UHMS Associates Council: an array of talent, skill and dedication to the job

UHMS Council

UHMS Associates Council: an array of talent, skill and dedication to the job

The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society

is a unique association of like-minded members. They are physicians, nurses, technicians, EMTs/paramedics, and respiratory therapists, plus a few more, all dedicated professionals who work to make health care better for everyone.

An international non-profit organization of more than 2,000 members from close to 40 countries, the UHMS is the primary source of scientific information for diving and hyperbaric medicine physiology worldwide. And they’re serious about it, sponsoring an annual scientific meeting yearly plus regular regional chapter meetings and maintaining a close relationship with affiliated organizations from Europe to South America, the Middle- and Far East to Down Under.

Stateside in the U.S. the UHMS Associates Council meets and consults regularly. Its job: to facilitate communications among its component members – the nurses, technicians, EMTs/paramedics, respiratory therapists, and others who work with physicians and with one another in patient care. Associates are governed by a ruling body aptly named the Associates Council, which is composed of eight volunteers who have been elected by the Associate membership to represent them. It’s a big job. Plus, it’s something they do in addition to their regular jobs.

The Council components

The council has both technical and nursing members, each fulfilling a six-year commitment: two years as a representative-elect, a non-voting position; two years as the respective active/voting representative; and two years as past representative. The exceptions are the secretary and communications Associate, each of which serve two-year commitments. Changes in status – e.g., moving from the nurse-elect position to voting – happens at the annual meeting in June.

Each position comes with specific responsibilities. The current nurse and technical representative roles require that each serve as voting members on the UHMS Board of Directors, attend monthly Associate Council meetings and be present at quarterly Board of Director meetings. There they relay Associate-related issues to the Council and the Board and report back to member constituents. Plus, each active representative communicates with the Executive Director and President of the UHMS. Each Council member is asked to draft at least one article a year to be published in Pressure, the Society’s open-access quarterly newsletter. Recent topics have dealt with implanted medical devices in the hyperbaric environment; current medical education courses; safety hazards such as ground wire connections and poorly maintained devices; emergency action plans; and continuous glucose monitoring in the chamber.

In addition, the Associates Council began hosting online quarterly Town Hall meetings with guest speakers in the fall of 2020. Subjects discussed include the topic of helmet-based ventilation for COVID patients in November with Dr. Owen J. O’Neill and Aurika Savickaite, and in February the topic covered the history of altitude DCS and space flight challenges with Dr. Michael Harrison. Tom Workman, founder of the UHMS Accreditation Program, spoke in the April 2021 meeting, providing a history of safety programs in hyperbaric medicine and the development of the UHMS accreditation program. August 2021 features Dr. Derek Covington speaking on cave diving and the use of rebreathers in his presentation entitled “Emerging trends in closed-circuit rebreather (CCR) cave diving.” The talks have become so popular the UHMS has extended the invitation to its entire membership.

The Council Members

As of June 2021, prior to the Annual Scientific Meeting these dedicated members comprise the Council.

Matt Brauninger
MATTHEW S. BRAUNINGER, CHT, CWS – Technologist Representative

Matthew Brauninger is a current and longtime member of the UHMS Gulf Coast Chapter. His hospital, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in Atlanta, will host the fall 20201 meeting for the chapter. He actively serves on the UHMS Education Steering Committee and Membership Committee.

Brauninger started out as a Cardiovascular Technician in the Cardiac Cath Lab 20 years ago in Houston, Texas. “It was right around then when I was exposed to hyperbaric medicine for the first time,” he said. “Shortly after that I became certified and have never looked back.” He has been the Technical and Safety Director for both multiplace and monoplace units within a hospital and free-standing setting and currently serves as the Hyperbaric Medicine Technical and Safety Director for Piedmont Healthcare and its 10 hyperbaric centers throughout the metro Atlanta area.

“As a

health care professional,

I feel a great responsibility to patients, the hyperbaric industry, and myself, to be involved with the regulations and standards which are set for our related health fields,” Brauninger said. “I feel we must be active both in our industry and our professional organizations to ensure that our patients’ and facilities’ needs are met safely, economically, and proficiently.”

