Chief of Health Innovation
From days of homelessness as a child, Dr. Richard Carmona worked his way up to serving as 17th U.S. Surgeon General (2002 – 2006). He’s a renowned integrative medicine physician, trauma surgeon, and global public health leader with military service and law enforcement experience. His long-standing leadership role and personal relationship with Canyon Ranch reflect a shared vision to promote healthy living.
Born to a poor Hispanic family in New York City, Dr. Carmona experienced homelessness, hunger, and health disparities during his youth. The experiences sensitized him to the relationships among culture, health, education, and economic status, shaping his aspirations.
After dropping out of high school, Dr. Carmona enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967, where he became a combat-decorated Special Forces Vietnam veteran and earned his General Equivalency Diploma. He later graduated from the University of California, San Francisco, then the University of California Medical School, where he was tops in his class.
Trained in general and vascular surgery, Dr. Carmona chaired the State of Arizona Southern Regional Emergency Medical System and was professor of surgery, public health, and family and community medicine at the University of Arizona. He served over 34 years with the Pima County Sheriff's Department in Tucson, and is one of the most highly decorated police officers in Arizona.
With the realization that most of his patients’ illness and injuries were preventable, Dr. Carmona pursued a second career, earning a master’s degree in public health at the University of Arizona. In 2002, Dr. Carmona was unanimously confirmed as the 17th Surgeon General of the United States.
Dr. Carmona’s commitment to helping people live healthier makes his connection with Canyon Ranch enduring and invaluable. His vast experience, visionary thinking, and collaboration with our integrative specialists expands the opportunities for people seeking transformative wellness. He exemplifies healthy living and inspires everyone he meets.
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