The Joy of Caring
Patch Adams, M.D. the real man behind the hit movie Patch Adams, starring Robin Williams, is both a medical doctor and a clown. He is also a social activist who has devoted 30 years to changing America’s health care system. He believes that laughter, joy, and creativity are an integral part of the healing process. Dr. Adams adds to his training as a physician his experience as a street clown. In working with health care and mental health professionals, he explores the relationship between humor and therapy using his unique blend of knowledge, showmanship and “hands-on” teaching techniques. Dr. Adams and his colleagues have practiced medicine that way at the Gesundheit! Institute together in West Virginia for 12 years and in that time saw 15,000 patients. From that experience onward Dr. Adams has devoted his life to the study of what makes people happy and furthering the institute’s continuing mission.
In 2006, the Institute began Global Outreach Clowns (GO!CLOWNS), which offers opportunities for volunteer social and medical activism around the world. GO!CLOWNS cultivates therapeutic alliances while combining health care with clowning, collaborative play, music, and art. The program is responsible for building clinics, providing humanitarian and medical care, and engaging communities in collaborative community development projects.