Brauninger moved to active voting Technologist Representative as Philip Schell rotated off to be the Past Tech Rep in June 2021.

Jay Duchnick
JAY DUCHNICK, RN, CHT – Nurse Representative

In addition to his role as current Nurse Representative Jay Duchnick serves on designated committees such as UHMS’ Nominations Committee, its Awards Committee and the Annual Scientific Meeting Planning Committee.

Duchnick has created and presented lectures on hyperbaric safety and chamber operations for both the civilian and military UHMS Physician Training in Dive Medicine course and has presented technical and nursing lectures and posters at the UHMS Annual Scientific Meeting and annual Pacific Chapter Meeting. Notably he presented a veterinary case report of a chihuahua with thermal burns that he treated with a class C hyperbaric chamber under medical supervision from a local veterinarian. During his career at UCSD he co-authored five scientific papers which have been either published or accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine and Toxicology journals on the topics carbon monoxide poisoning research, decompression protocols, hyperbaric emergency simulation training, ultrasound machine testing and ventilator testing under increased atmospheric pressures.

Duchnick is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology and on the National Fire Protection Agency Committee for Hypo and Hyperbaric Safety. All of these activities are voluntary and secondary to his primary role as the Hyperbaric Nurse Manager at UC San Diego Hyperbaric Medicine Center in Hillcrest and as a CutisCare USA Regional Director, overseeing four busy

Hyperbaric and Wound Care Centers

. He was awarded CutisCare’s COVID Care Leadership Award in 2020, screening for COVID-19 each week at the hospital, explored opening a field clinic for HBO2/COVID and guided the Hillcrest, Encinitas, UCLA, and Legacy program directors through the pandemic, wildfires, demonstrations, and dangerous air quality.

JACQULINE HOCKING, CHT – Technologist Rep-Elect

Jacquline Hocking began her medical career in 2012 as an Emergency Medical Technician, volunteering for the American Red Cross-San Diego and Imperial County Chapter in Disaster Health Services. During her time in disaster response Hocking helped numerous victims of natural disasters from small events up to hundreds of people seeking refuge in a shelter. This experience afforded her many opportunities to work with local communities for the purposes of outreach and education. Hocking said favorite projects included educating the public on the dangers of carbon monoxide and the prevention of accidental poisoning.

She is also involved in educating individuals in high-stress work environments to recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout and how to cope with stress. Hocking gained a tremendous amount of patient care experience working as an EMT on a busy BLS ambulance in San Diego County. She quickly earned the position of lead field training officer and continued to train others until she started her hyperbaric medicine career.

Hocking joined the Hyperbaric Medicine team at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, California, in March of 2015 and obtained her CHT in October 2015. From 2017-2020 she was the Technical and Safety Director at UCSD Medical Center. Her experience during her time at UCSD honed her skills in multiplace chamber operations and management of a 7/24 ICU capable hyperbaric medicine program. In early 2020 Hocking was given an opportunity to travel and work with a hyperbaric program whose team was missing the safety and technical direction of a seasoned hyperbaric technologist. She was able to transform the team and educate the staff to the UHMS and NBDHMT standards for an accredited facility. In April 2020 she relocated to Portland, Oregon, where she is currently the Technical and Safety Director at Legacy Emanuel. Here she has multiple opportunities to be a part of a number of studies that will help propel the hyperbaric community into the next chapter. Hocking said she looks forward to continuing to expand her knowledge in the unique field of hyperbaric medicine by participating in research and sharing her passion for hyperbaric medicine with others. 

JULIO R. GARCIA, BSN, WCC, ACHRN, FAPWCA – Nurse Representative-Elect

Julio Garcia started his career in medicine in 1984 as a 91B US Army Combat Medical Specialist. After six years of service in the U.S. Army, he began his initial training in wound care at the University of South Alabama Medical Center under the Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Burns, Dr. Arnold Luterman. In 1990, he was called back to service with the Alabama National Guard to serve in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Afterward Garcia completed his B.S. in nursing from the University of Mobile and furthered his training by specializing in Critical Care (Open Heart Recovery/SICU) Medicine and Emergency Medicine. In 1996, he began his full-time career in hyperbaric medicine and wound care.

