News Update

Business Journal Honors Freischlag with Special Achievement Award

A woman with short blond hair wearing a teal suit smiles as she stands in an office

Triad Business Journal has selected Julie Ann Freischlag, MD, FACS, FRCSEd(Hon), DFSVS, chief executive officer of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, dean of the Wake Forest School of Medicine and chief academic officer of the Atrium Health Enterprise, as the 2021 recipient of the Outstanding Women in Business Special Achievement Award.

In honoring Freischlag, the Journal noted her role as a trailblazer for women in medicine. In addition to being the first woman to lead Wake Forest Baptist as CEO, Freischlag was the first woman to chair the department of surgery at Johns Hopkins University, the fourth woman to chair a surgery department in the U.S. and the sixth woman to complete surgical residency and a vascular fellowship at UCLA.

During her career, Freischlag said she has often been the only woman in key meetings, and she uses such experiences to help mentor others.

“I think the key when you are unique, either in your background, or your color, or your gender or your gender preference … your job is to raise your hand and make that unique contribution and tell them what you feel, especially if it feels differently,” Freischlag told the Journal. “And sometimes it’s really hard because people don’t want to hear it, but it’s getting better.”