The Divers Alert Network (DAN) has named Duke Anesthesiology’s Richard Moon, MD, CM, MSc, FRCP(C), FACP, FCCP, the 2021 DAN Rolex Diver of the Year.
Moon is the medical director of the Duke Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology and a former medical director of DAN. Throughout his more than 40-year career in dive medicine and research, Moon has worked to gain a better understanding of how the human body functions at environmental extremes. His research focuses on gas exchange and cardiorespiratory function in the body while deep underwater or at high altitude.
Moon earned his doctor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal and completed residency and fellowship training at the University of Toronto and Duke University. He began working at the Duke hyperbaric center in 1979. Throughout his career, Moon has investigated numerous phenomena that affect divers, including immersion pulmonary edema, arterial gas embolism, hypoxia, and decompression sickness. He has also worked to improve the decompression procedures used in altitude diving and has studied the utility of novel breathing gases in decompression. In addition to being a prolific researcher, Moon teaches and practices medicine. He has won multiple awards for teaching and mentoring medical students. And not only has he enhanced the understanding of diving and treatment of injured divers, he has provided hyperbaric oxygen therapy and other medical care, advice, and assistance directly to hundreds of divers who were suffering from diving-related injuries.
Moon’s support for explorers and adventurers goes beyond treating injured people and establishing safety standards and procedures; he also works with divers and climbers prior to travel to help them determine their fitness for diving or ascending to altitude. Beyond working with divers and travelers, Moon also directs care for people with various medical conditions who can benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy. These conditions include carbon monoxide poisoning, wounds that aren’t healing properly, radiation-induced tissue injuries and more.
Moon’s work on the effects of submersion and decompression has benefited countless divers over the years. Through his commitment and significant contributions to dive medicine, Moon has made diving safer for all.
“One of our major tasks as senior people in any field is to help the next generation, and I really love doing that,” says Moon. “If the Rolex award provides more opportunities to do that I’ll be absolutely ecstatic.”
Source: Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society awards program announcement (June 2021)