Patch Adams Visits Notre Dame

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 21-10-2005

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



On Wednesday 19 October, The University of Notre Dame Australia had great pleasure in welcoming Patch Adams internationally renowned medical doctor , clown , performer, social activist, Founder and Director of the Gesundheit Institute, a holistic medical community that has provided free medical care to thousands of patients since it began in 1971.

To his training as a physician, Patch adds his experience as a street clown. In working with health and mental health professionals, he explores the relationship between humour and therapy using his unique blend of knowledge, showmanship and “hands on” teaching techniques. “I interpret my experience in life as being happy. I want as a doctor to say it does matter to your health to be happy. It may be the most important health factor in your life.”

Patch was brought to Perth by the Department of Health to speak on the topic of “Medicine for fun, not funds” at the 2005 WA Health Workforce Conference. He also spoke to over 100 nurses about bringing humour to health care at a breakfast, and is visiting clown doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital.

In a session with Notre Dame’s first cohort of Medical Students, Patch shared his belief that laughter, joy and creativity are an integral part of the healing process and therefore true health care must incorporate such life. He stated that doctors and patients in his model relate to each other on the basis of mutual trust, and patients receive plenty of time and “love” from their doctors.

Patch followed the session with an entertaining and sometimes challenging public lecture. Approximately 800 participants were encouraged to commit to promoting love and to care for each other.

For media related information contact: Michelle Ebbs, University of Notre Dame, Direct line: 08 9433 0610, Mobile: 0408 959 138, Email: media@nd.edu.au