Oz was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Suna and Mustafa Öz, who had emigrated from Konya Province, Turkey. Mustafa Öz was born in Bozkır, a small town in central Turkey. Mustafa Öz earned scholarships that allowed him to emigrate to the United States as a medical resident in 1955. Suna Öz (née Atabay), who comes from a wealthy İstanbul family, is the daughter of a pharmacist with Shapsug descent on her mother's side. He has two sisters, Seval Oz and Nazlim Oz.
Oz has been a professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia University since 2001. He directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. His research interests include heart replacement surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and health care policy.
In 2009, Oz joined Jeffrey T. Arnold as co-founder of Sharecare, Inc., providing an interactive QA platform that allows industry experts to answer health-related questions.
Oz 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."
Television, radio and films
Oz appeared as a health expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show for five seasons. On the show, he addressed issues like Type 2 diabetes and promoted resveratrol supplements, which he stated were anti-aging. His Transplant! television series won both a Freddie and a Silver Telly award. He has served as medical director of Denzel Washington's John Q. He currently hosts The Dr. Oz Show on television and a talk show on Sirius XM Radio. Oz was featured in season 1 of the ABC reality show "NY Med". In January 2011, Oz premiered as part of a weekly show on the Oprah Winfrey Network called "Oprah's Allstars". In each episode, he, Suze Orman and Dr. Phil answer various questions about life, health and finance. He also currently does a health segment on 1010 WINS titled "Your Daily Dose".
Oz co-authored, with Michael F. Roizen, six New York Times best sellers including You: The Owner’s Manual, You: The Smart Patient, You: On a Diet, You: Staying Young, You: Being Beautiful as well as Healing from the Heart. His book You: Having a Baby was published by Free Press in 2009. He has a regular column in Esquire magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine and his article "Retool, Reboot, and Rebuild" was awarded the 2009 National Magazine Award for Personal Service.
Time magazine ranked Oz at 44th on its list of the "100 Most Influential People in 2008" and Esquire magazine placed him on its list of the "75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century". He was called a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum and one of "The Harvard 100 Most Influential Alumni" by 02138 magazine. He won the Gross Surgical Research Scholarship. He was listed in "Doctors of the Year" by Hippocrates magazine and in "Healers of the Millennium" by Healthy Living magazine.
Popular Science and The New Yorker have expressed criticism of Oz for giving "non-scientific" advice. These criticisms include questioning if he is "doing more harm than good".Prevention Magazine has given positive reviews of Dr. Oz calling him "The country's most beloved MD".The magazine also states that "Dr. Mehmet Oz, wants you to challenge your doctors, understand your body, and demand better care." Dr. Oz writes health features and columns for Men's Health Magazine.
As well, Oz's image and quotes have been used in many weight loss product scams. While he himself has not been found to be involved in these scams, critics claim that he frequently makes statements that can be exploited by scammers.
Oz has countered that he is a proponent of alternative medicine and has stated that he makes great efforts to inform viewers that he neither sells nor endorses any supplements. He also created the organization "OzWatch" as a way for viewers to report scams. Ozwatch has received more than 35,000 complaints and has issued 600 cease and desist letters.
June 2014 Senate hearing
During a Senate hearing on consumer protection, Senator Claire McCaskill stated that by airing segments on weight loss products that are later cited in advertisements, Oz plays a role, intentional or not, in perpetuating these scams, and that she is "concerned that you are melding medical advice, news, and entertainment in a way that harms consumers." Mary Engle of the Federal Trade Commission criticized Oz for calling green coffee extract "magic" and a "miracle", stating that it is difficult for consumers to listen to their inner voices when products are praised by hosts they trust.
Oz grew up in a mixed Muslim environment where his father's family believed in Islam, while his mother's family were more secular Muslims. He has been influenced by the mysticism of Sufi Muslims, as well as the ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg, the Swedish scientist, philosopher, and Christian theologian. He wrote in Spirituality and Health Magazine in 2010 that "As I came into contact with Swedenborg's many writings, I began to understand Swedenborg's profound insights and how they applied directly to my life". He mentions Swedenborg's ideas that marriage lasts to eternity, everyone has a purpose in this world, God is love, and Swedenborg's answers to "Why do bad things happen?".
Oz is a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation. "When I meditate, I go to that place where truth lives", he said. "I can see what reality really is, and it is so much easier to form good relationships then."
In August 2010, Oz was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous polyp in the colon during a routine colonoscopy which was performed as part of his show. Oz said that the procedure likely saved his life.
^Bruni, Frank. "Dr. Does-It-All", The New York Times, April 16, 2010. Accessed March 22, 2011. "That is his base line, to which he adds more yoga, short runs and basketball games with friends near his home in Cliffside Park, N.J., when he can."
^Married on July 29, 1985 in Bryn Athyn, PA – New Church Life, 1985, p. 430.