Patch Adams

The real man behind the hit movie "Patch Adams," starring Robin Williams

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The real Patch Adams (the Subject of the hit Movie starring Robing Williams) is both a medical doctor and a clown, but he is also a social activist who has devoted 30 years to changing America's healthcare system, a system that he » Read Full Bio

The real Patch Adams (the Subject of the hit Movie starring Robing Williams) is both a medical doctor and a clown, but he is also a social activist who has devoted 30 years to changing America's healthcare system, a system that he describes as expensive and elitist. He believes that laughter, joy and creativity are an integral part of the healing process and therefore, true health care must incorporate those aspects of life. Doctors and patients in his model relate to each other on the basis of mutual trust and patients receive plenty of time from their doctors. Allopathic doctors and practitioners of alternative medicine will work side by side in Patch’s model. If you think that all sounds like a utopian impossibility, it isn't. Patch and his colleagues practiced medicine at the Gesundheit Institute together in West Virginia that way for 12 yearsin what Patch refers to as their "pilot project." In that time they saw 15,000 patients. From that experience onward Patch Adams has devoted his life to the study of what makes people happy. 

Through the success of this program at the West Virginia location, a model health care 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 the $5 million needed for the Institute's permanent and expanded home, a “model health care community.” Currently planned is an immediate phase of this dream, a $400,000 facility on the land in West Virginia, so that their medical practice can resume within the next two years.

The Institute addresses, by action, four major issues in health care delivery: the rising cost of care, dehumanization of medicine, malpractice suits, and abuse of third-party insurance system. 

Additionally, Dr. Adams adds to his training as a physician his experience as a street clown. In working with health care and mental health professionals, he explores the relationship between humor and therapy using his unique blend of knowledge, showmanship and “hands on” teaching techniques. Dr. Adams says, “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.”

Patch Adams, M.D., is a nationally known speaker on wellness, laughter, and humor as well as on health care and health care systems. He approaches the issues of personal, community, and global health with “zestful exuberance,” according to Time Magazine. Dr. Adams believes that “the most revolutionary act one can commit in our world is to be happy.”

“Extraordinary! One man I can look up to and respect”, “Incredibly, mind blowing and memorable”, and “Incredibly inspiring, amazing human being, invaluable to hear him first hand,” are among the words heard from participants’ after experiencing Patch Adams, the real man behind the hit movie "Patch Adams," starring Robin Williams.

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Media files by Patch Adams

  • Patch Adams: Media File 1

Speaker Programs (Click on each program to view the description)

Living A Life of Joy
Two hour lecture or three-four hour workshop using an hour of exercises, an hour of ideas on being happy and the remainder to explore the audacious idea of never having another bad day. 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
One-to-three-hour lecture on the thrill of helping others. This inspirational talk includes 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 patient's life, but also in the caregiver's life.
Humor and Health
One-to-three-hour look at the relationship between humor and the health of the individual, community or society. In this funny and inspirational lecture 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 wonderful clown stage show (15 minutes at the end).
What Is Your Love Strategy?
One-to-three-hour 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
One-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 it's members.
Medicine For Fun, Not Funds
One-to-three hour lecture on the history, philosophy, and future of the Gesundheit Institute and 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
One-and-one-half-hour 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
One-hour-and-15-minute performance with Susan on the piano playing Chopin as well as her own inspirational compositions. Patch performs seven cycles of poetry. The idea harkens back to the days when live entertainment was at the heart of home and community. (Dr. Parenti required)
Passion and Persistence
Eighty minute show in nine acts on having passions and the persistence to carry them out followed by a 40 minute discussion. Because 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
Two hour performance on how to create designs to accomplish one's desires. Lecture followed by a 40 minute discussion. (Dr. Parenti required)


  • Humor with a Message
  • Motivation


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More Information

For more information about Patch Adams please call 1.877.8TALENT or email us.