Why WEMski? What are the drivers for mounting such an extraordinary meeting?
The WEMski mini-conference is distinctly different and leading-edge, a unique opportunity to learn from world-inspiring minds championing the forefront in medical and non-medical protocol and innovation all in one place. We wanted to find out from WEM founder Mark Hannaford and WEM mentor/partner David Weil what prompted them to mount such an ambitious project.
We asked Mark where the idea came from…
Q. What prompted you to establish WEMski?
A. Living in the southwest of England, the pace of life is slower and one imagines less stressful than living in London or one of the big cities. So, it shocked me immensely to notice over the past 12 months or so, a series of media articles about young doctors committing suicide; Rose Polge, Lauren Phillips & Rebecca Ovenden. This shocked, saddened and appalled me in equal measure but it wasn’t something we felt WEM was in a position to address in any way.
After a period of reflection, however, we realised that WEM is full of amazing individuals who have achieved amazing feats of endurance, worked in war zones really pushing themselves emotionally and physically to the very extremes and rather than not contributing to the conversation we could actually do something positive.
WEM mentor and social innovator David Weil fully backed the idea ‘WEM’s heritage of positive engagement in extreme edges of medicine combining adventure, the outdoors and positivity makes using the Italian Alps the perfect setting for talking about mental health and human factors in medicine’. This also ties in with Weil’s time as past trustee with the Royal Marines Charity and partner with Solidarité Défense which deals overwhelmingly with PTSD both in the UK and France.
Q. What make this faculty so different?
A. All the faculty have undergone significant tests to their character and they come from a huge range of backgrounds from extreme environment specialist Dr Nathan Smith, to SAS Sergeant Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox to Xtreme Everest summiteer and world cold weather injury authority Prof. Chris Imray. Gathering them in one place allows us to really learn how they have coped with their difficult periods and how they overcame significant challenges to achieve personal success.
Q. What do you hope to achieve?
A. We want to give the folk attending WEMski a tool box of stress-busting techniques and the ability to manage teams more effectively recognising the value of a human factors approach. We want them to go away inspired as to where their medical training might take them with an address book full to the brim of great contacts.
To find out more information on WEMski or to book your place on what we promise will be an incredibly fun, diverse and inspiring week, please click here.