Dr. Mehmet Oz, a faculty member of New York’s Columbia University Medical School Board, is being challenged by a group of prominent medical doctors from around the country, who are seeking his removal from his position. Currently, he is Vice -chairperson for Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons Department of Surgery. Additionally, he is a cardiac surgeon and serves as Director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is the co-founder of Sharecare.com, the consumer health website.
The support for the removal of Dr. Oz is centered around a letter written by Dr. Henry Miller, a fellow in public policy and scientific philosophy from the Stanford University ‘s Hoover Institution. Among the other nine doctors who signed on to the letter included Dr. Gilbert Ross from the American Council of Science and Health in New York and Dr. Joel Tepper, a cancer researcher from the University of Northern Carolina School of Medicine. In this letter written to the Dr. Lee Goldman, Columbia’s faculty dean of the Health Sciences and Medicine, Dr. Oz is referred to as “a fake and a charlatan.”
The attack in the letter proposes that the public is being misled and placed at risk as they believe he endorses products that are not medically sound. It points out that he lacks integrity and promotes quack solutions and cures primarily for personal financial gain. Therefore, it is with conviction that the doctors feel this is not a reputation to be attached to such a prestigious school. Ultimately, the group would like Dr. Oz to resign and work on television if he so desires as a celebrity doctor.
Dr. Oz became a popular figure to television viewers through the means of Oprah Winfrey, who brought him to national fame because of his medical advice complimented by his charismatic style. Dr. Oz stated that what he presents on his programs are items that he is passionate about and studies them before he shares the information with the public. It was reported that he told the media that what he shares is for the purpose of helping people be on a path that will result in being “better selves.” A variety of points of view are presented without a conflict of interest including that of Dr. Oz.
Dr. Oz had to appear before the US Senate Committee on Consumer Protection to defend his views regarding a weight-loss program. The controversy stemmed around the voices of critics, who said there was no scientific evidence of positive results. He was scolded by senators, who believe what he is telling the public amounts to supplements that could be described as a “magic weight-loss cure.” Although all the suggested supplements have not be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Oz believes that they can work effectively with the proper diet and exercise. His personal philosophy motivates him to give people a sense of hope and a “can do” attitude.
Written by Marie A. Wakefield