Prevention: The Key to Heading off a National Health-Care Crisis with former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, M.D.
Carmona describes the current health crisis as preventable and reversible. He notes that chronic disease accounts for 7 in 10 deaths and 75 cents of every dollar spent on health care in the United States.
As 17th U.S. surgeon general, Carmona worked to revise our nation's approach to health by emphasizing the importance of increasing prevention, eliminating health disparities and improving health literacy.
Carmona's rise to being "doctor of the nation" is particularly remarkable because of his disadvantaged childhood. He was homeless at age 6 and a high-school dropout at 17. Join us to hear Carmona's insights about our health-care challenges and opportunities- The Commonwealth Club of California
Dr. Richard H. Carmona was born to a poor family in New York City. Dr. 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 shaped his future.
After dropping out of high school, Dr. Carmona enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. While serving, he earned his General Equivalency Diploma and went on to become a combat-decorated Special Forces Vietnam veteran. After leaving active duty, he was able to attend Bronx Community College of the City University of New York through an open enrollment program for veterans. He earned an associate of arts degree and then attended the University of California, San Francisco, where he received a bachelor of science degree (1977) and medical degree (1979). At the University of California Medical School, Dr. Carmona was awarded the prestigious gold-headed cane as the top graduate.
Originally trained in general and vascular surgery after medical school, Dr. Carmona completed a
National Institutes of Health-sponsored fellowship in trauma, burns and critical care. He is a Fellow
of the American College of Surgeons. Recruited jointly by the Tucson (Arizona) Medical Center and
the University of Arizona, Dr. Carmona started and directed Arizona's first regional trauma care
system, and became the chairman of the State of Arizona Southern Regional Emergency Medical
System, a professor of surgery, public health and family and community medicine at the University
of Arizona, and the Pima County Sheriff's Department surgeon and deputy sheriff.
Public health came as a second career after Dr. Carmona went back to graduate school while
working in order to complete a masters degree in public health. His interest in public health stemmed from the realization that most of his patients' diseases and injuries were completely preventable.
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. Carmona left office at the end of July 2006 upon the expiration of his term. On June 16, 2010, Ross University School of Medicine named Carmona to its Board of Trustees.
Robert W. Mahley
Robert W. Mahley, M.D., Ph.D., is the President of The J. David Gladstone Institutes. Dr. Mahley is Senior Investigator for the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease. Dr. Mahley is also Professor of Pathology and Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.