nurse, journalist, paramedic, and youth group leader. He received his medical degree from the Medical University of Lübeck in Germany in 1998 and studied pediatric palliative care and hospice in Australia and Poland.