Mehmet Cengiz Oz, who became widely known as Dr. Oz after first appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004, is a practicing cardiothoracic surgeon, professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia University, and director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. His remarkable educational background includes an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, an MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA degree from Penn’s famed Wharton School. Mehmet has hosted his own program, The Dr. Oz Show, since 2009. He has authored several best-selling books, has a regular column in Esquire magazine, and publishes a bi-monthly magazine called Dr. Oz THE GOOD LIFE.
Mehmet’s unique approach to health and living, along with the manner in which he presents his thoughts on the program, has prompted criticism. He once 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.” On June 17, 2014, Mehmet was called to appear before the U.S. Senate’s consumer protection panel where he was scolded by Chairman Claire McCaskill for claims about weight-loss ads on his show. In the month’s preceding his testimony, I had several conversations with Mehmet about the manner in which his image was being used by unscrupulous marketers. While he is a proponent of alternative medicine, Mehmet has always taken great care to inform his viewers that he neither sells nor endorses any products or supplements. He even created “OzWatch” as a way for viewers to report scams. “If you see my name, face or show in any type of ad, email, or other circumstance,” Mehmet told Senator McCaskill, “it’s illegal.” I was, coincidentally, in Washington, DC at the time for a National Association of Broadcasters board meeting and told him the next day, “Keep the faith. To be sure, you’ve done more for your ‘constituents’ than most of those doing the grilling yesterday.” Mehmet came under fire again in April of 2015 when he was the target of a letter sent to Columbia University by 10 physicians who were seeking to have him removed from his teaching position at the university. This time I encouraged him to proactively fight back given that many of the doctors who signed the letter had conflicts of interest of their own and, in one case, a very questionable background. Mehmet did, indeed, push back hard during his show on April 23, 2015. It was, you might say, just what the doctor ordered! It was also gratifying to see Columbia respond with a strong statement of their own saying the school “is committed to the principle of academic freedom and to uphold faculty members’ freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussion.”
Dr. Mehmet Oz is a WINNER and I was anxious to acquire his program for some of our company’s television stations when it launched in 2009. It has won numerous Daytime Emmy Awards for both Outstanding Talk Show Informative and for Outstanding Talk Show Host. I continue to proudly support both Mehmet and The Dr. Oz Show to this day.