This month I want to address a topic that several individuals have brought up since we last met at the Annual Symposium in Lake Tahoe - the status of the Medical Standards Panel. To put this in some context, it has been 8 years since the last medical review panel was seated to provide recommendations relative to AAUS’ minimum medical standards. At the Joint Agency Meeting in 2018, and again at the 2018 Annual Symposium, there were significant discussions on the need for another medical review panel given the evolution of scientific diving over the last decade (e.g., increased use of mixed gas dives, etc.). A subcommittee consisting of Doug Schleiger, Liz Kintzing, and myself, have solicited names for an Oversight Committee [OC] and the Medical Review Panel [MRP], and we have identified at least two target dates for the actual meeting. Members selected to the OC can expect to be notified by the subcommittee in the coming weeks. Thanks to those who provided nominations for the OC.
The OC will consist of about 10 Diving Medical Officers. Their job will be to identify and prioritize the medical issues that will be discussed by the MRP during the two-day meeting. The OC will reach out to membership over the coming months, likely via a website poll, so watch for that. The MRP will consist of about 6 internationally-respected diving physicians/physiologists, and their job will be to:
1) review the existing medical standards,
2) update medical standards using scientifically-defensible rationales, and
3) consider additional timely questions raised by the OC.
We anticipate the OC will be active throughout the Summer and hand off their documents to the MRP in early Fall. Ideally, the MRP will meet in Fall 2019 (possibly as a breakout session from the UHMS meeting in San Diego), but it is more likely the MRP will meet in Spring 2020, and the Proceedings Volume will be published during the Summer of 2020.
On another front, I just want to remind everyone that your new manuals should have been uploaded by June 1st. If you could not meet that deadline, please reach out to AAUS Standards Committee to let them know when we can expect your program to be in compliance. Thanks for your continued support of the AAUS.
University of Mississippi