The idea of clowns in hospitals for therapeutic reasons was immortalised in the movie Patch Adams starring comedian Robin Williams.
However, researchers at Israel’s Haifa University are taking it a step further and introducing the methodology into the medical arena for real.
Beginning in 2006 the world’s first official medical clowning program began through Haifa University’s drama school.
On the surface the entire concept may seem a little ridiculous, however the faculty is treating the field as a serious area of study.
The course focuses on drama therapy, nursing, psychology, and the performing arts.
Upon graduation, clowns leaving the Haifa program will have a solid grasp of how to draw healthy laughs from patients, as well as first hand experience as to how and why the practice can help those in need.
In 2012 Haifa hosted the world’s first international medical clowning seminar, drawing workers from the field from all over the world.
And while the red-nosed practitioners of the medical clowning program might like to laugh, they take their patient care very seriously indeed.