He has been a program director for both monoplace and a multiplace facility, and in 1999 he became the Program Director for the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Springhill Medical Center in Mobile, Alabama. The facility provides 24/7 critical care hyperbaric services for greater than a 200-mile stretch of the central Gulf Coast. It is a six-time accredited facility by the UHMS and a level one facility for the Divers Alert Network.

Garcia is chair of the International Education Committee, American Professional Wound Care Association, and serves on the Editorial Board of Wounds magazine. He has published a number of papers and is a two-time co-author for the critical care chapter of the Hyperbaric Nursing and Wound Care textbook. In addition, he has served as former executive at large for the Baromedical Nursing Association and is currently serving as the Nurse Representative on the Board of Directors for the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine. In the fall of 2010, Garcia became an instructor for Wound Care Education Partners, LLC. He also has served on the planning committee and moderator for the international meetings of the Latin American New Cardio-Vascular Horizons and served as co-director for the Nursing and Wound Care sessions of NCVH New Orleans. He has taught two introductory courses of hyperbaric medicine in his native Puerto Rico. He is an accomplished speaker and recognized by his peers as being an expert and leader in the fields of hyperbaric medicine and wound care.


Geness Koumandakis has been a registered respiratory therapist for 24 years and has been practicing critical care hyperbaric medicine for 22 of those years. She is currently the Hyperbaric Coordinator and Safety Director for LDS Hospital and Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Koumandakis has been instrumental in training fellows from the Duke University hyperbaric fellowship program and has many years of experience as a clinical educator and presenter for various respiratory therapy, nursing, and nurse practitioner programs as well as the University of Utah pulmonary fellowship program. She has been a course instructor for multiple hyperbaric courses, including a course on critical care hyperbaric medicine. Koumandakis has been actively involved in multiple hyperbaric research studies and has co-authored several abstracts, journal articles, and recently co-authored a wound care book chapter. She has presented two of these abstracts at the UHMS conference and is the recipient of the 2019 UHMS Paul C. Baker award for hyperbaric oxygen therapy safety excellence. She currently sits on multiple hyperbaric oversight committees for Intermountain Healthcare and the UHMS.

Dan Christopher
MSN, RN, CHRNC – Communications Leader

Daniel Christopher received his Master of Science in Nursing leadership and health administration from California University of Pennsylvania and has worked in various clinical settings including medical, surgical, orthopedic, cardiothoracic, trauma, transplant, emergency and hyperbaric medicine. Christopher has also worked for FEMA as part of the Pittsburgh Disaster Medical Assistance Team and was deployed as part of a five-person strike team to help provide relief to the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina.

Currently, he works as the Director of Hyperbaric Training for RestorixHealth. His job responsibilities include training support and educational management for new hyperbaric service lines as well as consultation and application of hyperbaric policy, training, quality, safety, and process improvement across all hyperbaric programs in the company. Christopher is a board-certified hyperbaric clinician and has extensive experience in the monoplace hyperbaric setting, including providing critical care and pediatric management in the monoplace hyperbaric setting. He has a wife and two daughters and enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with his family.

PHILIP SCHELL, CHT – Past Technologist Representative

Philip Schell is a Certified Hyperbaric Technician currently working in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has held the Diver Medic Certification #1472 and the Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician B1652253 titles, along with other certification titles. Currently he is a Divers Alert Network Professional #1563771 and National Association of Underwater Instructors #42608, teaching scuba diving through NAUI.

His professional history demonstrates his strength in safety, hyperbaric medicine, team-building, instruction, leadership building and balancing priorities. Schell is a Certified Hospital Emergency Coordinator for Homeland Security, utilizing 30 years’ experience in health education, medical training, advising and assisting caregivers, managing staff, public speaking, marketing, teaching, proctoring and working as a safety officer. He has also been a participant in the U.S. Navy Flying after Diving Study at Duke University.

“I have spent countless hours in many chambers, including Bonnie and Clyde, two of the oldest chambers in the Midwest, the Golf chamber at Duke, and many more,” Schell said. “I have had the great fortune of learning from some of the best hyperbaric medicine and wound care professionals from coast to coast.”

