Mehmet Cengiz Öz
June 11, 1960
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Education||Harvard University (BS)|
University of Pennsylvania (MD, MBA)
|Occupation||Talk show host, surgeon, author|
Lisa Lemole (m. 1985)
Mehmet Cengiz Öz (Turkish: [mehˈmet dʒenˈɟiz øz]; born June 11, 1960), known professionally as Dr. Oz, is a Turkish American television personality, cardiothoracic surgeon, Columbia University professor, pseudoscience promoter, and author.
Oz came to general prominence with appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show beginning in 2004, and later on Larry King Live and other TV programs. In 2009, The Dr. Oz Show, a daily television program focusing on medical issues and personal health, was launched by Winfrey's Harpo Productions and Sony Pictures.
He is a proponent of alternative medicine, and has been criticized by physicians, government officials, and publications, including Popular Science and The New Yorker, for giving non-scientific advice and promoting pseudoscience. In a Senate hearing on weight loss scams, Senator Claire McCaskill chided Oz, saying: "The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you call miracles". In 2014 the British Medical Journal examined over 400 medical or health recommendations from 40 episodes of his program and found that only 46% of his claims were supported by reputable research, while 15% of his claims contradicted medical research and the remainder of Oz's advice were either vague banalities or unsupported by research.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Controversy
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Bibliography
- 6 Television shows
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Oz was born in 1960 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Suna and Mustafa Öz, who had emigrated from Konya Province, Turkey. Mustafa, born in Bozkır, a small town in central Turkey, earned scholarships that allowed him to emigrate to the United States as a medical resident in 1955. Suna (née Atabay), who comes from a wealthy İstanbul family, is the daughter of a pharmacist with Circassian (Shapsug) descent on her mother's side. Oz has two sisters, Seval Öz and Nazlim Öz.
Oz was educated at Tower Hill School in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1982, he received his undergraduate degree in biology at Harvard University. In 1986, he obtained MD and MBA degrees respectively at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Penn's Wharton School. He was awarded the Captain's Athletic Award for leadership in college and was class president and then student body president during medical school.
Oz has been a professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia University since 2001. He directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. His research interests include heart valve replacement surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and health care policy.
Television, radio and films
Oz appeared as a health expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show for five seasons.
His show debuted September 14, 2009. The show is co-produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions and distributed by Sony Pictures Television. It is the second Oprah spin-off series featuring a regular guest (Dr. Phil being the first), and it marks the first time that Winfrey's company has partnered with another studio outside of the current CBS Television Distribution, which co-produces her series as well as her other series. This is assumed to be because The Dr. Oz Show is in direct competition with the Dr. Phil spinoff The Doctors, which CBS distributes. For the first four seasons, shows were recorded in Studio 6A at NBC Studios in New York, but vacated Rockefeller Center after NBC reclaimed the space for its Late Night franchise. Beginning with season five, Dr. Oz originates from ABC Television Center East on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
On the show, Oz addressed issues like Type 2 diabetes and promoted resveratrol supplements, which he stated were anti-aging. His Transplant! television series won both a Freddie and a Silver Telly award. He served as medical director for Denzel Washington's John Q.
In January 2011, Oz premiered as part of a weekly show on OWN called "Oprah's Allstars". In each episode, he, Suze Orman, and Dr. Phil answer various questions about life, health and finance. He also currently does a health segment on 1010 WINS titled "Your Daily Dose".
On October 23, 2014, Surgeon Oz, showing Oz's career as a surgeon, debuted on OWN.
Oz co-authored, with Michael F. Roizen, six New York Times best sellers including You: The Owner's Manual, You: The Smart Patient, You: On a Diet, You: Staying Young, You: Being Beautiful as well as Healing from the Heart. His book You: Having a Baby was published by Free Press in 2009. He has a regular column in Esquire magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine and his article "Retool, Reboot, and Rebuild" was awarded the 2009 National Magazine Award for Personal Service.
Time magazine ranked Oz at 44th on its list of the "100 Most Influential People in 2008" and Esquire magazine placed him on its list of the "75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century". He was named one of "The Harvard 100 Most Influential Alumni" by 02138 magazine. He was listed in "Doctors of the Year" by Hippocrates magazine and in "Healers of the Millennium" by Healthy Living magazine.
Other awards and honors include:
- 2010 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host
- 2011 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host
- 2016 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host
Oz has faced criticism due to his tendency to feature non-scientific and pseudoscientific advice.
Arsenic in apple juice
In September 2011, Oz drew criticism for a show focusing on the alleged dangers of arsenic in apple juice. Oz hired an independent toxicology laboratory, EMSL, and found arsenic levels in some samples to be above the limit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows in drinking water. The FDA said "there is currently no evidence to suggest a public health risk", and criticized the emphasis on measurements of total arsenic without distinguishing between harmless organic arsenic compounds and toxic inorganic arsenic compounds that pose differing levels of health risk.
