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UHMS Pac Chapter Fall Newsletter 2021

  • Message from the PAC President

    Anthony Medak, MD

    AJ Medak pic 2018

    Dear UHMS Pacific Chapter Members,

    As president of the Pacific Chapter of the UHMS, I am very excited for our upcoming annual meeting: November 5-7, 2021. Our planning committee has an inspiring curriculum in place, including updates regarding HBO2 and COVID-19, as well as new and emerging topics among our rebreather diving community. In addition, we have recruited some top-tier wound care experts to share their knowledge. Lastly, to address the evolving requirements for our Associate UHMS members, we have included several HBO safety topics that will qualify for Category A CEU credit. To round out the program, we have lined up a guest lecturer to present some visually stunning material in the field of blackwater photography!

    This will be our first opportunity as an undersea and hyperbaric medicine community to gather in-person to network and learn together for the first time in well over a year! We hope you will consider joining us in beautiful La Jolla, California for the meeting. In addition to the exciting medical content offered during the conference, we have some fun afternoon/evening activities planned for our attendees as well. These include a tour and mixer event at the HMS (Hyperbaric Modular Systems) facility here in San Diego, as well as a possible behind-the-scenes tour of the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.  

    The conference planning committee is very excited for our upcoming meeting as the educational content, the social events (and of course the San Diego weather!) should make for a fun and educational experience! You can find the conference schedule as well as hotel and registration information at: Pacific UHMS Conference 2021

    Details of the meeting are evolving so stay tuned... Please reach out with any questions regarding logistics, content, or anything at all. We look forward to seeing you all in person later this year!


    Anthony J. Medak, MD, FACEP, FUHM
    President, Pacific Chapter UHMS 

  • Current Chapter Officers

  • New Member Corner


    Just like everything else in nature, a cycle exists in the field of Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine.  We rely on all of you to advance our collective knowledge and to promote our specialty to the general medical community and to the public; we also welcome new blood into our ranks, as we expect them to carry the torch into the future. 

    It is with distinct pleasure that we introduce the current fellows in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine for the Pacific Chapter.  Please take a moment to read their profiles and welcome them into our ranks when you encounter them at our chapter meeting in November!


    Evan Laveman, MD
    laveman cropMy name is Evan Laveman, I’m an Emergency Medicine graduate from Los Angeles, and it was an honor to have the opportunity to come to San Diego to train in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. In the Emergency Department, I always try to be aware of my own limitations, especially when it relates to the fields of the specialists that contribute to the care of a patient in the ED. I’ve found that my professional satisfaction comes largely from how proficient I feel in the care and recommendations that I’m giving. With the help of specialists, I’m fortunately able to navigate most situations, but one area that I found my confidence and satisfaction lacking was in the realm of wound care. Many centers don’t have someone you can call for that, but the preventative and interval care can be life-changing for a patient. In my area, limbs were difficult to salvage, and amputations were a common part of your shift. While we had incredible surgeons, non-life-threatening wounds rarely should tie up the time of your surgeons, and I felt like it was an area of medicine where I had a lot of room to grow. I find the field of hyperbarics valuable not only in the subspecialty services that I will be able to provide, but in how it empowers me as an Emergency Physician by giving me more tools to bring to each ED I work in. It also gives me more satisfaction in the care that I can provide, and entertains the suppressed physics enthusiast of my past. With interplay between the marine environment, toxicology, and austere environments, it touches on a lot of fields that I find interesting in both my personal and professional worlds. Also, with the expansion of hyperbaric medicine making its way into boutique clinics and health spas, I think it is more important than ever to have well educated members of the medical community who can focus on keeping the medical benefits of hyperbarics honest, effective, and forward thinking. I’m looking forward to the new knowledge and care that I can bring to my patients, and to the future direction and application of this fascinating field.

    Ian Kirby, MD
    Ikirby cropAfter 8 years of clinical practice as a Family Physician employed as a Canadian Military Medical Officer, I have come to UCSD to complete a Fellowship in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine in order to serve the Canadian Armed Forces divers and submariners as a “Consultant in Dive and Submarine Medicine”. I am following in the footsteps of my colleagues (Dr Kim Buschman, Dr Lucy Gijzen, Dr Dan Landry and Dr Kaighley Brett) who all trained at UCSD in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine.

    Prior to medicine, I worked within the Canadian Armed Forces as a Diesel Mechanic and then as a Naval Ships Officer learning about Naval Warfare and Navigation. After serving 15 years at sea and shore postings, I pursued a new career in medicine. In 2007, I was selected to attend the University of British Columbia medical school followed by a Family Practice Residency at McGill University.

