Columbia University is quietly changing Mehmet Oz’s position in the middle of the Senate race

The television doctor who became a politician, Mehmet Oz, has apparently retired from clinical practice and his faculty role at Columbia University since announcing his Senate position in Pennsylvania.

Oz, who once served as vice chairman of the Department of Surgery, now holds the title of “Professor Emeritus of Surgery” at the Ivy League School.

The title reflects the fact that Oz, 61, no longer sees patients, according to a Columbia spokesman, but it is unclear how long he has been retired from his clinical practice. Oz did not have the emeritus title as late as last month, right after launching his campaign.

An emeritus status is awarded to retired professors and faculty members “in recognition of outstanding service to the university and eminence in their discipline.” according to the university.

The university did not respond to questions about when the change took place or how involved Oz is still with its medical faculty. Oz is now also a senior lecturer in the surgical department.

Oz’s campaign would not comment on when he resigned from his clinical practice.

Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center maintains a page for Oz, set up an office for him on its Washington Heights campus and notes that he specializes as a board-certified heart and thoracic surgeon.

But in early December, Oz was still listed as a professor of surgery and as director of the Integrative Medicine Center – a department that, according to its description, would combine traditional medicine with alternative practices such as acupuncture, meditation and yoga. It is unclear what happened to that role.

Oz may have too much else going on to focus on performing the surgery. For more than a decade, Oz hosted his daytime medical counseling program, “The Dr. Oz Show,” which he left after launching his campaign. He has also written books and columns offering health advice, while promoting unproven and potentially unhealthy cures for weight loss and longevity.

Oz’s reputation as a world-class heart and thoracic surgeon contradicts his penchant for selling New Age treatments.

In 2015 10 nationally known doctors wrote to the medical dean of Columbia, and urged the school to remove Oz because of his promotion of “quack ointments” treatments. Doctors said they were “surprised and appalled” that the university’s College of Physicians and Surgeons would allow Oz to continue in a senior administrative role.

“Dr. Oz is guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or inadequate assessments of what constitutes appropriate medical treatment, or both. Regardless of the nature of his pathology, members of the public are misled and threatened, making Dr. Oz ‘presence on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution unacceptable, ”they wrote.

The university refused to take action at the time, defend Oz’s right to “freedom of speech”.

Ironically, one of the doctors who signed the letter from 2015, Scott Atlas of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank, later came under fire for spreading misinformation about coronavirus.

Both Atlas and Oz went on to become health advisers to President Donald Trump, who is notorious for promoting his own medical disinformation.

Atlas could not be reached for comment on Oz.

Oz is now busy running for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, where he is competing in a crowded GOP primary for an open seat.

Last weekend was the heart surgeon’s campaign tweeted a picture of him engaging in some classic retail policy – posing in front of a giant butter sculpture at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.


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