Best Of Tucson®

The BOT Interview: Dr. Richard Carmona

Dr. Richard Carmona has led a busy life. Raised in Harlem, he dropped out of high school and joined the U.S. Army, where he earned his GED and joined the Special Forces. He went on to become a paramedic, registered nurse, physician, educator, SWAT-team training officer, surgeon and public-health administrator. He was named the 17th surgeon general of the United States by former President George W. Bush. He currently lives in Tucson, where he serves as vice chairman of Canyon Ranch, president of the Canyon Ranch Institute, and professor at the UA College of Public Health.

You've inspired a lot of people. Best place to find inspiration in Tucson?

Canyon Ranch is the best place to find inspiration, especially if you are pursuing optimal health and wellness.

Best place to go outdoors?

There are many beautiful outdoor places to go in Tucson. One of my favorites is Sabino Canyon.

Best tortillas in Tucson?

One thing is for sure: Tucson does not lack for great tortillas. A couple of places that I have tried are the Anita Street Market and St. Mary's Mexican Food.

Best salsa?

As with tortillas, there are many excellent varieties of salsa in Tucson. Some I have tried that are great are El Parador, El Charro and Café Poca Cosa.

Best public event for charity?

There are many needy and worthy charitable causes in Tucson and Southern Arizona. Although not a public event, the United Way should be mentioned, since it serves so many needy causes. As far as public events, the Angel Charity and the Heart Ball both annually address significant social and health challenges in our community.

Best example of public art?

Tucson is filled with many spaces containing stimulating public art, from murals to sculptures and even sanctioned "graffiti"! Although many may not think of one of my favorites as public art, I think the Mission San Xavier del Bac is an extraordinary "canvas" of public art, both inside and the structure itself. In addition, the art is to be treasured, since there are so few artisans today that can do the intricate sculptures, murals and old-world construction.

Best place to go for a run?

Tucson is one of the best running places in the country. For running and hiking, Sabino Canyon is one of my favorites.

Best dessert?

Canyon Ranch. A wide array of healthy and very tasty desserts are constantly being created.