Patch Adams Biography


Birthday: May 28, 1945 (Gemini)

Born In: Washington, D.C.

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
Quick Facts

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

Age: 79 Years, 79 Year Old 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

American Men George Washington University

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

City: Washington D.C.

Founder/Co-Founder: Gesundheit! Institute

More Facts

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

  • 1

    What inspired Patch Adams to become a doctor?

    Patch Adams was inspired to become a doctor after spending time in a mental institution and realizing the importance of treating patients with compassion and humor.

  • 2

    What is the main message of the movie "Patch Adams?"

    The main message of the movie "Patch Adams" is that laughter and human connection are important aspects of healing and healthcare.

  • 3

    Is the character of Patch Adams based on a real person?

    Yes, the character of Patch Adams is based on the real-life Dr. Hunter "Patch" Adams, who is known for his unconventional approach to medicine and patient care.

  • 4

    What medical philosophy does Patch Adams follow?

    Patch Adams follows a holistic medical philosophy that emphasizes the importance of treating patients as whole individuals, addressing their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

  • 5

    Has Patch Adams faced criticism for his unconventional methods?

    Yes, Patch Adams has faced criticism from some in the medical community for his unconventional methods, but he remains dedicated to his belief in the healing power of humor and compassion.

Childhood & Early Life
Patch Adams was born as Hunter Doherty Adams on May 28, 1945, in Washington DC, into a military family to Robert Loughridge Adams and Anna Campbell Stewart.
His father served in World War II and Korean War and died while he was posted in Germany, in 1961. He came back to the US, with his mother and brother, and settled in Virginia.
He was enrolled at an all-white Wakefield High School where he encountered racism and was bullied by his classmates. As such, he attempted suicide and was hospitalized thrice in a year.
During his last hospitalization, he chose to make a revolution by healing people with love and laughter, instead of ending his life.
He finished school in 1963 and further completed a pre-medical coursework from George Washington University.
He entered medical school at Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), without having an undergraduate degree and subsequently, received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1971.
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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.
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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.
Facts About Patch Adams

Patch Adams is known for his unconventional approach to medicine, which includes using humor and laughter as part of his healing practice.

He founded the Gesundheit! Institute, a non-profit healthcare organization that promotes holistic and compassionate care for patients.

Patch Adams believes in the power of human connection and emphasizes the importance of treating patients with empathy and kindness.

He is also an advocate for social change and has spoken out on various issues including healthcare reform and the importance of love and community in healing.

In addition to his work in healthcare, Patch Adams is a clown and often uses his clown persona to bring joy and laughter to patients and communities around the world.

See the events in life of Patch Adams in Chronological Order

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