Hunter Doherty "Patch" Adams (born May 28, 1945, in Washington, D.C.) is an American physician, social activist, clown and author. He founded the Gesundheit! Institute in 1971. Each year he organizes a group of volunteers from around the world to travel to various countries where they dress as clowns in an effort 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 had a difficult childhood. His father, an officer in the United States Army, had fought in Korea, and died while stationed in Germany when Adams was still a teenager. After his father's death, Adams returned to the United States with his mother and brother. Upon his return, Adams has stated that he encountered institutional injustice which made him a target for bullies at school. As a result, Adams was unhappy and became actively suicidal. After being hospitalized three times in one year for wanting to end his life, he decided "you don't kill yourself, stupid; you make revolution." Early career
After graduating (1963) from Wakefield High School Adams completed pre-med coursework at the 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 Patch Adamsfilm) 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, 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. Soon after graduation, Patch, Linda,...
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