Patch Adams, World Famous Clown and Doctor, Speaks at AUA

Patch Adams speaks to students and faculty at the American University of Armenia
Patch Adams speaks to students and faculty at the American University of Armenia

Patch Adams speaks to students and faculty at the American University of Armenia

YEREVAN—On May 26, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted Patch Adams, world famous clown, doctor, and subject of the 1998 semi-biographical film, “Patch Adams,” for an inspirational interactive seminar on health, happiness, and how to have fun. The event, entitled “Patch Adams’ ‘Dance with Humanity’ or a ‘Love Revolution,’” was hosted by the AUA School of Public Health in collaboration with IDeA Foundation and was open to the public.

Adams spoke to a packed Manoogian Hall about his life and his work, explaining that at the age of 18 he decided to never have another sad day. He began clowning, and later decided to incorporate this work into practicing medicine.

Adams promotes an alternative health care model. 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. As he puts it, “I was going to be a free doctor, a free loving doctor. So, that was an easy decision, the harder one was how can I make myself an instrument for peace and justice and care in every moment. And that is when I decided to live from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed six qualities: happy, funny, loving, cooperative, creative, and thoughtful.”

During his one-week visit to Armenia, Adams and his group of hospital clowns (the clowns of Russia-based Maria’s Children Art Center) paid visits to orphanages and children’s hospitals in Yerevan, Gyumri, Vanadzor and Dilijan.

Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams is an American physician, social activist, clown, and author. He founded the Gesundheit! (German for “Good health!”) Institute in 1971. After graduating (1963) from Wakefield High School, Adams completed pre-med coursework at George Washington University. He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree at Virginia Commonwealth University (Medical College of Virginia MCV) in 1971. 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, and friends founded the Gesundheit! Institute (originally known to many as the Zanies), which ran as a free community hospital for 12 years.

The AUA School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.


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