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