Patch Adams is a
physical and emotional healer, dedicated to making people happy. He is founder
of the Gesundheit Institute, and is most well known through the movie bearing
his name which starred Robin Williams.
Patch Adams, M.D., is a
nationally known speaker on wellness, laughter, humor, and life as well as on
the subjects of healthcare and healthcare systems. He approaches the issues of
personal, community, and global health with "zestful exuberance"
(Time Magazine). Dr. Adams believes that "the most revolutionary act one
can commit in our world is to be happy."
Dr. Adams is founder and
director of the Gesundheit Institute, a free health facility in operation for
15 years. Over 15,000 people have been provided with free medical care at the
Institute. Through the success of this program at the Arlington, Virginia
location, a model healthcare facility is being planned on 310 acres purchased
in Pocahontas County, WV. The Institute will include a 40-bed hospital, a
theater, arts and crafts shops, horticulture, and vocational therapy. Over five
years ago, Dr. Adams and staff temporarily stopped seeing patients so that they
could coordinate plans for raising $5 million needed for the Institute's
permanent and expanded home, a "model healthcare community." Currently
planned is an immediate phase of this dream, a $400,000 WV facility so that
their medical service to patients can resume within the next two years.
The Institute addresses,
by action, four major issues in healthcare delivery: the rising cost of care, dehumanization
of medicine, malpractice suits, and abuses of third-party insurance system.
Dr. Adams, also known as
Patch, adds to his training as a physician his experience as a street clown. In
working with health and mental health professionals, he explores the
relationship between humor and therapy using his unique blend of knowledge,
showmanship, and 'hands on' teaching techniques. Says Dr. Adams, 'I interpret
my experience in life as being happy. I want, as a doctor, to say it does
matter to your health to be happy. It may be the most important health factor
in your life.' He joyfully believes that 'the most revolutionary act one can
commit in our world is to be happy.