As the creator of the DKNY clothing line, Donna Karan is best known for her talent in the fashion industry. Today, she's also putting her energies into another passion—philanthropy. Dr. Oz and his wife Lisa talk with Donna about designing clothes and about her charitable organization, Urban Zen.
In 2006, Donna created Urban Zen, a charitable organization dedicated to advancing integrative medicine. "Very early on in my career I wanted to bring attention and awareness to what was going on out there and it started with the AIDS epidemic," Donna says. "Philanthropy has always sort of been my passion—more so than design."
She says she's always been drawn to the idea of promoting spiritual and physical well-being. Donna's father passed away when she was young, her best friend struggled with cancer and she saw many people in the fashion industry get diagnosed with AIDS. Most recently, Donna lost her husband to lung cancer.
Donna says as she accompanied her husband in and out of the hospital during his illness, she started to notice some limitations in the healthcare system and she decided to take action. "I realized there is a huge void in the medical system," Donna says. "I believe we treat disease brilliantly, but I think where we lack is treating the patient holistically."
Through Urban Zen, Donna says she and her team are trying to combine conventional and alternative medical practices together, such as incorporating yoga and acupuncture with traditional medicine, to create new ways of healing and well-being. "What we are trying to create is the ultimate healing approach," Donna says.
"I must make this happen—it's a passion, it's a dream," Donna says. "It's the preservation of culture, wellness, and the preservation of our children."
Published on January 01, 2008