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Richard H. Carmona, M.D.
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17th Surgeon General of the United States (2002-2006)
President, Canyon Ranch Institute
Distinguished Professor of Public Health, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona
Distinguished Professor of Health Promotion and Entrepreneurship, Ohio State University College of Nursing

Born to a poor immigrant family in New York City, Richard Carmona experienced homelessness, hunger, and health disparities during his youth. The experiences greatly sensitized him to the relationships among culture, health, education and economic status and ultimately shaped his future.

After dropping out of high school, Dr. Carmona enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. By the time he left active duty, he was a Special Forces, combat-decorated Vietnam veteran. He then pursued a college degree and entered medical school at the University of California –- San Francisco where he won the prestigious Gold Cane award.

Dr. Carmona became a surgeon with a sub-specialty in trauma, burns and critical care and was recruited to Tucson to establish the first trauma system in southern Arizona which he did successfully. Later, while working full time as a hospital and health system CEO, he earned a master’s degree in public health policy and administration at the University of Arizona.

In 2002, Dr. Carmona was nominated by the president and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate to become the 17th Surgeon General of the United States. After completing his statutory four-year term as Surgeon General in 2006, Dr. Carmona joined Canyon Ranch as vice chairman. He is president of the non-profit Canyon Ranch Institute, Distinguished Professor at the Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona, and Distinguished Professor of Health Promotion and Entrepreneurship at the Ohio State University College of Nursing.

Entries by Richard H. Carmona, M.D.

What American Sniper Helped Put a Spotlight On

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2015 | 3:08 PM

Since its release, the movie American Sniper portraying the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle has attracted millions of Americans from coast to coast to the box office. While the movie depicts the humbling dangers and challenges our troops face during combat, it is the movie's portrayal of the very...

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In Search of a Surgeon General

(1) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 9:29 AM

The Ebola crisis highlighted significant gaps in our nation's all-hazards preparedness and the lack of a dedicated, credible public health leader and communicator. The White House appointment of an "Ebola Czar" drew significant bipartisan and public criticism. Embedded within the public outcry of "Who is in charge?" was the repeated...

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The Importance of a Nonpartisan Surgeon General

(9) Comments | Posted October 18, 2014 | 11:38 AM

The Ebola crisis has metastasized to the United States, and the media and numerous government and private spokespeople are attempting to educate and calm the American public while not inflaming or confusing the situation.

A single credible, trusted, nonpartisan voice is what is needed to educate and reassure America...

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A Multi-Faceted Approach Is Needed to Fight Infectious Diseases

(0) Comments | Posted December 26, 2013 | 12:23 PM

A study by the Washington-based Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has found that most U.S. states are underperforming when it comes to treating infectious diseases.

According to the report, just 16 states and the District of Columbia scored...

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Health Literacy: An Unrecognized Problem in Our Health Care System

(1) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 3:56 PM

America has long been a pioneer in the medical field. But as we move forward, we must strive to improve a fundamental component of our health care system: health literacy. To do this, it is essential that a clear and consistent dialogue exist between patients and the many entities that...

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Honoring Our Veterans

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 2:09 PM

On November 11 our nation will remember and reflect on the sacrifices that so many men and women made to defend our nation.

Today there are more than 20 million veterans living in the United States.

They put on their...

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Telemedicine: An Innovation Whose Time Has Come

(2) Comments | Posted November 6, 2013 | 4:07 PM

In the decades since I started practicing medicine, the nation's health care landscape has changed dramatically due in great part to technology. Procedures that were once rare have now become routine. Ailments that used to be the scourge of thousands are now prevented with a simple vaccination. Medical technology has...

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The Need for American Solutions in a Dysfunctional Partisan Battlefield

(0) Comments | Posted October 11, 2013 | 8:56 AM

After Congress' dismal failure to agree on budget and health issues, many parts of the federal government have been shut down for almost two weeks. Reflecting on this abominable situation, I cannot help but think of the law passed by Congress over a decade ago that holds corporate boards accountable....

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Never Forget

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 12:14 PM

I lost many friends on 9/11... brave souls who served selflessly and anonymously every day to protect our communities and the nation. Today is the day we remember their sacrifices celebrate their lives and recall how fortunate we are to be Americans.

I remember where I was...

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Sarin Gas: Too Heinous Even for War

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 10:45 AM

President Obama and Members of Congress are currently debating whether the U.S. military should become involved in a civil war in Syria. Generally, the U.S. stays out of conflicts like this, however because Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may have used Sarin gas against his own citizens, our nation's leaders are...

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50 Years Later: Prejudice Remains, But Opportunities Abound

(7) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 1:56 PM

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sealed his legacy on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he delivered one of the most memorable speeches in human history.

The 1963 March on Washington brought hundreds of thousands of people to our capital and demonstrated to our nation...

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Arizona Effort to Block Contraception Simply Bad Health Policy

(13) Comments | Posted March 19, 2012 | 5:45 PM

A recent push to block women from getting access to contraception shows the Arizona legislature is not operating from an evidence-based or reality-based point of view.

The legislature's recent actions actively create problems rather than trying to solve them. And, at best, they are wasting our time.

Whenever I've had...

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Flu Shots: Public Health Begins With You

(102) Comments | Posted March 7, 2011 | 7:29 AM

Certain stories make the headlines every year, like updates on influenza outbreaks during the winter months and public health officials urging the nation to get the vaccine. No one needs to be reminded to put on an extra sweater or a warm coat to ward off winter's chill. So why...

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Childhood Obesity: Fighting for the Future Health of America's Youth

(4) Comments | Posted September 25, 2010 | 10:00 AM

At the start of the school year, we refocus our attention from the diversions of summer to thoughts about our children's future. This September, with the debut of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the spotlight is on the future health of America's youth and the commitment we must all make...

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