Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona was sworn in as the 17th Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service on August 5, 2002.
Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Carmona dropped out of high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. While enlisted he received his Army General Equivalency Diploma, joined the Army's Special Forces, ultimately becoming a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran, and began his career in medicine.
After leaving active duty, Dr. Carmona attended Bronx Community College, of the City University of New York, where he earned his associate of arts degree. He later attended and graduated from the University of California, San Francisco, with 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. He has also earned a masters of public health from the University of Arizona (1998).
Dr. Carmona has worked in various positions in the medical field including paramedic, registered nurse and physician. Dr. Carmona 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 and family and community medicine at the University of Arizona, and the Pima County Sheriff's Department surgeon and deputy sheriff.
Dr. Carmona has also held progressive positions of responsibility as chief medical officer, hospital chief executive officer, public health officer, and finally chief executive officer of the Pima county health care system. He has also served as a medical director of police and fire departments and is a fully-qualified peace officer with expertise in special operations and emergency preparedness, including weapons of mass destruction.
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.