Patch Adams, as a young doctor in the 70s, began clowning for hospital patients.
Robin Williams portrayed him in the Hollywood film ‘Patch Adams’. Today Patch is in demand as a speaker around the world and is still raising money for his dream of a free hospital. Patch regularly accompanies groups of clowns to Russia and world trouble-spots.
Big Apple Circus established the Clown Care Unit in New York in 1987. This was the first structured hospital clown program. Today, while the focus is still New York hospitals, programmes have been set up in other US hospitals.
Theodora Foundation is based in Switzerland and has established hospital clown programs in many countries including South Africa, Hong Kong and Belorussia.
There are many hospital clowning program around the world, including Clini-Clowns in Austria, le Rire Medicine in France, Doctors of Joy in Brazil and Fools for Health in Canada.