Patch Adams

Patch Adams

Patch Adams, M.D, is a physician who is the founder and director of Gesundheit Institute, a free health facility in operation for the past 22 years. 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, exemplifying Dr. Adams' unusual methods of a typically uniform career. 

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.   Some examples of presentations that have gained Dr. Adams notoriety are as follows. "The Gesundheit Institute: Medicine for Fun, not for Funds", is a discussion and Q and A session regarding a medical experiment involving his 22 year direction of a medical facility that has charged no money, carried no malpractice, accepted no 3rd party insurance and has patients living in a large group home. "The Joy of Caring", is an inspirational talk about the thrill of helping others. 

Adams' "Humor and Health" takes a lighter look at the way the two are connected, and he lends his personal anecdotes from his 30+ years as a street clown. "How to be Nutty" is an extremely fun "playshop" teaching practical steps on how to be silly, alleviating stress and encouraging participation by getting costumed up and parading around in public.  

Dr. Adams gets into character in his "Magic Elixirs of Life" presentation, as he becomes a 19th century snake-oil salesman and promotes his special tonics for living; there are 18 in all including, nutrition, exercise, wonder, curiosity, and love. In the "Holding your Dreams in Community" workshop, the emphasis is on making a communally driven atmosphere a success, and he enjoys working with Gareth Branwyn on this subject matter due to their 16 year association in community philosophy. 

"Happiness/Joy" explores the possibility of a truly joyous life each and every day; and "Wellness" is primarily dialogue and an overview of the breadth of potential in being well. "Poetry and Medicine" looks at the value of words to communicate and aid understanding; request Dang Fools and bring mayhem and mischief to any event as Adams and friends masquerade in their clown suits and wreak havoc wherever they appear; which is particularly effective in hospital settings.   

Dr. Adams discusses "Self Esteem" with the intent to open the door for each person to feel, in a palpable way, their own greatness; "Laughter Meditation" and "Fun Death" both pair up Adams with friends to create a hilarious program of anything can happen next.   

Dr. Adams has been successful at relaying formal and informal exchanges on many aspects of health care, laughter, citizen diplomacy, communal living, medical consequences of nuclear war and the many connections between art and medicine. Evaluations from previous performances and workshops are available for review. His alternative methods of wellness have made his contributions to the medical community unique and his talents cannot be matched.

Speaker Details


The Gesundheit Institute: Medicine for Fun, Not for Funds

The Joy of Caring How to Be Nutty

Humor & Health

Fee Range

Travels from
Washington, DC
Books by this Speaker
Client Feedback

"Dr. Adams was engaging, empowering and his remarks very well received by the audience.

--Meeting Executive, University of Iowa 


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