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October 2011    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 26, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

The Evolution of DAN

is the Divers Alert Network still fulfilling its mission?

from the October, 2011 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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As we hope you know, we regularly post interesting, unusual diving blogs on our website. The blog post for which we've received the most responses went up last summer when Doc Vikingo asked: "DAN's Alert Diver: Lost Its Mission?" Doc's piece tied in with our June 2010 article about Divers Alert Network's monthly magazine, and whether it had turned into a publication long on flash and full-color photos, but short on DAN's mission of helping divers with medical emergency assistance, and promoting diving safety through education and research.

The discussion quickly slipped into a free-for-all, with questions about conflicts of interest and why DAN board members were appointed to head DAN services and products, while cutting staff members and severing long-term ties with Duke University Medical Center. And why does DAN, a nonprofit, need not one, but three, for-profit organizations under its umbrella? Some comments angered at least one DAN board member, and we received a faxed letter from their attorney, requesting that we remove the entire blog. Of course, we refused; after all, it seemed like a healthy discussion that any member-based nonprofit ought to endure. The debate continued into the fall, and though it petered out and now is old news, it's still online at www.undercurrent.org/blog/2010/05/29/dans-diver-alert-mission-question

One thing we ourselves noticed was a change in the research and educational materials DAN presented to the public. For years, we relied on DAN's yearly Dive Incidents and Fatalities Reports for "Why Divers Die," our annual multi-article investigation into the factors that led to divers' deaths. The 2008 report was the last one DAN published. In July 2010, we published an article about DAN's effort to edit a presentation for its fatality workshop diver deaths by Undercurrent contributor Bret Gilliam and dive insurance expert Peter Meyer. A senior DAN official told Gilliam his candor could prove embarrassing to dive training agencies and operators who would be at the workshop. Suppress dive research just to let the industry save face? Doesn't sound like proper promotion of dive safety and research....

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