Hunter "Patch" Adams
(b. December 29, 1943 at Washington, District of Columbia) founded the Gesundheit Institute in 1971. His life was the template for the plot of the movie Patch Adams
with Robin Williams as the leading actor
. Adams is currently based Arlington, Virginia, where he promotes alternative health care in collaboration with the institute.
Patch Adams is also a social activist, citizen diplomat, professional clown
, performer and author
. Each year he organizes a group of volunteers from around the world to travel to Russia
as clowns, to bring hope and joy to orphans, patients, and the people. In 1998 he also visited Bosnia, one of the Balkan Pensinsula countries torn by war.
Patch Adams graduated as a medical doctor in 1971, convinced of the powerful connection between environment and wellness. He holds the belief that the health of an individual cannot be separated from the health of the family, community, and the world. In consequence, Patch and some friends founded the Gesundheit Institute, which ran as a free community hospital for 12 years.
A revamped Gesundheit Institute, envisioned as a free, full-scale hospital and health care eco-community, is planned in West Virginia. Its goal is to integrate a traditional hospital with alternative medicine
, etc. Care will integrate medicine with performing arts, crafts, nature, agriculture, and recreation. The current location accepts volunteers through the website for the summer months. No
hospital is yet in existence, although some outreach is done (at a local women's prison and a small hospital). Several videos and books have been produced, both of which are found on the website.
Patch offers to examine the head of the head of state
Among the causes championed by Adams, since 1992, is that of MindFreedom International, which unites 100 advocacy groups united in efforts to win campaigns for human rights of people diagnosed with psychiatric disabilities. Adams has taken a leading role on behalf of the coalition in its campaign to thwart President George W. Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health
"One of the main goals of the President's New Freedom Commission is to ensure "Early mental health screening, assessment, and referral to services are common practice," said its director, David Oaks, adding, "President Bush wants to test all Americans for 'mental illness'." Adams has responded by volunteering to screen Preident Bush, "He needs a lot of help. I'll see him for free."
Coalition of Advocacy Groups Says: "Start With the Top. Test President Bush for 'Mental Illness' First: "The "Real" Patch Adams Volunteers' (press release), MindFreedom.org, (August 16, 2004)