Medicine for the Outdoors
Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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Thank You to DAN and Rolex USA

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Rolex USA for bestowing on me the 2009 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award. The ceremony took place on March 28 at Beneath the Sea. It was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with many luminaries from the diving world. The highlight of the program was listening to the accolades bestowed upon Zale Parry, who was named a "Legend of the Sea." As many of you know, Zale, who is arguably the most famous living scuba diver, was the co-star of Sea Hunt with Lloyd Bridges, and remains a very accomplished and adventurous diver. Knowing Zale as I do, and feeling enormously grateful to be her friend, I cannot think of anyone more worthy of such an honor.

Individuals honored as 2009 Divers of the Year by Beneath the Sea were Edward A. Betts and Dr. Jose Jones for Education, and Dr. Glen Egstrom, Lee Selisky and Stewart Snyder for Service. Their achievements are incredible, and range from being at the forefront of recreational NITROX development to development of underwater performance science to creating the National Association of Black Scuba Divers to inventing custom die-cast lead weight systems to teaching handicapped individuals to dive.

Attending the program was yet another reminder for me of the activities and significance of the Divers Alert Network at Duke University. DAN is the leading worldwide organization for Dive Safety. Over the years, its services and accomplishments have become essential to the dive community, including recreational, industrial, and exploratory diving. Dan Orr, the President and CEO of DAN, is a "diver's diver," and brings decades of experience underwater as a diver and topside as an executive leader to DAN and its beneficiaries.

DAN currently publishes alert diver six times a year for its members. The recent March/April 2009 issue exemplifies the high quality of information offered to readers. The articles and columns explore issues of hypertension, DAN research, scuba diving after breast cancer, a surface signal kit, medical fitness for diving, critical incident stress, dive resource management, regulator safety, the YMCA scuba program, illustrative stories of dive incidents and accidents with discussions to point out effective rescue and preventive techniques, shore diving from a physical therapist's perspective, the effects of wind on diving, and much more.

DAN membership offers many benefits, including 24-hour DAN TravelAssist, which can arrange evacuation any time you are more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home, with coverage up to $100,000. The details for this program, and other member benefits including insurances, are available from DAN. Having served as a referral physician for DAN for decades with regard to injuries related to hazardous marine animals, I can vouch for the high quality and integrity of this organization. Working with DAN is one of my favorite volunteer duties.

Preview the Annual Meeting of the Wilderness Medical Society, which will be held in Snowmass, Colorado July 24-29, 2009.

Join me from January 24 to February 2, 2010 for an exciting dive and wilderness medicine CME adventure aboard the Nautilus Explorer to Socorro Island, Mexico to benefit the Wilderness Medical Society.

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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.