Dr. Oz Defends Medical Advice Amid Calls for his Firing at Columbia University

Mehmet Oz, vice chairman and professor of surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington in June, 2014. (Photo: Lauren Victoria Burke, AP)
Mehmet Oz, vice chairman and professor of surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington in June, 2014.
(Photo: Lauren Victoria Burke, AP)

Mehmet Oz (“Dr. Oz”) defended himself Friday against criticism from other medical professionals, who say that some of the TV host’s advice and product endorsements lack scientific backing.

A group of doctors has sent a letter to Columbia University, asking for Oz’s dismissal from the medical school’s faculty.

“I bring the public information that will help them on their path to be their best selves,” Oz said in a statement released through a representative of The Dr. Oz Show. “We provide multiple points of view, including mine, which is offered without conflict of interest. That doesn’t sit well with certain agendas which distort the facts.”

In the letter to Columbia, one doctor calls Oz “a fake and a charlatan,” the New York Daily News reported. Henry Miller of Stanford University went on to say that Columbia University must be “starstruck and like having on their faculty the best-known doctor in the country.”

Among the doctors’ issues with Oz is his apparent opposition to genetically modified foods (GMOs).

“I do not claim that GMO foods are dangerous, but believe that they should be labeled like they are in most countries around the world,” Oz said in his statement. “I will address this on the show next week.”

In addition to hosting a nationally syndicated TV show, Oz serves as vice chairman of Columbia’s department of surgery. Before his fame as host of a nationally syndicated show, he was known in the medical community as a respected cardiothoracic surgeon.

Doug Levy, chief communications officer for Columbia University Medical Center, sent USA TODAY a copy of his response to the letter’s authors:

“As I am sure you understand and appreciate, Columbia is committed to the principle of academic freedom and to upholding faculty members’ freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussion.”

In a phone call, Levy clarified that the university planned no action against Oz.

“The university does not regulate faculty engagement in public discourse,” Levy said.

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SOURCE: USA Today – Jim Lenahan

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