Consumer Reports conducted similar tests on samples of apple and grape juices around the same time. Unlike the tests done by Oz, Consumer Reports tested for both organic and inorganic types of arsenic. Results showed that 6% (5 out of 80) of the samples tested by Consumer Reports exceeded the 10-parts-per-billion (ppb) federal limit for arsenic in drinking water. When counting only inorganic arsenic, one of the 80 apple juice samples tested slightly exceeded 10-parts-per-billion limit, at 10.48 ppb. The limits only apply to arsenic levels for drinking water; there are no legal limits for arsenic in fruit juices. After the Dr. Oz Show aired, the FDA indicated it is continuing to research the levels of arsenic in fruit juices and other foods, and may implement limits for fruit juices in the future.
Real Age drug marketing
Oz is a spokesman and advisor for the website RealAge.com, which The New York Times has criticized for its pharmaceutical marketing practices. The site solicits medical information from visitors to determine a visitor's biological age and then uses the visitor's medical profile for pharmaceutical marketing purposes. As The Times reporter explained the significance of this fact: "While few people would fill out a detailed questionnaire about their health and hand it over to a drug company looking for suggestions for new medications, that is essentially what RealAge is doing."
Reparative therapy of homosexuals
A November 28, 2012 episode of The Dr. Oz Show was devoted to reparative therapy, "forms of therapy that are designed to turn a gay person straight", all of which have been directly rejected by the mainstream mental health professions. The broadcast featured Julie Hamilton, a representative of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which offers reparative therapy, and also had guests who condemned it. Three of the groups who were consulted for the show — GLAAD, GLSEN, and PFLAG National — issued a joint press release repudiating the episode just after it aired. The press release, calling NARTH "a splinter group of anti-gay therapists/activists", criticized the episode for starting with two segments of the show featuring proponents of reparative therapy without challenge, then introducing the NARTH representative as an "expert", and providing no opinion by Dr. Oz on the subject, which the press release authors characterized as causing the audience to be "misled to believe that there are actual experts on both sides of this issue". The press release also stated that "GLSEN would not have participated in The Dr. Oz Show had we known that NARTH would be represented". Oz responded in a blog post, mentioning the opposition of respected medical organizations to the practice of reparative therapy, and saying that "if we want to reach everyone who might benefit from understanding the risks of this therapy, you have to present multiple perspectives." He also said that he agreed "with the established medical consensus", that he had "not found enough published data supporting positive results with gay reparative therapy", and that he was concerned about "potentially dangerous effects when the therapy fails". Oz also pointed out that "the guests who appeared on my show on either side of this debate agreed that entering into any therapy with guilt and self-hate is a major error."
June 2014 Senate hearing
During a Senate hearing on consumer protection, Senator Claire McCaskill stated that by airing segments on weight loss products that are later cited in advertisements, Oz plays a role, intentional or not, in perpetuating these scams, and that she is "concerned that you are melding medical advice, news, and entertainment in a way that harms consumers." Mary Engle of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) criticized Oz for calling green coffee extract "magic" and a "miracle", stating that it is difficult for consumers to listen to their inner voices when products are praised by hosts they trust.
One of the products Oz was promoting, Green Coffee Bean Extract, was found to have no weight loss benefits. Two of the researchers who were paid to write the study admitted that they could not back their data so they retracted their paper. The FTC filed a complaint that the Texas-based company Applied Food Sciences (the promoters of the study) had falsely advertised. The FTC alleged that the study was "so hopelessly flawed that no reliable conclusions could be drawn from it" so Applied Food Sciences agreed to pay a $3.5 million settlement.
Lack of scientific validity
Popular Science and The New Yorker have published critical articles on Oz for giving "non-scientific" advice. These criticisms include questioning if he is "doing more harm than good" and pointing out his "irresponsible and dangerous" treatment of eating disorders.
The James Randi Educational Foundation has awarded Oz with their Pigasus Award, an award intended "to expose parapsychological, paranormal or psychic frauds that Randi has noted over the previous year." The award consists of a silver flying pig and refers to claiming something so doubtful that it will only happen "when pigs fly". Oz has been given this award on three separate occasions, more than any other recipient:
- In 2009 for the promotion of energy therapies such as Reiki.
- In 2010 for support of faith healing and psychic communication with the dead, among other controversial practices. Oz became the first person to receive a Pigasus Award two years in a row.
- In 2012, Oz won "The Pigasus Award for Refusal to Face Reality" for his continued promotion of "quack medical practices, paranormal belief, and pseudoscience".
As well, Oz's image and quotes have been used in many weight loss product scams. While he himself has not been found to be involved in these scams, he has made statements that were exploited by scammers.
A study published in the British Medical Journal on the effectiveness of Oz's medical advice found that only 46 percent of his recommendations had any scientific backing or rationale. The study showed that 39 percent had no supporting scientific evidence, while the remaining 15 percentage points went directly against scientific evidence.