Schell recently rotated off as active voting Technologist Representative at the 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting in June and moves to the Past Tech Rep position held by Kaye Moseley, who rotated off after six years of service on the Council.

RICHARD ‘GUS’ GUSTAVSON, MPH, RN, CHRNC, CHT-A, CRT – Past Nurse Representative

Richard Gustavson, better known as “Gus,” currently serves on the UHMS Associate Council as the past president. In that role, he is the non-voting liaison member of the Baromedical Nurses Association board. In addition, he a member of the Bylaws Committee and the Accreditation Council of the UHMS. A past member of the UHMS Pacific Chapter Board, Gustavson serves on the chapter meeting planning committee and is a surveyor for the UHMS Hyperbaric Facility Accreditation program.

He have been involved in health care for more than 50 years as a respiratory therapist and a nurse, specializing in hyperbaric medicine and wound healing since 1994. Gustavson had made multiple presentations over the years at the both the national and international level for both the UHMS and the BNA. As a accreditation surveyor he has surveyed programs throughout the United States and internationally, including Singapore and Thailand. During his 23 years in the Navy Reserve, Gustavson acted as medical support for the United States Marine Corps, Naval Coastal Warfare Group One, Naval Coastal Warfare Squadrons 34. This included service in operations Desert Storm, Noble Eagle, and Iraqi Freedom. While supporting force protection units during Iraqi freedom, he provided hyperbaric support for Explosive Ordnance Disposal and special warfare units operating out of Kuwait.

Recognized with the UHMS Associate Distinguished Service Award, Gustavson is self-employed as a consultant in hyperbaric medicine education, implementation, and operations and teaches introductory classes in hyperbaric medicine and hyperbaric safety.

KAYE MOSELEY, RRT, RCP, CHT-A, CHWS, CPCO, CPB, CPMA – Past Technologist Representative

Kaye Moseley is the owner and CEO of Strategic Solutions Consulting Group, LLC. SSG provides services to existing and new WCHCs such as facility design, billing and coding, revenue cycle management, compliance programs and documentation audits. She graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in respiratory therapy and has a degree of business administration at the University of Houston. Moseley is a Certified Professional Compliance Officer, Certified Professional Biller and Certified Professional Medical Auditor. Additionally, she is a Certified Hyperbaric and Wound Specialist through the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine.

Moseley started her medical career as a Critical Care Specialist in respiratory care in 1974 and created the Neonatal Transport Service for Memorial Hospital Southwest in 1985. She built the second Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care center in Houston, Texas, at Memorial Southwest Hospital in 1988. She has been in the field of hyperbaric medicine and wound care since 1988 and served on the UHMS Board of Directors as the Associate Council President from 2005-2007 and as the Associate Technical Representative from 20017-2019.

Currently the president of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the UHMS, Moseley still serves on the UHMS Associates Council, the UHMS Annual Scientific Meeting and the UHMS Gulf Coast Chapter planning committees. She is an original surveyor for the UHMS Facility Accreditation program. Moseley recently received the UHMS Gulf Coast Chapter Distinguished Service Award for her many years of dedicated service in the UHMS and the Gulf Coast Chapter. She has lectured on compliance, reimbursement, and hyperbaric medicine at various professional meetings in the U.S and in the United Kingdom. She has rotated off the Council as of June 2021 after serving for six years.


Karen Eilert has been a registered nurse for 30 years. She earned her BSN from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992 and her MSN in Nursing Administration at Loyola University New Orleans in 2012. During her career she has worked ICU at a major trauma center, in community health nursing, public health nursing at the Texas Department of Health and almost 20 years as a home health nurse. Eilert started in wound care in 2006 for a small rural clinic in central Texas, and is certified in both wound care and hyperbarics.

Currently she is the Clinic Manager of the UH Wound Care clinic at the number-one rated hospital in the Dallas-Ft Worth Metroplex, UT Southwestern Medical Center. She was hired to open the clinic in 2014. Her hyperbaric experience is with monoplace chambers for both inpatients and outpatients.

When not in the clinic, Karen enjoys gardening, traveling, camping, reading and medieval history. She is married with two grown children, one grandchild and four fur children.

Eilert rotated off in June 2021.

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