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navigationJump to searchFor the 1998 film, see Patch Adams (film).
Robert Loughridge “Wildman” Adams, Jr. (brother)
Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams (born May 28, 1945)
is an American physician, comedian, social activist,
clown, and author. He founded the Gesundheit!
Institute in 1971. Each year he organizes volunteers
from around the world to travel to various countries
where they dress as clowns to bring humor to orphans,
patients, and other people.
Adams is currently based in Urbana, Illinois. In collaboration with the
institute, he promotes an alternative health care model not funded by
insurance policies. Adams was born in Washington, D.C., the son
of Anna Campbell Stewart (née Hunter) and Robert Loughridge Adams
His maternal grandfather, Thomas Lomax Hunter, was a Poet Laureate
of Virginia. His father, a United States Army officer who fought in Korea,
died while stationed in Germany when Adams was only 16. After his
Adams returned to the United States with his mother and brother. Adams
has stated that upon his return he encountered institutional injustice which
made him a target for bullies at school. As a result, Adams was unhappy and
became actively suicidal. After a third hospitalization in one year he decided
u don’t kill yourself, stupid; you make revolution.” After graduating in 1963
from Wakefield High School,
Adams completed pre-med coursework at George Washington University.
He began medical school without an undergraduate degree, and earned his
Doctor of Medicine degree at Virginia Commonwealth University (Medical
College of Virginia) in 1971. In the late 1960s one of his closest friends
a man, not a woman as depicted in the film) was murdered. Convinced
of the powerful connection between environment and wellness, he believes
the health of an individual cannot be separated from the health of the family,
پچ آدامز community, and the world.
While working in an adolescent clinic at MCV, in his final year of med school
he met Linda Edquist, a fellow VCU student who volunteered in the clinic
Adams and Edquist married in 1975 and had two sons, Atomic Zagnut “Zag”
Adams and Lars Zig Edquist Adams; they divorced in 1998.
Soon after graduation, Patch, Linda, and friends founded the Gesundheit!
Institute (originally known to many as the Zanies), which ran as a free
community hospital from 1971 to 1984.
A revamped Gesundheit! Institute, envisioned as a free, full-scale hospital
پچ آدامز and health care eco-community, is planned on 316 acres (128 ha) in
Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Its goal is to integrate a traditional
hospital with alternative medicine, with the organization developing
educational programs in sustainable systems design targeted to
medical students and the general public.
Since the 1990s Adams has supported the Ithaca Health Alliance (IHA),
founded as the Ithaca Health Fund (IHF) by Paul Glover. In January 2006
IHA launched the Ithaca Free Clinic, bringing to life key aspects of Adams
vision. Adams has also given strong praise to Health Democracy, Glover’s
book written and published the same year.
In October 2007, Adams and the Gesundheit! Board unveiled its campaign
to raise $1 million towards building a Teaching Center and Clinic on its land
in West Virginia. The Center and Clinic will enable Gesundheit! to see
patients and teach health care design.
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.
Adams was awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award
n January 29, 1997. In 2008, Adams agreed to become honorary
chair of the “International Association for the Advancement of Creative
Maladjustment” or IAACM. MindFreedom International, a nonprofit
پچ آدامز coalition that Gesundheit! belongs to as a sponsor group, launched
the IAACM to support “creative maladjustment” and social change.
Adams still leads trips to cheer kids up all over the world. He also teaches
at one session of Wavy Gravy’s
circus camp Camp Winnarainbow. In media Patch Adams with Nechama
Rivlin in Award Ceremony of the Danielle Prize Healing with a Heart, April 2017
The 1998 film Patch Adams was based on Adams’ life and his views on medicine
Adams has heavily criticized the film, saying it eschewed an accurate representation
of his beliefs in favor of commercial viability. He said that out of all aspects of his life
and activism, the film portrayed him merely as a funny doctor. Patch Adams
also said of Robin Williams in an interview, “He made $21 million for four months
of pretending to be me, in a very
simplistic version, and did not give $10 to my free hospital. Patch Adams,
the person, would have, if I had Robin’s money, given all $21 million to
a free hospital in a country where 80 million cannot get care.”
However, in another interview, Adams did clarify that he did not
dislike Williams saying, “I think Robin himself is compassion, generous
and funny. I like to think that that’s who I am, and so I think he was
the only actor I wanted to play me, and I think he did a fabulous job.
 Williams also had actively
supported St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for several years.
Upon hearing of the death of Robin Williams, he released this statement:
The terrible news of the passing of Robin Williams reached me here in the
Peruvian Amazon late Monday night with tremendous sadness. Surrounded
by over 100 friends and clowns on our annual clown trip, we mourn this tragic
loss and continue to treasure his comic genius. Robin Williams was a wonderful
kind and generous man.
One important thing I remember about his personality is that he was
unassuming—he never acted as if he was powerful or famous. Instead,
پچ آدامز he was always tender and welcoming, willing to help others with a smile
or a joke. Robin was a brilliant comedian—there is no doubt. He was a
compassionate, caring human being. While watching him work on the set
of the film based on my life—Patch Adams–I saw that whenever there
was a stressful moment, Robin would tap into his improvisation style
to lighten the mood of cast and crew. Also, I would like to point out,
Robin would be especially
kind toward my children when they would visit the set. Contrary to how
many people may view him, he actually seemed to me to be an introvert
When he invited me and my family into his home, he valued peace and
quiet, a chance to breathe—a chance to get away from the fame that
his talent has brought him. While early in life, he turned to drug use
and alcohol to escape, he replaced the addiction with moments of
solitude to help cope with the stress that fame brought. This world i
s not kind to people who become famous, and the fame he had garnered
was a nightm are.
While saddened, we are left with the consequences of his death. I’m
enormously grateful for his wonderful performance of my early life,
which has allowed the Gesundheit! Institute to continue and expand
our work. We extend our blessings to his family and friends in this
moment of sadness. Thank you for all you’ve given this world Robin,
thank you my friend.