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American Program Bureau Speaking to the world for over 50 years

Richard Carmona

17th Surgeon General & Professor
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Biography

The 17th Surgeon General of the United States (2002 - 2006), Dr. Richard Carmona served as our nation's top doctor, issuing calls to action in the fight against major health concerns such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, and the dangers of secondhand smoke.

During his tenure, Dr. Carmona focused on shifting the paradigm of healthcare from treatment to prevention, stressing that lifelong healthy living is a key component to medical care. Passionate about eliminating health disparities, he has championed health literacy, educating the American public on health issues so that they can make informed choices. A specialist in the area of public health preparedness, Dr. Carmona has led the nation in combating the global threats to our health, safety, and security.

A man of integrity and fortitude, Dr. Carmona triumphed over great adversity. Growing up in an impoverished Hispanic family and dropping out of high school, he experienced health disparities firsthand. Going on to become a decorated Green Beret in Vietnam, a police officer, and a SWAT team leader, he eventually graduated from college and medical school at the top of his class.

His medical career includes serving as an EMT, a nurse, a trauma surgeon, and a university professor before being unanimously confirmed as the US Surgeon General. After completion of his statutory four-year term, he was asked to join Canyon Ranch as Vice Chairman of the 31-year-old life enhancement company. Dr. Carmona also serves as chief executive officer of Canyon Ranch's health division and president of the nonprofit Canyon Ranch Institute, as well as the first distinguished professor at the University of Arizona College of Public Health. He was recently named to the Board of Directors of NJOY, an electronic cigarette manufacturer, where he will provide counsel on public health and regulatory issues, as well as head up NJOY’s harm reduction research.

With boundless energy and an intrinsic dedication to healthy living, Dr. Carmona remains a true public servant. Looking forward to the future of healthcare, he builds upon his legacy as Surgeon General, offering the experience and knowledge essential to improving the health of all people.

Read full bio.

Topics

From Dropout to Surgeon General

The Business Case for Diversity

In this fascinating talk, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona shares with audiences how diversity can have a positive effect on business - and its bottom line. In this presentation, he touches upon:

  • Evolving demographics
  • Immigration issues
  • Defining the workforce
  • The buying power of emerging diverse markets
  • The power of diverse heterogeneous teams and creativity
  • Understanding cultural competence
  • The evolution from minority to majority and its implications
  • The added value in having a workforce that reflects your customer base

This completely customizable presentation is a must-hear for any organization looking to diversify.

A Vision of the Future of Technology & Medicine

Due to the rapidly escalating disease and economic burden—most of which is preventable—a new business model is needed. Government will provide an infrastructure, but citizens must become active participants in rejecting unhealthy behaviors and pursuing optimal health and wellness. In the future, there will be more practice "substitution," home care, remote monitoring, telemedicine, and personalized medicine (to include pharmacogenomics). There were be shorter hospital stays and quality life expectancy will increase—at a cost. In this keynote, Dr. Richard Carmona helps define a path forward.

Patient Quality & Safety

Due to over 100 thousand preventable hospital deaths annually and a great deal of national variability in both cost and patient outcomes, quality measures and improved safety endeavors will continue to evolve and become essential drivers of future healthcare systems. Electronic medical records will be necessary to optimize patient quality and safety. "Check lists" will grow in use and popularity. Improved patient health literacy will be essential to improve quality and safety. If the private sector does not voluntarily continue to provide more essential data, the government will impose uniform reporting standards. In this keynote, Dr. Richard Carmona discusses the future need for healthcare to continue to address patient quality and safety.

PTSD & Mental Illness

It has become clear that mental health services are inadequate for our nation. One in five people who need mental health care cannot get it—and mental illness contributes significantly to patient non-compliance and increased co-morbidity and mortality from other illnesses. Engaging in two wars over 11 years has added significantly to our military's burden of mental illness; on average, one uniformed service member commits suicide daily—more deaths than in combat.

DOD and VA facilities do not have the capacity to provide timely, needed mental healthcare to our uniformed service personnel and veterans. In addition to suicide rates, divorce rates, domestic violence, depression, and adjustment disorders, unemployment and PTSD have significantly increased for our combat troops and veterans. Currently evolving is a better scientific understanding of some of the causes of mental health and its treatment. Dr. Carmona paints a picture of the future for the provision of mental illness prevention and care.

The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act is an admirable attempt at providing basic care for all. But it is important to separate the good elements from the problematic. It is time to stop politicizing ACA (and healthcare in general) and deliver a product to our citizens that, although not perfect, is an improvement to the system and adds value to their lives. Congress should be held accountable for breaching their fiduciary responsibility and placing the public at risk. This speech from former Surgeon General Richard Carmona poses a reasonable path forward for the Affordable Care Act.

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