Connecting “What We Know” with “How to Prepare”

Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona
U.S. Surgeon General

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Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona is the 17th Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service. Dr. Carmona leads the Office of the Surgeon General, based within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Office of the Surgeon General teaches Americans how to improve their health and reduce their risk of illness and injury.

Public health preparedness is a priority of the Office of the Surgeon General since Americans depend on a strong public health system capable of meeting any emergency, whether it is an act of terrorism, an emerging infectious illness, or a weather disaster such as a hurricane or tornado. The Office of the Surgeon General, based within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, promotes readiness through increased funding for bioterrorism preparedness and promoting better public health and hospital planning and coordination. In addition, Vice Admiral Carmona maximizes America’s use of volunteers through the Medical Reserve Corps. 

Dr. Carmona enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967 and joined the Army’s Special Forces, ultimately becoming a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran. After leaving active duty, he began his career in medicine.

Dr. Carmona received his medical degree in 1979 from the University of California, San Francisco and was the top graduate. He earned a Masters of Public Health degree in 1998 from the University of Arizona.

 Dr. Carmona has worked in various positions in the medical field including paramedic, physician and registered nurse. He completed a surgical residency at the University of California, San Francisco, and a National Institutes of Health-sponsored fellowship in trauma, burns and critical care. Dr. Carmona is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and is also certified in correctional health care and in quality assurance.

 Prior to being named Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona was the chairman of the State of Arizona Southern Regional Emergency Medical System, a professor of surgery, public health, family and community medicine at the University of Arizona, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department surgeon and deputy sheriff.

 Dr. Carmona has published extensively and received numerous awards, decorations, and local and national recognition for his achievements. A strong supporter of community service, he has served on community and national boards and provided leadership to many diverse organizations.


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