Patch Adams Biography

Patch Adams is an American physician, social activist, and clown, known for treating people with humor and love, apart from medication. This biography profiles his childhood, life, career, achievements and timeline

Quick Facts

Birthday: May 28, 1945

Nationality: American

Famous: American Men George Washington University

Age: 74 Years, 74 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Gemini

Also Known As: Hunter Campbell Adams, Dr. Patch Adams

Born in: Washington, D.C.

Famous as: Physician

Height: 6'5" (196 cm), 6'5" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Linda Edquist

father: Robert Loughridge Adams

mother: Anna Adams

siblings: Robert Loughridge Adams Jr.

children: Atomic Zagnut Adams, Lars Zig Edquist Adams

Founder/Co-Founder: Gesundheit! Institute

More Facts

education: George Washington University, 1971 - VCU Medical Center, Virginia Commonwealth University

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Patch Adams is an American physician, clown and a social activist, who believes in treating his patients with love, humor and creativity, apart from the traditional medical services. His suicidal attempts as a teenager got him hospitalized three times in a year and he decided to change all this forever. To give shape to his vision, he earned his Doctor of Medicine degree at Virginia Commonwealth University (Medical College of Virginia) in 1971. Passionate about spreading love and laughter all around, he founded Gesundheit! Institute as a free community hospital. After running it for free for 12 years, he moved out of his cocoon and traveled worldwide, giving presentations and delivering lectures to medical schools and conferences to spread awareness about the alternative medical facilities for treating patients, thereby bringing a change to the existing healthcare system in America. He also made clown trips to hospitals, elder homes, orphanages, war zones, natural disaster sites, and refugee camps. Of late, he is working hard to re-build Gesungheit Institute as a community eco-village health care facility in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, which will include a 40-bed hospital and other amenities such as theater, horticulture, vocational therapy, and arts and crafts shops

Childhood & Early Life
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  • He set up the Gesundheit Institute and operated it from his home for over 12 years, integrating all healthcare issues in one model and treating patients for free, with no health insurance reimbursement or malpractice insurance.
  • The number of patients increased in due course, but he started facing difficulties in funding the hospital.
  • While searching a way out to receive funds to operate his hospital and continue serving his patients, he chose to go public and become a speaker in 1984.
  • He began making presentations at medical schools and conferences in the United States and abroad. Over the last three decades, he has made over 50 presentations and lectured in around 70 nations.
  • In 1985, he started a clown trip with a group of people to the then-Soviet Union, visiting hospitals, orphanages, elder homes and performing on the streets, clad in colorful attire, to bring love, joy and laughter to patients and other people.
  • The highly successful clown trips became an inseparable part of Gesundheit’s global outreach. Besides Russia, he has made clown trips worldwide, performing in refugee camps, war zones, and natural disaster sites as well.
  • His hospital has given medical support to orphanages in South Africa, war zones in Bosnia, and refugee camps in Macedonia, apart from other regions.
  • He further gained popularity through the 1998 Hollywood film ‘Patch Adams’, which was loosely based on his life and unusual perspective on medicine.
  • In 2003, another movie, ‘Munna Bhai M.B.B.S’ was also inspired by his life and distinct ways of treating patients through care and humor.
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  • He started a campaign, along with Gesundheit Board, in 2007 to raise $1 million for constructing a Teaching Center and Clinic in West Virginia, an initiative to treat patients and teach health care design on one platform.
  • The first phase of the Teaching Center underwent construction in 2011.
  • He is planning to open a full-scale modern health care facility on 310-acres land in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, which will include a 40-bed hospital, arts and crafts shops, a theater, horticulture and vocational therapy.
  • He is the author of two books – ‘Gesundheit: Good Health is a Laughing Matter’ and ‘House Calls’.
  • He continues to travel for around 300 days in a year, delivering over 11 lectures in one day, in addition to visiting patients in countries, such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Russia, and Cuba.
  • Presently, he is serving as the ‘Assistant Secretary of Health for Holistic Health’ on the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States.
Major Works
  • He established the Gesundheit! Institute, a pilot hospital model, in 1971. He partnered with Linda Edquist and 20 other friends, to provide free medical services to those who cannot afford the treatment.
Awards & Achievements
  • He was honored with the Institute of Noetic Sciences Award for Creative Altruism in 1994.
  • In 1997, he was bestowed with the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award.
  • He was appointed as the honorary chair of the International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment (IAACM) in 2008.
  • He has served as an honorary ambassador of peace for Harvey Ball Foundation, along with various other renowned celebrities.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He met Linda Edquist, a fellow VCU student, during his last year of medical school, and married her in 1975. The couple had two sons – Atomic Zagnut ‘Zag’ Adams and Lars Zig Edquist Adams. However, the two separated in 1998.
  • Currently, he resides in Urbana, Illinois.

See the events in life of Patch Adams in Chronological Order

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Article Title
- Patch Adams Biography
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Last Updated
- January 09, 2018
Patch Adams

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