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Patch Adams          

Physician & Clown; Founder of Gesundheit Institute; Inspiration for the Robin William's Movie "Patch Adams"

"Patch" Adams is an American physician, comedian, social activist, clown, and author. He is the founder and director of Gesundheit Institute, a free health facility in operation since 1971. 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. The 1998 film Patch Adams was based on Adams' life and his views on medicine.

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 . In the last 28 years, he has presented and performed in 70 countries, and spoken at 90 medical schools in the US and many more around the world.

In 1985, Patch took a group of people on a clown trip to what was then the Soviet Union. Equipped with colorful clothing and compassion they visited hospitals, orphanages, homes for the elderly as well as just clowning on the street. Since then, these trips have been an integral part of Gesundheit´s global outreach. Apart from returning to Russia every year there have been clown trips to all corners of the world, including visits to war zones, refugee camps and natural disaster sites. They've also built clinics and a school at some of the places visited.

Speech Topics


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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