The 17th Surgeon General of the United States and President of Canyon Ranch Institute Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, today joined the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) advisory committee on rare childhood disorders.
Dr. Carmona’s role on the National Advisory Committee for TGen’s Center for Rare Childhood Disorders (the Center) will be to help incorporate genomic technologies into the standard of care.
The Center uses rapid genomic tests to discover the genetic source of childhood ailments. Many of these rare disorders have no name, and often are just a collection of symptoms with no apparent cause.
Dr. Carmona is the keynote speaker today (Oct. 15) as TGen celebrates the opening of its clinic for the Center at 3330 N. 2nd Street, Suite 402, Phoenix, Ariz.
“Modern scientific advances are uncovering the nature and causes of disease like no other point in history,” said Dr. Carmona. “I am honored to be invited to help guide TGen’s development of this unique Center — focused on children — that uses the latest DNA technology to understand and diagnose rare disorders at the molecular level and to develop treatments for patients who previously had few, if any, options for care.
“Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of studying and applying genetic advances to improve the lives of my patients, and as Surgeon General of the United States, my team and I developed the successful ‘Surgeon General’s Family History Initiative’ with colleagues throughout the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help more people connect the concept of family health history and genetics to their own lives.”
The Center’s National Advisory Committee (NAC) is a core group of advisors and supporters with a passion for helping children and families affected by rare and neglected pediatric diseases and disorders.
Dr. Carmona will serve on the NAC’s Scientific-Medical Advisory Sub-Committee, which focuses on helping geneticists and health care professionals to collaborate in order to incorporate genomic technologies into the standard of care.
“Dr. Carmona brings to TGen a wealth of experience, forged through first-hand treatment of patients and by driving innovative public health programming at the individual, national, and global levels,” said NAC Co-Chair David Harbour.
“We welcome Dr. Carmona as an internationally recognized physician and health policy expert, whose knowledge and experience will help the Center bring hope and answers to our young patients and their families,” said NAC Co-Chair Jacquie Dorrance.
Born to a poor Hispanic family in New York City, Dr. Carmona experienced homelessness, hunger, and health disparities during his youth. The experiences greatly sensitized him to the relationships among culture, health, education and economic status and shaped his future.
After dropping out of high school, Dr. Carmona enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. While serving, he earned his General Equivalency Diploma and went on to become a combat-decorated Special Forces Vietnam veteran. After leaving active duty, he attended Bronx Community College of the City University of New York through an open enrollment program for veterans. He received an associate of arts degree. He then attended the University of California, San Francisco, where he received 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.
Trained in general and vascular surgery, Dr. Carmona also completed a National Institutes of Health-sponsored fellowship in trauma, burns, and critical care. A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Carmona was recruited jointly by the Tucson Medical Center and the University of Arizona to start and direct Southern Arizona’s first regional trauma care system. Dr. Carmona would later become 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.
In 2002, Dr. Carmona was nominated by the president and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the nation’s 17th Surgeon General. Dr. Carmona was selected because of his extensive experience in public health, clinical sciences, health care management, preparedness, and his commitment to prevention as an effective means to improve public health and reduce health care costs while improving the quality and quantity of life.
As Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona focused on prevention, preparedness, health disparities, health literacy, and global health to include health diplomacy. He also issued many landmark Surgeon General communications during his tenure, including the definitive Surgeon General’s Report about the dangers of second-hand smoke.
Dr. Carmona has published extensively and received numerous awards, decorations, and local and national recognitions for his achievements. A strong supporter of community service, he has served on community and national boards and provided leadership to many diverse organizations.
In 2006, Dr. Carmona became Vice Chairman of Tucson-based Canyon Ranch, a leader in the health and wellness field and President of Canyon Ranch Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity dedicated to catalyzing the possibility of optimal health for all people by translating the best practices of Canyon Ranch and its partners to help educate, inspire, and empower every person to prevent disease and embrace a life of wellness.
Dr. Carmona is also the first Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the first Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Health Promotion and Entrepreneurship at The Ohio State University College of Nursing.