Dr. Patch Adams anchors UA health festival

Education | 27 Feb, 2016 |

The real Patch Adams and medical students are putting on their red noses Saturday for a free festival celebrating humor, health and healing.

University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix students and faculty will offer tips to perform better CPR, “scrub” photo sessions in a simulated operating room and fun demonstrations on healthy aging at the Clown Town Healing Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 at Arizona Center, 400 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix.

Other seminars and demonstrations include yoga and stretching, informational healing sessions, physician one-on-ones, music, games, speakers, performances, stress relief through breathing, lectures on bullying, and using humor to face a life-threatening illness.

The College of Medicine is partnering with the Gesundheit Institute and the Turtle Island Project to further the mission of preventative health care.

The event promises to appeal to a variety of ages. A healthy aging area will allow participants to experience the process of aging. Using special glasses, they will see how aging affects vision; they will be invited to open a pill box using gloves, and will feel what it’s like to walk as an older person after they have placed popcorn kernels in their shoes.

“Hopefully, the exercises will help people to empathize with older adults,” said Georgia Hall, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Family, Community and Preventive Medicine, and director of gerontology and geriatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. “We will try to simulate normal aging and help participants understand that they can age in a healthy manner and maintain control of their lives.”

Mannequins from the College’s Center for Simulation and Innovation will allow guests to learn how to listen for lung sounds and a heartbeat. College of Medicine students will be on hand to teach CPR tips. Youngsters will be able to “scrub up” and have their photos taken in a simulated operating room.

As a participant in the Clown Town Healing Fest, the College values its philosophy of inspiring people to become proactively involved in their health. The event will be led by Patch Adams, MD, and Carl Hammerschlag, MD, who have traveled the world promoting health and healing.

Dr. Hammerschlag is a Yale-trained psychiatrist and University of Arizona Medical School faculty member who is considered a pioneer in Psychoneuroimmunology (mind-body-spirit medicine). Dr. Adams founded the Gesundheit Institute in 1971 to introduce holistic medical care. He is a social activist who believes that laughter, joy and creativity are an integral part of the healing process. The 1988 film, “Patch Adams,” which starred comedian Robin Williams, was based on Adams’ life and views on medicine.

“Humor is a great antidote,” said Dr. Kevin Foster, director of Maricopa Integrated Health Systems’ Arizona Burn Center, a Healing Fest sponsor. “We look forward to sharing Patch Adams’ philosophy with our patients, physicians, nurses and residents. The world needs more Patch Adamses.”

The event is free. Registration is encouraged, but not required to attend. Register at ClownTownHealingFest.com.

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