Among the many highlights of this year’s Beneath the Sea was the honoring of Dr. Paul Auerbach as the winner of the 2009 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award.
The award is given each year to an individual who has contributed significantly to dive safety or the DAN mission; Dr. Auerbach exemplifies everything for which the award stands. As a physician, author and researcher, Dr. Auerbach has made numerous contributions to the safety of diving, including his service as a DAN Referral Physician.
A DAN Member since 1984, he has written extensively and is widely published on topics promoting dive safety for both divers and medical professionals, and he assisted with the development of the DAN First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life training program as well as the DAN Pocket Guide to First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries.
“Dr. Auerbach’s contributions both to diving and to DAN over the years have been immeasurable,” said Dan Orr, president and CEO of DAN. “Of course, the list of his talents and accomplishments is long, but his work has been much more far-reaching than any paper can reflect. I’m not sure divers realize the debt we all owe him, because we certainly have been the beneficiaries of his work.”
A champion of dive medicine, Dr. Auerbach is currently a professor in the division of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University. His work extends beyond the university, however, as he recently began volunteering in a program of environmental and global health, offering his skill and experience to bring medical expertise and services to Third World countries. His belief in the connection between health and environment and that “doctors must also be environmental stewards,” particularly in areas where cultures depend on the ocean, clearly show that his passion and dedication to dive medicine and dive safety has grown into a global outreach.
“If he never did another thing, Paul’s legacy would be a tremendous one,” Orr said. “That he’s not only continuing his great work, but also expanding it to a global level, makes us, as divers, feel very lucky to have someone like him working for our benefit. DAN has long been proud of our association with Dr. Auerbach, and we’re thrilled to see him win this award.”
Winners of the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award receive a plaque and a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date dive watch. This year’s award ceremony took place at Beneath the Sea in Secaucus, N.J.