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Mehmet Oz

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Mehmet Oz
Mehmet Oz - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012.jpg
Oz at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in 2012
Born Mehmet Cengiz Öz
(1960-06-11) June 11, 1960 (age 57)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Residence Cliffside Park, New Jersey, U.S.
Education Harvard University (A.B.)
University of Pennsylvania (M.D., M.B.A.)
Occupation Surgeon, talk show host, author
Years active 1982–present
Spouse(s) Lisa Lemole (m. 1985)
Children 4

Mehmet Cengiz Öz (Turkish: [mehˈmet dʒenˈɟiz øz]; born June 11, 1960),[1] better known as Dr. Oz, is a Turkish-American[2][3][4] cardiothoracic surgeon, Columbia University professor, pseudoscience promoter,[5] author, and television personality.[6]

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.[7]

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".[8] 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 mainstream medicine and the remainder of Oz's advice were either vague banalities or unsupported by research.[9]

Early life[edit]

Oz was born in 1960 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Suna and Mustafa Öz, who had emigrated from Konya Province, Turkey.[10][11] 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. Mehmet Cengiz Oz has two sisters, Seval Öz and Nazlim Öz.[11][12]

Oz was educated at Tower Hill School in Wilmington, Delaware.[13] In 1982, he received his undergraduate degree in biology at Harvard University.[14] In 1986, he obtained MD and MBA degrees respectively at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine[13] and Penn's Wharton School.[15] He was awarded the Captain's Athletic Award for leadership in college[16] and was class president and then student body president during medical school.[17]


Oz has been a professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia University since 2001.[18] He directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.[19] His research interests include heart replacement surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and health care policy.

In 2010, Oz joined Jeff Arnold as co-founder of Sharecare, Inc.,[20] providing an interactive question and answer platform for industry experts to answer health-related questions.[21]

Oz described his philosophy to The New Yorker: "I want no more barriers between patient and medicine. I would take us all back a thousand years, when our ancestors lived in small villages and there was always a healer in that village."[22]

Television, radio and films[edit]

The Dr. Oz Show
The Dr. Oz Show logo.png
Genre Talk show
Presented by Mehmet Oz
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 1,000+ [23]
Executive producer(s)
  • Stacy Rader
  • Amy Chiaro
Camera setup Multiple
Running time 44 minutes
Production company(s)
  • ZoCo Productions (2009–2010)
    (season 1)
  • Harpo Studios (2010–2017)
    (season 2-8)
  • OzWorks (2010–2017)
    (season 2-8)
  • Oz Media (2017–)
    (season 9-present)
Distributor Sony Pictures Television
Original network Syndication
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original release September 14, 2009 (2009-09-14) – present
External links
Michelle Obama and Mehmet Oz learn a dance routine during a taping of the “Dr. Oz Show”, 2013

Oz appeared as a health expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show for five seasons.[24]

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,[25] but vacated Rockefeller Center after NBC reclaimed the space for its Late Night franchise.[26] Beginning with season five, Dr. Oz originates from ABC Television Center East on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.[27]

On the show, Oz addressed issues like Type 2 diabetes[28] and promoted resveratrol supplements, which he stated were anti-aging.[29] His Transplant! television series won both a Freddie[30] and a Silver Telly award.[31] He served as medical director for Denzel Washington's John Q.[32]

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".[33]

On October 23, 2014, Surgeon Oz, showing Oz's career as a surgeon, debuted on OWN.[34]


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.[35]

Oz and the Hearst Corporation launched the bi-monthly magazine Dr. Oz THE GOOD LIFE on February 4, 2014.[36]

Awards and honors[edit]

Mehmet Oz at ServiceNation in 2008

Time magazine ranked Oz at 44th on its list of the "100 Most Influential People in 2008"[37] and Esquire magazine placed him on its list of the "75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century".[38] He was named one of "The Harvard 100 Most Influential Alumni" by 02138 magazine.[39] He won the Gross Surgical Research Scholarship.[39] He was listed in "Doctors of the Year" by Hippocrates magazine and in "Healers of the Millennium" by Healthy Living magazine.[40]

Other awards and honors include:


Oz has faced criticism due to his tendency to feature non-scientific and pseudoscientific advice.

Arsenic in apple juice[edit]

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.[44] A school district in a small town in Illinois took apple juice off its menu after the show.[45] 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.[46][47][48][49] Nestlé, which manufactures some brands of apple juice, also criticized the show's testing methodology, claiming that the particular testing method used was intended for testing water, not juice, and for that reason, the results would be "unreliable at best".

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. However, when counting only inorganic arsenic, only one of the 80 apple juice samples tested exceeded 10-part-per-billion limit, and even then only slightly, at 10.48 ppb.[50][51] The limits, however, only apply to arsenic levels for drinking water; there are no legal limits for arsenic in fruit juices. However, 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.[52]

Real Age drug marketing[edit]

Oz is a spokesman and advisor for the website, 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."[53]

Reparative therapy of homosexuals[edit]

A November 28, 2012 episode of The Dr. Oz Show was devoted to reparative therapy,[54] "forms of therapy that are designed to turn a gay person straight",[55] all of which have been directly rejected by the mainstream mental health professions.[56] 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.[57] 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 the 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".[57] 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."[55]

June 2014 Senate hearing[edit]

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."[58] 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.[58]

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.[59][60]

Lack of scientific validity[edit]

Oz was heavily criticised by Senator Claire McCaskill in a hearing on consumer fraud in diet product advertising.

Popular Science[61]and The New Yorker[22] have published critical articles on Oz for giving "non-scientific" advice. These criticisms include questioning if he is "doing more harm than good"[22] and pointing out his "irresponsible and dangerous" treatment of eating disorders.[citation needed]

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."[62] 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.[63]
  • 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.[64]
  • In 2012, Oz won "The Pigasus Award for Refusal to Face Reality" for his continued promotion of "quack medical practices, paranormal belief, and pseudoscience".[65]

Oz has also been supportive of homeopathy.[66]

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.[67]

Oz has stated that he is a proponent of alternative medicine and that he makes great efforts to inform viewers that he neither sells nor endorses any supplements.[58]

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.[9] The study showed that 39 percent had no supporting scientific evidence, while the remaining 15 percentage points went directly against scientific evidence.[68]

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".[69]


Oz is a registered Republican.[70]

Personal life[edit]

Oz and his wife Lisa

Oz lives in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, with his wife Lisa.[71] They have been married since 1985[72] and have four children. His eldest daughter is author and television host Daphne Oz.

Oz is fluent in English and Turkish.[73] He is a holder of Turkish and American citizenship, having served in the Turkish Army to retain his Turkish citizenship.[2]

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.[74] Oz identifies himself as a Muslim[75][76] and says that he has been influenced by the mysticism of Sufi Muslims from Central Turkey,[77] as well as the ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg, the Swedish scientist, philosopher, and Christian theologian.[78][79]

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."[80]

In August 2010, Oz was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous polyp in the colon during a routine colonoscopy[81] which was performed as part of his show. Oz said that the procedure likely saved his life.[82]


  • 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

Television shows[edit]

  • Second Opinion with Dr Oz on Discovery during the 2003–04 season [40]
  • 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[83]
  • NY Med on ABC
  • Dr. Ken on ABC (January 11, 2016)


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]