In April 2015, a group of ten physicians from across the United States, including Henry Miller, a fellow in scientific philosophy and public policy at Stanford University's Hoover Institute, sent a letter to Columbia University calling Oz's faculty position unacceptable. They accused Oz of "an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain".
Donald Trump's The Dr. Oz Show appearance
In September 2016, during his presidential campaign, Donald Trump appeared on The Dr. Oz Show. In the days leading up to the appearance, Trump had come under fire in the media for an apparent refusal to publicly share the results of a recent physical health examination he had undergone. In the lead-up to the show's taping, Oz promoted Trump's appearance with a guarantee to obtain and ostensibly broadcast the exam's results, although the host declared that he would not ask Trump questions the then-Republican nominee did not wish to answer.
The taping remained closed to the press. Oz reportedly read the results off of a sheet of paper Trump himself handed to the host. NBC journalist Katy Tur reported that a source in the studio claimed that Oz remarked positively regarding Trump's health report, saying he "would be happy if any of his patients had similar results." The one-page summary that Trump released to Oz reflected a health report generated by Trump's personal physician Dr. Harold N. Bornstein in 2015. Bornstein's note was widely criticized for its "unusual, brief" tone.
Reports on Trump's weight conflicted: Oz declared Trump "slightly overweight" at 236 pounds; earlier reports reported Trump's weight at 267 pounds.
Several news outlets speculated that Trump's appearance aimed to appeal to The Dr. Oz Show's large female viewership. The episode coincided with the media fallout that occurred after the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took a brief hiatus from the campaign trail after falling ill with pneumonia.
Bruce Japsen, Forbes contributor, criticized Trump's appearance given that Oz is not Trump's doctor. Japsen further pointed out the American Medical Association's ethics directives which warn against "personal opinion" in favor of evidence-based exams informing publicly given advice.
Oz has voiced his support of shutting down Backpage, a controversial website which was seized by U.S. authorities in April 2018. Backpage has earned millions of dollars by allowing sex ads to be hosted on its website, some of which featured children. The site has been supported by the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) have been passed by the U.S. Congress in 2018 as a response to Backpage.
Oz grew up in a mixed Muslim environment where his father's family practiced more traditional Islam, while his mother's family were more secular Muslims. Oz identifies himself as a Muslim and says that he has been influenced by the mysticism of Sufi Muslims from Central Turkey, as well as the ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg, the 18th century Swedish theologian, scientist, philosopher, revelator and mystic.
Oz is a practitioner of transcendental meditation. "When I meditate, I go to that place where truth lives", he said. "I can see what reality really is, and it is so much easier to form good relationships then."
In August 2010, Oz was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous polyp in the colon during a routine colonoscopy which was performed as part of his show. Oz said that the procedure likely saved his life.
- Healing from the Heart: A Leading Surgeon Combines Eastern and Western Traditions to Create the Medicine of the Future, by Mehmet Öz, Ron Arias, Dean Ornish, 1999, ISBN 0-452-27955-0.
- Complementary and Alternative Cardiovascular Medicine: Clinical Handbook, by Richard A. Stein (Editor), Mehmet, M.D. Oz (Editor), 2004, ISBN 1-58829-186-3.
- YOU: The Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger, by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz, 2005, ISBN 0-06-076531-3.
- YOU: On a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management, by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz, 2006, ISBN 0-7432-9254-5.
- YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment, by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz, 2006, ISBN 0-7432-9301-0.
- YOU: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty, by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz, 2007, ISBN 0-7432-9256-1.
- YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty, by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz, 2008, ISBN 1-4165-7234-1.
- YOU: Breathing Easy: Meditation and Breathing Techniques to Help You Relax, Refresh, and Revitalize, by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz, 2008.
- YOU: Having a Baby: The Owner's Manual from Conception to Delivery and More, by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz, 2009.
- Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery, by Mehmet C. Oz, 2010, ISBN 1-61737-400-8.
- Numerous editorials in TIME, Newsweek, O Magazine, Esquire Magazine, and The New England Journal of Medicine
- Second Opinion with Dr Oz on Discovery during the 2003–04 season 
- Life Line on Discovery Health
- Daily Rounds on Discovery Health
- The Truth About Food on Discovery Health
- Live Transplant on Discovery Health
- National Body Challenge on Discovery Health
- You: On a Diet on Discovery Health
- Ask Dr. Oz on The Oprah Winfrey Show
- AccentHealth on Turner Private Networks—a health-themed newsmagazine program designed for viewing in doctor's offices
- The Dr. Oz Show, Syndicated
- Your Life A to Z with Dr. Oz
- NY Med on ABC
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The most important fact about these "therapies" is that they are based on a view of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions.
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That is his base line, to which he adds more yoga, short runs and basketball games with friends near his home in Cliffside Park, N.J., when he can.
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