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Elevated by a steady stream of appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (Syndicated 1986- ), Dr. Mehmet Oz jumped from being a skilled heart surgeon to becoming one of the world's best known and lauded doctors. A pioneer in his approach to well-being, which utilized both Western and alternative therapies, Oz believed "global medicine" to be the most comprehensive method in aligning body, mind and spirit. To spread the word, Oz co-authored a series of self-help books, including: YOU: The Owner's Manuel, YOU: The Smart Patient, and YOU: Staying Young, all New York Times best-sellers, as was his own award-winning Healing from the Heart. With the powerful blessing of Oprah Winfrey and with a list of honors and awards as long as his patient list, Oz launched his own program "The Dr. Oz Show," (syndicated, 2009- ), which televised his mission to place individuals on their own enlightened road to wellness.
Mehmet Cenig Oz was born June 11, 1960 in Cleveland, OH, to Turkish Muslim immigrants, Mustafa and Suna Oz. Both parents were physicians: his father rose to Chief of Cardiothoracic surgery at Wilmington Medical Center in Delaware, and his mother was the head of a family pharmaceutical company in Turkey. As a boy, his parents often took Oz and his two younger sisters from Delaware to vacation in their native country. He happened upon an article about the first 12 people who had received heart transplants in the world, and his awe at this historic breakthrough sealed his future focus. Later in life, Oz received his bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1982, followed by a joint MD and MBA from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton Business School in 1986, all while retaining dual passports so he could serve in the Turkish Army during med school. During his studies, Oz met future wife and mother to his four children, Lisa Lemole, whose own father was a highly regarded heart surgeon. Dr. Lemole's recommended low-fat diet, exercise and mental approach to healing were huge inspirations for his future son-in-law.
Oz spent seven years at Colombia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, training in surgery and cardiothoracic medicine. While there, he met a patient who shaped his views on healing: a woman destined to die without the blood transplant that her family refused because of their religious views. Days later when the woman left the hospital completely healed, a moved Oz reflected: "[T]here were certain elements of the healing process I could not capture. And even if I was right in the science, I could be wrong in the spirit." In 1993, Oz became an attending surgeon at Columbia and established himself as a heart transplant specialist, where he explored less invasive methods of cardiac surgery. He established the Cardiac Complementary Care Center at Columbia Presbyterian in 1995 and reached out to 100 cardiologists to participate in a study tracking the use of alternative treatments, alongside standard medicine. The alternative roster included meditation and hypnosis as well as manual therapies including massage, acupuncture, acupressure and Reiki, a non-invasive form of "energy medicine" which balanced mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. The results were detailed in Oz's first book, Healing from the Heart: A Leading Surgeon Combines Eastern and Western Traditions to Create the Medicine of the Future (1998). Co-authored with his wife Lisa and journalist Ron Arias, the book was a best seller and earned the Books for a Better America award.
In 2001, Oz became Director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia-Presbyterian, as well as Vice-Chair for the Cardiovascular Services and a Professor of Surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. As his audience grew, Oz pushed his message further by founding HealthCorps in 2003, a non-profit org that paid a stipend to college graduates to spend two years in high schools mentoring students about health and fitness. After he and wife, Lisa, created a show called "Second Opinion with Dr. Oz" (Discovery, 2003-04), Oprah Winfrey came on to discuss her lifelong battle with weight control, which led to her inviting Oz to begin making regular appearances on her own syndicated series. Oz used the Discovery programs to create the YOU: The Owner's Manual book series starting in 2005, with help from writing partner, Dr. Michael Roizen. Subsequently, Oz became a regular literary contributor to Esquire and The Saturday Evening Post, as well as frequent guest medical expert on CNN, "Dateline" (NBC, 1992- ), "Today" (NBC, 1952- )" and "Good Morning America" (ABC 1975- ).
Oz became an advisor and spokesman for the hugely popular and somewhat controversial website RealAge.com, started by collaborator Rozien, which asked visitors to determine their "real" versus "true" biological age. Critics complained it was a means for drug companies to garner free data about the medicinal uses and desires of everyday Americans who would not otherwise provide such information. Meanwhile, in 2006, Oz released two additional best-sellers: YOU: On a Diet and YOU: The Smart Patient, then joined Oprah's XM Satellite Radio show "Oprah and Friends" as a regular contributor and host. YOU: Staying Young and YOU: Being Beautiful were added to the doctor's publishing credits in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Also in 2008, Oz was named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People." Though best known among his medical peers for his LVAD innovation, a left ventricular assist device that saved countless lives, it was the "Ask Dr. Oz" segments on Winfrey's show that made him a national authority to the American public. In 2009, Oz graduated from guest-star status on to his own series, "The Dr. Oz Show (Syndicated, 2009- ). The move was bolstered by Winfrey, who co-produced the series under her Harpo Productions banner alongside Sony Pictures.
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