Father of Wilderness Medicine, Dr. Paul Auerbach Dies At 70


Dr. Auerbach said it’s imperative to never be too comfortable dealing with nature’s whims. “You have to be afraid on the way to work,” he said. “You must remain humble.”

Paul Stuart Auerbach was born on January 4, 1951, in Plainfield, NJ. His father, Victor, was Union Carbide’s patent manager. His mother Leona (Fishkin) Auerbach was a teacher. Paul was a wrestling star in high school and grew up spending the summers on Jersey Beach.

He graduated from Duke with a bachelor’s degree in religion in 1973 and subsequently enrolled in Duke’s medical school. He met Sherry Steindorf at UCLA and they married in 1982. (She worked part-time as a swimsuit model for a swimwear company in the 1980s. Laguna.) Auerbach attended Stanford’s business school shortly before joining the university’s medical school in 1991.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his two sons, Brian and Daniel; daughter Lauren Auerbach Dixon; her mother; a brother, Burt; and a sister, Jan Sherman.

As he grew older, Dr. Auerbach is dedicated to expanding the field of wildlife medicine. In reviewing the textbook, he added chapters on handling environmental disasters and co-authored with Jay Lemery:Enviromedics: Impact of Climate Change on Human Health,” Released in 2017.

Last year, shortly before being diagnosed with cancer, the coronavirus pandemic began to spread, and Dr. Auerbach decided to take action.

“He started working on disaster response as soon as it all started,” his wife said. “The hospitals were running out of PPE. He urged this person and that person to learn as much as he could. He wanted to learn how to design better masks and better ventilators. It never stopped.”


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