    I have been fortunate to have been posted for the last 8 years in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. Through those years, I have been trained in Dive Medicine, Submarine Medicine, Flight Surgeon, and deployed in Kuwait, Latvia, Baltic seas and South Asian seas.  I was fortunate to serve as the Canadian Pacific Fleet Surgeon where I led the Pacific Naval Expeditionary medical forces preparation for deployment and oversaw their clinical practice. During the COVID year delay to join UCSD, I was appointed the Base Surgeon taking on the Medical Director role for a multi-site and multi-disciplinary clinic.

    My 29 years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces has been rewarding and continues to shape me today. I am eager to learn from the many amazing clinicians at UCSD Health in order to fulfill my next chapter focused in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. My spouse and son are excited to be living in San Diego for the year embracing the adventures SOCAL has in store for us.

    Craig Kutz, MD
    kutz crop
    Throughout my journey, I’ve never lost that childhood instinct to explore – the curiosity and wonder at how nature works and my ability to try to understand uncharted frontiers. Currently, there is a shift in the paradigm of human exploration, as technology allows us to reach beyond transient destinations, to establish a longer sustaining presence. Where humans journey, medicine must follow. This holds true for all explorers, from free divers pushing the boundaries of depth and duration, to astronauts establishing habitats on the moon. History has proven extreme environments continue to humble humans in that, while they are possible to reach, it does not come without drawbacks or consequences. As my career path evolves, I find myself intrigued by the pathophysiology within these unforgiving environments and in places the body is not innately adapted. Hyperbaric medicine-trained physicians are exceptional for their versatility in the collaborative fields of physiology, physics, human factors, and engineering. In addition, they specialize in patient care of a population relying on sophisticated technology and life-support systems to survive within austere environments. This expertise yields intellect for human safety, not only for the health of recreational, scientific and commercial divers, but also for the forefront of equipment design and atmospheric habitats for future expeditions within extreme environments (such as deep sea or space).

    My foundation is as a dairy farmer from Wisconsin, before completing the physician-scientist MD/PhD training with focus in medicinal chemistry and cardiovascular physiology in Charleston, SC. I finished residency in Emergency Medicine at UC-San Diego where I simultaneously worked as an operational flight physician with a local helicopter EMS. Additionally, I completed special distinction as a Fellow in Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) and certification in mountain rescue through Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DiMM). My interest in diving medicine stems from working as an AAUS-certified scientific diver for the South Carolina Aquarium during medical school.

    I strive for a career as a leading expert in extreme and austere environments, utilizing my foundation in Emergency Medicine and subspecialty training in undersea, aviation, high altitude and space medicine to care for patients exposed to unconventional stressors. Therefore, it is with great excitement that I am continuing this journey into extreme environment medicine in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine through the UC-San Diego Division of Hyperbaric Medicine.


  • Annual Meeting Information

    Annual Chapter Conference

    The Pacific Chapter will be hosting its annual conference on November 5 – 7, 2021, on the UCSD campus in San Diego, CA.  Our official hotel will be at the Marriott Courtyard San Diego Sorrento Valley (9650 Scranton Rd, San Diego, CA  92121). 

    Please contact them for the special conference rate via phone (Marriott Reservations 1-800-321-2211, name of event- Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society UHMS Pacific Chapter) or via web link:

    Reservation cut-off is Weds, October 6, for this great rate.  We will be competing with the Breeders Cup which will significantly increase room rates for the weekend, thus highly recommend reserving a room now at $159 (not including taxes) per night. 

    We have a great schedule planned that is now available for review online and look forward to seeing you there!

  • 2021 Meeting Sponsors/Exhibitors


    Tagline CutisCare Logo Final 400x 92 0021

    2300 Glades Rd #100e
    Boca Raton, FL 33431
    (561) 617-7067

    HMS logo Hyperbaric Modular Systems
    1663 Pacific Rim Court
    San Diego, CA 92154
    (619) 336-2022

    DAN logoDivers Alert Network
    6 West Colony Place
    Durham, NC 27705
    (919) 684-2948


  • Photography Corner

    Come to San Diego and you may be lucky enough to see this little guy! 

    Spotted at the Cardiff tidepools just a few miles from our conference site, the Spanish Shawl nudibranch is one of the most colorful mollusks around.  They are carnivorous (algae, anemone, etc) but generally harmless to humans.  That said, if you see any around, look but leave them be to freely search for prey.

    Come see and enjoy the magic of San Diego this November!

    Photo Credit: Leo Tanaka (All rights reserved)



  • Newsletter Editor

    Leo Tanaka, MD, FACEP

    LeoTanka 0c3babda
    Dr. Tanaka is the current Secretary for the Pacific Chapter and is editor for this newsletter.  All thoughts and presentations included within are solely of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official thoughts or policies of UHMS, UCSD, or any other affiliated organization. 

    Have comments, thoughts, or suggestions? 

    Please contact Dr. Tanaka directly at