Dr. Tom Neuman receives 2011 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 mission of DAN, either regionally or nationally. When those contributions also span a professional lifetime, they can be hard to calculate, as a person’s influence becomes so far-reaching, its boundaries blur. Such is the case with Dr. Neuman.
“It’s impossible to imagine the dive industry today without the contributions of Tom Neuman,” said Dan Orr, president of DAN and chairman of the award selection committee. “His work in the areas of dive medicine and physiology blazed trails of discovery and set many of the standards against which current work is often measured.”
A practitioner of undersea medicine for over 35 years, Dr. Neuman is a world-renowned diving medicine researcher, writer, scholar and clinician. He began his career as a recreational scuba instructor before serving in the U.S. Navy as a diving and submarine medical officer. After his years in the military, he began practicing medicine in the private sector. For decades, he has assisted the San Diego County coroner’s office in the investigation of diving fatalities, and he has helped to study the medical aspects of diving accidents for several public and private organizations, including DAN. At the remarkably young age of 42, Dr. Neuman was elected to the presidency of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS).
Dr. Neuman has published extensively on the consequences of arterial gas embolism and served as a consultant to NASA on life sciences and solutions to the physiological challenges of space travel. He is a longtime DAN Referral Physician and has played a significant role in educating and shaping the next generation of diving and hyperbaric medicine physicians. Board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, emergency medicine and occupational/environmental medicine with clinical interests in undersea and hyperbaric medicine and preventative medicine, Dr. Neuman was responsible for starting the hyperbaric program at the University of California at San Diego. It grew for years under his guidance, and he served as its Director of Hyperbaric Medicine before retiring.
“The contributions of private physicians often go unsung when it comes to dive safety,” said Orr. “It’s an honor and our pleasure to be able to spotlight one such physician and bring to light just how much Tom Neuman has contributed to what we know about diving injuries and keeping divers safe.”
Winners of the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award receive a plaque and a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual dive watch. This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the award.