About the Friedman Center » Practice Philosophy

Your well-being is our top priority.

The physicians at the Friedman Center are proud to be innovators and thought leaders in plastic surgery and breast reconstruction. You may be facing breast cancer right now, at high risk for breast cancer and considering surgical measures to lower your risk, or a breast cancer survivor of many years. Wherever you are in your journey, we’re here to support you.

OUR PRACTICE PHILOSOPHY

You deserve to feel whole again.

The prospect of losing one or both breasts can be devastating. We want you to know that there is hope. Breast reconstruction offers a way to restore your physical form, and, more importantly, helps you recover your sense of self. This journey will change you, but there is a path to feeling healthy and whole again.

 

You deserve providers who consider you and your individual situation.

What drives us is simple: we want to provide you with the highest level of care and compassion. And that means more than using cutting-edge techniques or even obtaining excellent clinical outcomes. We believe that every woman who walks through our doors should receive individualized care that addresses her as a unique and complex person.

You deserve a team who offers you meaningful support.

That’s why every encounter you have at the Friedman Center is with a team member dedicated to making your experience a little bit better: simpler, less stressful, and more supportive. Our comprehensive resources are designed to take care of your body and your mind, helping you heal both physically and emotionally.

You deserve to feel empowered throughout this entire journey.

We understand that breast reconstruction is more than a surgical procedure. Many patients have shared with us how breast reconstruction has been an important part of their journey to wellness, reducing the psychological impact of breast cancer and restoring their self-confidence.

You matter to us—as a person, not just a patient.
We look forward to serving you.

Mark L. Smith, MD, FACS
Executive Director

+ MEET DR. SMITH

Janet Gerlach
Program Director

+ MEET JANET

We’re honored that you’re considering the Friedman Center for your breast reconstruction. If you choose to have your reconstruction here, you’ll work closely with members of our Care Team to ensure you have the very best resources and support.

Schedule a Consultation

Call: +1 (516) 224-2350

Fax: +1 (516) 224-2390

600 Northern Blvd, Suite 310, Great Neck, NY 11021

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Mark L. Smith

Executive Director

An expert in complex reconstructive surgery, Dr. Smith was the first surgeon to perform DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap breast reconstruction in New York City. He also led the team that created the Enhanced Recovery Pathway (ERP) protocol, which significantly improves pain management while limiting the use of narcotics and shortens hospital stays.

Dr. Smith has broken ground in the field of oncoplastic surgery, publishing one of the first case studies in the United States on using oncoplastic techniques for breast conservation in patients with breast cancer.

Dr. Smith has also made significant contributions in the emerging field of lymphatic surgery. He was on the first surgical team in North America to successfully treat lymphedema with a vascularized lymph node transfer. He, in partnership with a colleague, developed an intraoperative imaging technique to minimize the risk of causing lymphedema in the donor extremity.

Dr. Smith brings significant leadership experience to his role as Executive Director of the Friedman Center. He is Co-Founder of the American Society for Lymphatic Surgery, and he also developed the Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Program at Continuum Cancer Centers of New York.

Dr. Smith currently serves as the Director of Reconstructive Oncology at Northwell Health Cancer Institute; System Vice Chair of Surgery at Northwell Health; Vice President of Surgical Services, Eastern Region for Northwell Health; and is a Professor of Surgery at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. He previously held roles as the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel and the Director of Plastic Surgery at Continuum Cancer Centers of New York.

Janet Gerlach

Program Director

Janet has broad operational experience and has worked with global, corporate, nonprofit, and family-owned businesses spanning several industries. She was first inspired to work with women via the fashion world. Through design and style, she has helped a diverse population of women be comfortable and confident with who they are.

Janet’s expert business acumen, strong commitment to women, and deeply personal experience with oncologic breast surgery and reconstruction has shaped the trajectory of her life and career. In her role at the Friedman Center, Janet is responsible for leading and coordinating program development, patient education and empowerment, public event planning, fundraising initiatives, community outreach, and more.

She strives to ensure every patient is aware of the many resources, support services, and benefits available to them, and she serves as a liason between patients, physicians, and the Northwell Health system.

As someone with a long family history of genetic breast and ovarian cancer, Janet can readily identify with the needs of the patient. She strives to offer a high level of service to all women who have been affected by breast cancer.

Janet aims to make the Friedman Center a place where women have an exceptional experience—warm, comfortable, nurturing, and inviting—and feel empowered to make informed decisions about their reconstructive procedures.

She also devotes her personal time to humanitarian and philanthropic efforts, including the fight against breast and ovarian cancer. As a national volunteer for many years, she has provided education, awareness, and advocacy for nonprofit cancer-related organization.

Janet is a compassionate individual who has dedicated countless hours to help countless women through the challenging journey of breast cancer and breast reconstruction. She plays a pivotal role in creating a positive experience for every patient and is proud to continue her lifelong work in support of women’s issues here at the Friedman Center.