Who Is Dr. Oz?
Dr. Oz is a renowned heart surgeon who has brought complementary medicine into the mainstream as a television personality, radio host and author. His first TV show, Second Opinion with Dr. Oz, lasted just one season, but regular gigs on Oprah Winfrey's show cemented his celebrity doctor status. Oz now hosts his own health-centric TV series, The Dr. Oz Show.
Early Years and Schools
Mehmet Cengiz Oz was born to Suna and Mustafa Oz on June 11, 1960, in Cleveland, Ohio. A few years later, the family moved to Wilmington, Delaware, where Oz was raised. Though he grew up in the United States, Oz made frequent family trips to his parents' homeland of Turkey. These visits influenced the young Oz greatly, as they taught him to view the world with an open mind, which would eventually shape his work as a doctor.
Oz decided at the age of 7 that he wanted to work in the medical field, having witnessed first-hand the hope that his father brought to his patients as a surgeon at Wilmington Medical Center. "I thought ... it would feel so good if I could do that, too," Oz told Henry Louis Gates Jr. in an interview on the PBS show Faces of America.
After graduation from Harvard University, Oz went on to jointly earn an MBA from The Wharton School and an MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
From Surgeon to 'Second Opinion'
Oz proved himself to be an exceptional surgeon, becoming a specialist in heart transplants and minimally invasive procedures. Early in his career, he treated a patient whose family would not allow a blood transfusion for religious reasons. Though the encounter initially upset him, it eventually led Oz to broaden his approach to healing. "I began to recognize that as dogmatic as I thought I could be with my knowledge base, there were certain elements of the healing process I could not capture," he said in a Life Extension magazine interview. The experience led him to seek out alternative treatments and combine them with Western medical practices.
In 1994, Oz established the Cardiovascular Institute and Integrative Medicine Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Media exposure followed, and with his wife, he co-authored the book Healing from the Heart: A Leading Surgeon Combines Eastern and Western Traditions to Create the Medicine of the Future, which was released in 1998.
The couple teamed up again to create Second Opinion With Dr. Oz, a television show that brought the surgeon's medical expertise to an even wider audience during its sole season in 2003. His guests included Charlie Sheen, Magic Johnson, Patti LaBelle, Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey.
Oprah and Books
After Oz landed Winfrey as a guest on his show, a warm working relationship developed. The talk show queen invited the surgeon to make regular appearances on her TV series, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and her radio program, Oprah & Friends. Anointed "America's doctor" by Winfrey, Oz embraced his celebrity status with guest spots on a number of news programs and talk shows. He also began publishing the bestselling YOU book series and penning columns for Esquire and other media outlets.
'The Dr. Oz Show'
Oz's popularity rose to such heights that Winfrey offered to co-produce a TV series for him. The Dr. Oz Show debuted in 2009 to the highest daytime TV ratings on record in nine years and went on to win numerous Emmy Awards.
In addition to hosting the TV show, Oz continues to serve as vice-chairman and professor of surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. He also branched out into a new form of media in 2014 with the launch of a lifestyle magazine, The Good Life.
Also in 2014, Oz found himself in front of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection to answer questions about the weight loss products he endorses on his show. One of the products that came under scrutiny was green coffee bean extract. After Oz mentioned it on his show, the dietary supplement saw an increase in sales. But there is little evidence to support the claim that the product is an effective weight loss tool.
During the subcommittee meeting, Senator Claire McCaskill chided Oz for promoting these types of products without the necessary scientific evidence to back up their health claims. According to CBS News, Oz claimed that "my show is about hope" and getting "folks to realize there are different ways they can rethink their future." He also supported more study of the health supplements market, calling for more investigations into the safety of these products.
Appearing on Sean Hannity's show to offer his insights amid the coronavirus outbreak in April 2020, Oz came under fire for suggesting that reopening schools might "only cost us 2 to 3 percent in terms of total mortality." He apologized shortly afterward, noting that he was thinking of the positives that a school environment offers for children.
Oz and his wife, Lisa, first met at a family dinner arranged by their fathers, both heart surgeons. The pair hit it off but dated secretly at first. "I immediately fell in love with her ... but I didn't want my dad to know because I didn't want him to have the satisfaction of believing he had set his son up with his future wife," Oz said in an interview.
Married since 1985, the couple has collaborated on numerous projects, including the bestselling YOU book series. They have four children, with their oldest daughter, Daphne, following in her father's footsteps as a TV host and author.
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