A trailblazer in modern medicine, Dr. Burton Feinerman has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to life-changing innovative procedures in the health care field.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Feinerman was the owner of Opa-Locka General Hospital, the only private hospital treating African-Americans in South Florida. There, he also headed the first pediatric emergency rooms at Parkway Hospital and Miami General Hospital.
“I am humbled at the acknowledgement of my role as a catalyst for change during the civil rights movement in Florida,” Feinerman said. “When I look back at this time in my life, I don’t see black or white, I see my patients.”
These facilities set trends through Dade County and Key Largo, Fla. For two decades, Feinerman had the leading pediatric practice in the country.
In an excerpt from his book, “Stem Cells and Sex Wars,” he wrote: “I was often invited to Afro-American churches to speak … I emphasized to the young Afro-Americans the need to work hard and understand that they alone must work harder than their peers so that they get the recognition they deserve. Such ideas were rare … but I gained their respect.”
His love of science took a detour when he became a concierge physician to the stars at his office in Maui, Hawaii. There, he focused on anti-aging stem cell work. He has treated a variety of celebrities, including Eddie Murphy, Larry David, Pink, Brittney Spears, Nick Nolte, Christian Slater and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Even Oprah thanked him with an autographed magazine for “the shot in the tush,” Feinerman said.
Feinerman has remained passionate about the relief for those afflicted with unknown or peculiar diseases. He has been at the forefront to treat and educate patients on the innovative and untrodden territory of cell regeneration and gene therapy.
“These patients are my heroes, and I am honored to be of assistance to them,” Feinerman said.
Feinerman now runs his clinic in Tampa, where he treats patients with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, cerebral palsy, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, pulmonary fibrosis, scleroderma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and cancer of all types.
Kiera Gordon, a fourth-year social work student from Chicago, knows what it’s like to have a loved one with Crohn’s disease.
“My cousin has struggled with her weight because of the Crohn’s disease,” Gordon said. “It’s great that doctors such as Feinerman are able to treat the disease early.”
An alumnus of New York Medical College, Feinerman has been fascinated with science since an early age. He graduated second in his class at Stuyvesant High School.
He also received extensive postgraduate training from Long Island College Hospital and the Mayo Clinic. He served as chief medicine for the U.S. Army as part of the 98th General Hospital in Germany as well as chairman of medicine multiple hospitals.
Dr. Barbara Hansen, director of the University of South Florida’s Center for Preclinical Research, reflected on Feinerman’s work and passion for his craft.
“His entire life has revolved around helping patients all over the world,” Hansen said. “I know him personally, and even I am amazed at some of the accomplishments he has had in his life.”
Feinerman’s mission continues at Regenerative Medicine Solutions.
His current study is aimed at closely understanding cystic fibrosis, mesothelioma, advanced cancer and diseases causing blindness such as age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and stargardt’s disease.
Feinerman suggests that the key to success is for people to do what they have a passion for.
“If you love your work, then your days of working are over,” Feinerman said.