Professor Co-Authors Autobiography of National Leader on Issues of Addiction and HIV/AIDS


John S. Friedman, an associate professor in the Media and Communications program at SUNY Old Westbury, recently co-authored “The Healer: A Doctor’s Crusade Against Addiction and AIDS,” the autobiography of physician and activist Beny J. Primm.

The 186-page book has been published by CreateSpace Publishing and is available through Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, and other major retailers. 

Having grown up in a small West Virginia town, Primm rose against formidable odds to become a pioneering New York City physician, an advisor to five presidents, and a world authority on addiction and HIV/AIDS.  For decades, he struggled alongside leading scientists and public figures to have methadone accepted as a treatment for drug addiction.

Primm founded and led for more than 40 years the Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation and for some 30 years the Urban Resource Institute.  He served on the Presidential Commission on the HIV Epidemic and on the presidential council on HIV/AIDS; directed programs for the White House the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; and, as a founder, served on the National Minority AIDS Council and the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

SUNY Old Westbury President Calvin O. Butts, III, served with Primm on the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.  Of Primm’s impact and the collaborative work that resulted in “The Healer,” he said: “Dr. Primm is a courageous healer. Always ahead of his time, he has saved the lives of so many.  His story deserves to be told.”

Friedman is a journalist and documentary filmmaker and has been a member of the faculty at Old Westbury since 2007. He produced the Academy Award-winning documentary “Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie” and co-directed and co-produced “Stealing the Fire,” which was honored by the International Documentary Association as one of the best films of the year in 2002. 

He edited and wrote the introductions to “First Harvest: The Institute for Policy Studies, 1963-1983” and “The Secret Histories: Hidden Truths That Challenged the Past and Changed the World.”  He is the recent author of “Out of the Blue: A History of Lightning: Science, Superstition, and Amazing Stories of Survival.”  Friedman has written for The New York Times, the Huffington Post, and other publications and is a regular contributor to The Nation.