Everybody knows Dr. Oz. The famous talk show host, whose real name is Mehmet Cengiz Oz, rose to popularity as a frequent guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show since 2009. In the show, he gave medical advice to guests and eventually became popular enough to launch his own show called The Dr. Oz Show in 2009. It remains a daytime TV staple until today.
But even though he is famous, it doesn’t mean that everybody trusts his advice. This man has become under fire for questionable medical recommendations, and he’s a proponent of alternative medicine and believer of pseudoscience – making people question if he’s really a medical doctor.
Here are some facts about Dr. Oz:
He had a reputable family and educational background.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Mehmet Oz is a child to immigrant parents who came to the United States from Turkey. His father, Mustafa Oz, was born in a small town and had a simple background. Mustafa excelled in school that allowed him to emigrate to the United States as a medical resident in a Cleveland hospital in 1955. His mother Suna, came from a wealthier Istanbul family, and a daughter of a pharmacist Dr. Oz now lives in New Jersey with his wife Lisa and their four children.
Dr. Mehmet Oz gained his medical degrees from Ivy League schools. He obtained his undergraduate degree in biology at Harvard University. He also earned his MD and MBA degrees at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and Penn’s Wharton School. He even served as class president and student body president at medical school.
Dr. Oz is sporty, too. He played safety on a football team at Harvard and won an intramural college championship in water polo. He was also awarded the Captain’s Athletic Award for leadership.
He has a successful career in the field of medicine and the media.
Dr. Oz has been a professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia University since 2001. He is a cardiothoracic surgeon and also a director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
He shares a lot of his medical expertise through television shows, radio, and books. Besides his talk show, he hosts a daily talk show in Sirius XM Radio’s Oprah Radio. He had a lot of TV shows on Discovery Health Channel, and he’s a regular columnist for Esquire and O, The Oprah Magazine.
He penned a lot of YOU books, eight of which have been New York Times bestsellers. All these books tackle health and medicine.
His talk show is a success.
The Dr. Oz Show, which debuted in 2009, has the highest daytime TV ratings on record for nine years. It even won three consecutive Emmy Awards that cemented Dr. Oz’s status as an essential part of the talk show biz. Over the years, he discussed different kinds of medical conditions and welcomed all sorts of guests. He isn’t afraid to think outside the box when proposing solutions or advising treatment, and that’s the kind of thing that gets him in trouble sometimes.
Not everyone thinks he is brilliant.
Dr. Oz is a famous TV personality, a professor, a surgeon, an author, and a journalist. He graduated from two Ivy League schools and gained both MD and MBA degrees. He made exciting discoveries in the field of cardiac medicine. But not everyone agrees with his wisdom.
The biggest complaints of critics go against his alternative treatments that are considered pseudo-scientific. Dr. Oz promotes Reiki healing and other paranormal practices that make many viewers skeptical. His medical philosophy combines traditional Western techniques and alternative ideas about healthy lifestyle choices. Dr. Oz attributes this philosophy to his Turkish heritage that allows him to see the world from another perspective.
He faced a lot of criticisms.
Most of the criticisms for Oz is due to his tendency to give non-scientific and pseudo-scientific advice. He has been supportive of alternative medicine and homeopathy.
Weight loss product scammers have exploited his image. His photos and quotes are added to advertisements. While he is not involved in the scams, he was forced to defend himself in front of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer protection after making questionable claims about a weight loss pill. His show heavily promotes green coffee bean extracts, but consumer watch groups (and even some fans) were skeptical. Oz defended himself by saying, “my show is about hope,” and he was only trying to get people to realize that there are different ways to rethink their future. Later on, he agreed that more research was needed for the pills.
A study published in the British Medical Journal found that medical talk shows like The Dr. Oz Show lack adequate information on specific benefits that provide evidence for their claims. According to the 2014 study (wherein 40 episodes from early 2013 were evaluated), only 46% of the claims are supported with evidence, while 15% were contradicted. Meanwhile, 39% of the recommendations had no supporting evidence.