Sunday, February 25th 2018    |   

Patch Adams

Thursday, May 22, 2008   |   Meet
Hunter Campbell "Patch" Adams (born May 28, 1945 in Washington, District of Columbia) is an American medical doctor, social activist, citizen diplomat, professional clown, performer, and author. He founded the Gesundheit! Institute in 1972. Each year he organizes a group of volunteers from around the world to travel to Russia as clowns, to bring hope and joy to orphans, patients, and the people. In 1998 he also visited Bosnia, one of the Balkan Peninsula countries torn apart by the war that started after the break-up of Yugoslavia.

His life was the template for the plot of the film Patch Adams, starring Robin Williams. Adams is currently based in Arlington, Virginia, where he promotes a different health care model in collaboration with the institute.

A revamped Gesundheit! Institute, envisioned as a free, full-scale hospital and health care eco-community, is planned on 316 acres in Pocahontas County in West Virginia. Its goal is to integrate a traditional hospital with alternative medicine--acupuncture, homeopathy, etc. Care will combine integrative medicine with performing arts, crafts, nature, agriculture, and recreation. The West Virginia location accepts seasonal volunteers through the website. The new hospital has not been built as Patch continues to seek funding. The current caretaker staff at the West Virginia land is actively developing educational programs in sustainable systems design targeted to medical students, university alternative break groups, and the general public. Several videos and books have also been produced including Patch Adams.

Patch Adams was recently interviewed by Greater Good magazine, Greater Good Science Center. In this interview, Adams urges medical students to develop compassionate connections with their patients. His prescription for this kind of care relies on humor and play, which he sees as essential to physical and emotional health. Ultimately, Adams wants the Gesundheit! Institute to open a 40-bed hospital in rural West Virginia that offers free, holistic care to anyone who wants it.

He was awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award on January 29. 1997.