Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, recently retired Surgeon General of the United States, will deliver a lecture titled “Parting Words from a Surgeon General: Addressing Public Health Concerns” at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at Amherst College. Carmona will speak on his role as Surgeon General in eliminating health disparities and increasing health literacy in underserved communities. SSponsored by the Schwemm Lecture Fund, the Association of Amherst Students, the Office of the President, the Martin Luther, Jr. King Day Committee and the Charles Drew Health Professions Society at Amherst, Carmona’s talk will be free and open to the public.
Appointed the nation’s chief medical officer by President George W. Bush in 2002, Carmona had taken a challenging path to becoming Surgeon General. Born into a poor Puerto Rican immigrant family in New York City, he experienced firsthand the impact of disparities in health care and learned the relationships between culture, health, education and economic status.
After dropping out of high school and enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1967, Carmona received his Army General Equivalency Diploma, joined the Special Forces, became a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran and began his career in medicine. After leaving active duty, Carmona attended Bronx Community College of the City University of New York, where he earned his associate of arts degree. He later graduated from the University of California, San Francisco, with a B.S. degree (1977) and medical degree (1979). At the University of California Medical School, Carmona was awarded the prestigious gold-headed cane as the top graduate. He has also earned an M.A. in public health from the University of Arizona (1998).
Carmona has worked in various positions in the medical field including paramedic, registered nurse and physician He 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. 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, 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.