Dr. Richard Carmona

17th Surgeon General of the United States (2002-2006)
Chief of Health Innovations, Canyon Ranch
Distinguished Professor, Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona

Photo of Richard Carmona

Our 17th Surgeon General of the United States educating the next generation of public health professionals

Thank you from Dean Iman Hakim

"Thank you Rich for your leadership, friendship, and partnership in support of the college and our public health students. You have guided us with your expertise, advocated for us, inspired our students, and helped us achieve remarkable things. As an alumnus of the college, you have made us proud and stand out among our global network of alumni leaders."

Dr. Richard Carmona, Chief of Health Innovation at Canyon Ranch

Dr. Richard Carmona, Chief of Health
Innovation at Canyon Ranch

As a trauma surgeon, police officer, public health administrator and the 17th Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Richard Carmona has shown outstanding public health leadership throughout his impressive career. Guided by his dedication to helping others, he has continually applied the best science and expertise to solve public health challenges. Above all, Dr. Carmona’s passion for health equity has informed his decisions and as a result he has made a real impact on so many lives here in Arizona, in the United States, and around the world.

In recent years, Carmona’s position as Chief of Health Innovation for Canyon Ranch, and as a Distinguished Professor of Public Health at Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, has enabled him to be a champion for health and wellness and a mentor the next generation of public health leaders.

This summer, as COVID-19 spread around the United States, Dr. Robert Robbins, President of the University of Arizona, called upon Dr. Carmona to lead the Incident Command Team for the University of Arizona Re-Entry Task Force. Once again Dr. Carmona used his knowledge and experience to guide the university through the complex process of reopening safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. All of us at the university send him our heartfelt thanks for his expertise through this recent challenge.

Trained in general and vascular surgery, Dr. Carmona also completed a National Institutes of Health-sponsored fellowship in trauma, burns, and critical care. He was then recruited jointly by the Tucson Medical Center and the University of Arizona to start and direct Arizona’s first regional trauma care system. He later became the chairman of the State of Arizona Southern Regional Emergency Medical System, and a professor of surgery, public health, pharmacy, and family and community medicine at the University of Arizona. Dr. Carmona has also served as the Pima County Sheriff’s Department surgeon, a deputy sheriff, and as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Carmona’s interest in public health stemmed from the realization that most of his patients’ illnesses and injuries were entirely preventable, and that good public health education and policy could save thousands of lives.

Dr. Richard Carmona, Professor G. Marie Swanson, Jerry Cohen, Morey Brown, Amy Zuckerman, Dean Iman Hakim, Enid and Mel Zuckerman

Dr. Richard Carmona, Professor G. Marie Swanson, Jerry Cohen, Morey Brown, Amy Zuckerman, Dean Iman Hakim, Enid and Mel Zuckerman

In 2002, Dr. Carmona was nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate to become the 17th Surgeon General of the United States. Selected because of his extensive experience in public health, clinical sciences, health care management, and preparedness, Dr. Carmona championed prevention as an effective means to improve public health and worked to reduce health care costs. As Surgeon General, he focused on prevention, preparedness, health disparities, health literacy, and global health including health diplomacy. He also issued many landmark Surgeon General Communications during his tenure, including the definitive Surgeon General’s Report about the dangers of second-hand smoke.

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.

In both his personal and professional life, he stands out as a public health hero and inspirational leader. We salute and thank Dr. Carmona for all he has given to Arizona and to the field of public health in his effort to deliver equitable healthcare and preventive care for all Americans regardless of background.

Dr. Richard Carmona spoke at the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health’s 10th Anniversary Gala in 2010. Listen to his moving testimonial of the college here:  https://vimeo.com/10593835


University of Arizona President, Dr. Robert Robbins, 2017-present congratulates Dr. Richard Carmona.

Tribute Video


Honoree Video for Dr. Richard Carmona

T r i b u t e s

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