Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Laws
School of Public Health, April 10, 2008
Richard H. Carmona, native of Harlem and former Surgeon General of the United States, has made public service his life's work and spent his career working to eliminate the disparities of the health care system. After dropping out of high school, he enlisted in the Army, joined the Army's Special Forces and began his career in medicine. He earned his undergraduate degrees at Bronx Community College and then the University of California San Francisco, where he also earned his medical degree. During his term as Surgeon General (2002), Dr. Carmona's responsibilities included prevention, preparedness, health disparities, health literacy, global health, and health diplomacy. His published work on obesity prevention and the life-threatening dangers of secondhand smoke have led to policy change and an increased awareness in the health research community. Prior to being named Surgeon General, he served as chairman of the State of Arizona Southern Regional Emergency Medical System, professor of surgery, public health, and family and community medicine at the University of Arizona, Pima County Arizona sheriff's department surgeon and deputy sheriff, and chief executive officer, Pima Health Care System. As a public servant, he has been recognized with the Medal of Honor, Medal of Valor, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, and as National SWAT Officer of the Year, and the National Top Cop Award. His leadership has been recognized with awards from the Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, the American Heart Association, Boy Scouts of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, National Institute of Health, along with several colleges and universities. Currently, he serves as vice chairman and chief executive officer of Arizona-based Canyon Ranch.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.