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Panel Profile: Healthy Bodies/Healthy Minds

Suzanne Heyn / February 28, 2015

What if some of the leading causes of death—heart disease, cancer, and lung diseases like emphysema—were preventable?

The top five killers account for about two-thirds of all deaths nationally, but healthier lifestyle choices could reduce that number by about one-third, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The science of preventing those deaths through making healthy lifestyle choices is known as preventive medicine. The field encompasses factors including diet, exercise, and stress management— all things that influence how we age and how long we live.

On Saturday, March 14 at 2:30 p.m. in Science City on the main stage, join former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona and University of Arizona (UA) professor of surgery Dr. Peter Rhee for the Healthy Bodies/Healthy Minds: Preventative and Responsive Medicine for our Times panel. Expect a wide-ranging discussion about preventive care and how new research is showing just how powerfully our everyday choices influence our health.

In a time of rising healthcare costs and increasing rates of chronic disease, the promise of preventive medicine to save lives is giving millions of people hope.

Carmona is a self-made man who rose to the top levels of public service despite dropping out of high school to join the Army in 1967. Born to a poor Hispanic family, Carmona experienced hunger and homelessness while growing up in New York City, giving him an inside look into the difficulties many people face trying to make healthy lifestyle choices despite limited income and the other impediments of poverty.

He earned a General Equivalency Degree while serving in the Army and went on to graduate from the University of California, San Francisco’s medical school. He later earned a master’s degree in public health from the UA, an interest that developed from witnessing so many people grow ill from preventable diseases.

In addition to working as a doctor, Carmona spent nearly three decades with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy sheriff, detective, and department surgeon.

In 2014, he published 30 Days to a Better Brain,chock full of exercises, recipes, and other tips to keep your mind functioning at optimal levels.

Rhee, today the chief of trauma, critical care, burns and emergency surgery at UA, was born in South Korea and later lived in Africa, where he grew up watching his father, a public health surgeon, complete feats like removing a spear from a man’s stomach.

Rhee’s rise from immigrant to trauma surgeon who saved Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s life after she was shot outside a Tucson public event is captured in the book, Trauma Red. He also spent 24 years with the U.S. Navy, during which he completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a surgeon, saving lives on the front lines of war.

Both men have lived their lives in pursuit of serving people through medicine, and now offer their perspectives on living longer, healthier lives. Make sure to catch this fascinating panel on Saturday at 2:30 PM over in Science City!

Suzanne Heyn is a Phoenix-based wellness and mindfulness writer. Follow her blog at and Instagram @modern.yogi for tips on living a more peaceful, balanced life.

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