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Patch Adams Physician, Founder and Director of Gesundheit Institute; Inspiration for Patch Adams

Patch Adams, Inspiration for Patch Adams Movie

Patch Adams, M.D, is a physician who is the founder and director of Gesundheit Institute, a free health facility in operation for the past 22 years. It is the only health facility in the U.S. addressing four major issues in health care delivery by action. Those issues include the rising cost of care, dehumanization of medicine, malpractice suits a...    

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Patch Adams, M.D, is a physician who is the founder and director of Gesundheit Institute, a free health facility in operation for the past 22 years. It is the only health facility in the U.S. addressing four major issues in health care delivery by action.

Those issues include the rising cost of care, dehumanization of medicine, malpractice suits and the abuses of the third party system. His distinctiveness and universal appeal led to the development of a movie starring Robin Williams in the title role, exemplifying Dr. Adams' unusual methods of a typically uniform career.

As a speaker, Dr. Adams travels around the world lecturing on his work and doing theater shows about various aspects of health, particularly dealing with self-care and preservation. He is enthusiastic, perceptive, and a humorous person.

Some examples of presentations that have gained Dr. Adams notoriety are as follows. "The Gesundheit Institute: Medicine for Fun, not for Funds", is a discussion and Q and A session regarding a medical experiment involving his 22 year direction of a medical facility that has charged no money, carried no malpractice, accepted no 3rd party insurance and has patients living in a large group home. "The Joy of Caring", is an inspirational talk about the thrill of helping others. Adams' "Humor and Health" takes a lighter look at the way the two are connected, and he lends his personal anecdotes from his 30+ years as a street clown. "How to be Nutty" is an extremely fun "playshop" teaching practical steps on how to be silly, alleviating stress and encouraging participation by getting costumed up and parading around in public. Dr. Adams gets into character in his "Magic Elixirs of Life" presentation, as he becomes a 19th century snake-oil salesman and promotes his special tonics for living; there are 18 in all including, nutrition, exercise, wonder, curiosity, and love. In the "Holding your Dreams in Community" workshop, the emphasis is on making a communally driven atmosphere a success, and he enjoys working with Gareth Branwyn on this subject matter due to their 16 year association in community philosophy. "Happiness/Joy" explores the possibility of a truly joyous life each and every day; and "Wellness" is primarily dialogue and an overview of the breadth of potential in being well. "Poetry and Medicine" looks at the value of words to communicate and aid understanding; request Dang Fools and bring mayhem and mischief to any event as Adams and friends masquerade in their clown suits and wreak havoc wherever they appear; which is particularly effective in hospital settings. Dr. Adams discusses "Self Esteem" with the intent to open the door for each person to feel, in a palpable way, their own greatness; "Laughter Meditation" and "Fun Death" both pair up Adams with friends to create a hilarious program of anything can happen next.

Dr. Adams has been successful at relaying formal and informal exchanges on many aspects of health care, laughter, citizen diplomacy, communal living, medical consequences of nuclear war and the many connections between art and medicine. Evaluations from previous performances and workshops are available for review. His alternative methods of wellness have made his contributions to the medical community unique and his talents cannot be matched.


  • Patch Adams

    Patch Adams, M.D. - Transform 2010 - Mayo Clinic

Living A Life of Joy

(1-4 hours)

Lecture or thee-four hour workshop using an hour of exercises, an hour of ideas on being happy and the remainder to explore the audacious idea of living happy. Patch discusses how to discover the incredible thrill of choosing to live everyday with joy. The focus of this lecture/workshop is life as a choice.

The Joy of Caring

(1-3 hours)

Lecture on the thrill of helping others. An inspirational talk with much dialogue to explore burnout prevention for caregivers. The focus of this lecture/workshop is the magic and power of care, not only in the patients life but also in the caregivers life.

What Is Your Love Strategy?

(1-3 hours)

Lecture on the importance of having a strategy for loving yourself, the planet and others. Patch provides insights into the need for such a strategy and also takes a close look at the conception of love and the theory of strategy. Patch offers his approach and helps the audience design, explore and implement their own love strategy.

Living In Community

(1 hour)

Lecture that introduces a healthy community life. Patch explores what constitutes a healthy community, how one is created, maintained and what the responsibilities are of its members.

Medicine For Fun, Not Funds

(1-3 hours)

Lecture on the history, philosophy, and future of the Gesundheit Institute. It includes a deep dialogue with audience/participants. Patch introduces Gesundheit as an example of medicine for fun, not funds and helps the audience design, explore and implement their own dreams.

Magic Elixirs of Life

(1 hour and 30 minutes)

Vaudeville wellness show followed by a 30-minute discussion period. Susan and Patch clown, tap dance, play piano and accordion, and inspire the audience to participate. This provocative, informative and funny show focuses on what the audience can do to feel healthier. (Dr. Parenti required)

Poetry and Music

(1 hour and 15 minutes)

Performance with Susan on the piano with Chopin and her own compositions. Patch performs seven cycles of poetry. The idea is to harken back to the days when live entertainment was at the heart of home and community. (Dr. Parenti required)

Passion and Persistence

(80 minutes)

Show in nine acts on having passions and the persistence to carry them out followed by a 40-minute discussion. Both Patch and Susan have organized and sustained their separate communities for over 20 years. It is still a delight for them and they want to inspire others and share some of what they've learned. (Dr. Parenti required)

Desire and Design

(2 hours)

Performance on how to create designs to accomplish ones desires followed by a 40-minute discussion. (Dr. Parenti required)

Humor and Health

(1-3 hours)

Look at the relationship between humor and the health of the individual, community or society. Funny and inspirational. Patch discusses his 30+ years of clowning experience. When Patch and Susan are hired as a team, they teach the audience performance and perform a sweet stage clown show (15 minutes at the end).

How to Be Nutty

The Joy of Caring

The Gesundheit Institute: Medicine for Fun, Not for Funds

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