Our Mission: To deliver outstanding patient care through commitment to the community, groundbreaking research and inspired teaching.
Our Vision: To create a healthier world — one life at a time — through new science, new medicine and new cures.
Karen Van Hoesen, MD, is a board-certified emergency medicine physician who specializes in undersea and hyperbaric medicine. She is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on diving medicine. Within UC San Diego Health’s Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care Program, Dr. Van Hoesen assesses a person’s fitness to dive, treats diving accidents and uses hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to treat conditions such as decompression illness, carbon monoxide poisoning, gas gangrene, non-healing wounds and tissue damage from radiation, burns or infection. She is also the co-director of the San Diego Center of Excellence in Diving (SDCED). In addition to her expertise in diving medicine, Dr. Van Hoesen has a special interest and personal experience in high-altitude medicine and wilderness medicine. As a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, she instructs medical students, residents and fellows in emergency medicine, diving medicine and wilderness medicine. Dr. Van Hoesen is co-director of the Wilderness Medicine Fellowship at UC San Diego School of Medicine. She has co-authored numerous research papers, book chapters and abstracts and frequently speaks to divers, instructors, scientific diving officers and physicians about all aspects of diving medicine and safety. Dr. Van Hoesen completed a residency in emergency medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and earned her medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine. She is board-certified in emergency medicine and undersea and hyperbaric medicine. Since 2000, Dr. Van Hoesen has been a member of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Diving Control Board. She has served on the board of directors for Divers Alert Network (DAN) and is currently an emergency on-call physician for DAN. Dr. Van Hoesen has also served on Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society committees and held leadership positions at the local and national level. Dr. Van Hoesen has been a National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) diving instructor for more than 30 years and has dove on all seven continents. Her honors include the 2014 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year Award and being an inaugural member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She loves opening the underwater world to the public and teaching appreciation and awareness of the underwater environment.