GB One-on-One: Dr. Richard Carmona


Dr. Richard Carmona’s road to success was anything but easy.

He was born to a poor immigrant family in New York City, where he experienced homelessness, hunger and health issues, only to rise to unimaginable heights of success, eventually winning unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate to become the 17th Surgeon General of the United States.

Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, is a former high school dropout who went on to become a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran as a member of the U.S. Army’s elite Special Forces. While in the Army, he earned his GED and after the war, he enrolled in college, first earning his nursing degree before graduating from medical school. His career has also included stints as a hospital and health system CEO, becoming a deputy sheriff, writings books and teaching medicine at the University of Arizona.

As Surgeon General, he released what was then the most comprehensive and authoritative report on the health effects of secondhand smoke. In his landmark report, he wrote: “The debate is over. The science is clear. Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance but a serious health hazard.”

Carmona currently serves as president of the nonprofit Canyon Ranch Institute.

In the latest episode of Growing Bolder One-on-One with Active Aging Thought Leaders, our new series dedicated to the status of aging, Carmona explains how the nation’s views on aging have shifted over the past decade or so, but he reveals how much more we still need to learn and change.

Dr. Carmona also discusses what non-political infrastructure changes our nation needs to make in order to effect real change in the lives of our citizens and help our seniors age with dignity.