The Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology and the F.G. Hall Environmental Laboratory at Duke University were founded in 1963 and today form one of the world¹s foremost medical facilities specializing in the physiology and medical management of human exposure to extreme environments. The Center has both hyper and hypobaric capabilities allowing simulation of environments ranging from deep-ocean to terrestrial high altitude, aviation and space. The Center is located at Duke University Hospital and is the largest hospital-based hyperbaric treatment facility in the world. It is the only hyperbaric facility in North Carolina accredited by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) and the first in North America to receive the accreditation “With Distinction.” It serves as the primary backup facility in the Southeast for the treatment of diving injuries for the United States Armed Forces as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and local police, fire, and rescue agencies.
Duke Dive Medicine (DDM) is comprised of a core group of physicians, nurses and technical members of the Center¹s Clinical Hyperbaric Medicine Service and provides both direct and consultative medical support for recreational, technical, commercial, and military divers. 100% of DDM¹s physicians are ACGME board certified in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. DDM also operates the Hyperbaric Fellowship training program at the Hyperbaric Center and F.G. Hall Environmental Laboratory, both of which are an integral part of Duke University Medical Center. Twenty-five postdoctoral fellows have completed the formal one-year training experience in Hyperbaric Medicine since 1987 and a larger number of physicians have completed rotations of shorter duration over the course of the center¹s more than four-decade history. Medical students, interns and residents of various services rotate through the unit and participate in clinical rounds, wound care and the didactic program.
In addition to the physicians of DDM, the Center also supports the clinical and research efforts of more than 25 faculty and post-doctoral fellows from the Departments of Medicine, Anesthesiology, Surgery, Pharmacology and Cell Biology and actively collaborates with the National Institutes of Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, NASA, foreign research institutions, recreational diving organizations and the offshore diving industry. The Center¹s research directly benefits divers by improving the prevention and treatment of patients with decompression sickness, arterial gas embolism as well as other diving related medical conditions and has provided a scientific foundation for the clinical practice of Hyperbaric Medicine. Duke faculty boasts ten percent of former members who have served as president of the UHMS.