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A Special Message from the Surgeon General - Richard H. Carmona

Photo Richard Carmona

VADM Richard H. Carmona
Surgeon General

Dear Medical Colleagues and Fellow Citizens:

A critical part of my mission as U.S. Surgeon General is to safeguard the health of all Americans. Along with the usual duties of my Office, I have a mandate from our President to focus on medical preparedness, including homeland security and the war on terrorism.

The volunteer Medical Reserve Corps is critical to our national preparedness effort. Medical Reserve Corps volunteers provide assistance and depth to our existing local emergency teams.  They augment our public health initiatives.  And that's where we need your skills and energy, too.   We need to be prepared as communities. Our first response to a disaster is always a local response.  To achieve our best, we must forge partnerships among the uniformed services, law enforcement, and health practitioners—groups that traditionally have not worked together.  Everyone must be aware of the possible threats and be trained to meet them together.

My start in medicine came from serving as a combat medic while in the U.S. Army in Vietnam.  Later, in my years of community service as a trauma surgeon, paramedic, emergency room nurse, and police officer, I saw the best and worst of society on a daily basis.  But what I carry with me most today—what I bring to my work as Surgeon General—is the inspiration I received from my peers, from men and women just like you who gave their best, who even risked their lives every day to make their communities safer and healthier.  That kind of determined, generous spirit is our nation's richest resource.

I strongly encourage all of you—all able medical and health professionals, even ordinary citizens who can help with non technical tasks—to join your local Medical Reserve Corps Unit.  If there isn't one nearby, find out what you can do to get one started and lead the way for others.

All of us have a role to play in preparing America for the challenges that lie ahead.  I look forward to working with all of you for a healthier, stronger America.


Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS
Surgeon General
Commander, USPHS Commissioned Corps
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services