Tuesday, June 2, 2009

DAN Names New Head of Medical Department

Dr. Nicholas Bird Joins DAN Staff as New Head of Medicine Department

Anyone who has called the DAN® 24-Hour Diving Emergency Hotline or used the non-emergency Medical Information Line knows the outstanding caliber of those who comprise DAN’s medical department. That legacy now continues with the addition of Dr. Nicholas Bird, DAN’s incoming vice president of medical services.

Dr. Bird joins the DAN staff in June. He comes to DAN from the Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah, where he currently serves as the medical director of hyperbaric medicine. His acceptance of his new position at DAN follows an intensive and exhaustive months-long search by the organization to find the right candidate for the job.

“We knew the incoming VP would have some large shoes to fill,” said Dan Orr, president and CEO of DAN. “Our retiring VP of Medical Services, Joel Dovenbarger, has served this organization for almost all of its 30 years, and his contributions to its success cannot be measured. We knew it would take a special person to succeed him, and Dr. Nick Bird is that person. He’s a highly qualified and capable physician with extensive experience in hyperbaric medicine. He’s a great fit for our culture and the needs of our medical department, and he’s an active diver who understands and enthusiastically supports our mission and philosophy. We couldn’t have asked for more.”

Dr. Bird’s qualifications include a medical degree from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the completion of his family medicine residency at the University of Washington at Vancouver, as well as a fellowship in diving and hyperbaric medicine at the University of California at San Diego. He is board certified in Family Practice and Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a Flight Surgeon and was honorably discharged with the rank of Major, but not before serving as the final Commander of the Base Hospital in Jordan during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In addition to extensive credentials, Dr. Bird’s character was also highly admired and praised by the candidate selection committee. Said Dr. Brett Hart, a member of DAN’s Board of Directors and the selection committee: “[Our] decision to support Dr. Bird's selection as DAN's new Vice President of Medical Services came down to three things: honor, courage and commitment. Beyond being a capable physician, he consistently demonstrated the moral character necessary to 'do the right thing' in terms of supporting DAN and its mission."

Added Dick Clarke, president of National Baromedical Services and another member of the selection committee: “Dr. Nick Bird brings to DAN solid medical credentials, excellent interpersonal skills and great enthusiasm. DAN's membership will be that much better off as a result of Dr. Bird's close coordination of emergency evacuation and related medical care with all those who work globally on behalf of the injured diver.”

Although the start of Dr. Bird’s tenure at DAN is still a few weeks away, his enthusiasm for his new position is unmistakable. “DAN [is] integral to the diving community,” he said. “As a resource for information, a lifeline for injured divers, a conduit for research and a pioneer of safety training, DAN has distinguished itself as an industry leader.

“I am honored to have been chosen as the new VP of Medical Services and look forward to advancing DAN’s mission of dive safety. As a hyperbaric physician, I am especially interested in DAN’s goal both to establish and enhance the quality and integrity of medical care for divers in remote areas. I have joined DAN at an exciting time in the organization’s development and look forward to rolling up my sleeves and diving in.”

Dr. Bird’s addition to the DAN staff is certainly one reason it is an exciting time at DAN, and we hope you’ll join us in welcoming him both to DAN and the dive industry.


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