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Meet the team behind our Expedition & Wilderness Medicine course in Keswick

We’ve brought together a remarkable teaching faculty for our Expedition & Wilderness Medicine course taking place in Keswick this March; all with an amazing depth of experience, living and working in the most remote corners of the world and achieving notable success in the face of extreme challenge and adversity. They will be sharing their extensive knowledge and skills to give you a comprehensive understanding of how to lead and provide medical cover on expeditions.

Meet this highly specialised team who will be delivering an unrivalled syllabus of content:

Burjor Langdana – Expedition Dentist

Burjor Langdana, WEM facultyBurjor is both a past consultant dentist for the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit and a resident expedition dentist for AdventureMedic. He has many years’ experience in Expedition/Wilderness and Remote Access Dentistry, having first become interested in this specialism while running dental camps in remote parts of India (where he did his Masters in Oral Surgery), and later when working in the Sultanate of Oman.

Burjor deepened and broadened his expedition medical experience through spending four seasons in the Antarctic; working as a VSO dentist in Malawi and working with Mobile Surgical Services in New Zealand.

The contributing author and editor for the dental chapter in the new Oxford Handbook of Expedition and Wilderness Medicine, Burjor has written numerous articles about his specialism, which have been published in AdventureMedic and in the dental section of competency guides for remote health care practitioners and expedition medicine. He has also lectured extensively on his subject and provides phone and email support for event medics.

His main passion these days is to train medics in the dark art of Expedition Dentistry, through running intensive yet interesting hands-on workshops.

Emma Figures – Medical Doctor

Emma Figures, WEM faculty

In her life before medicine, Emma lived in a caravan in Wales, worked as a healthcare assistant, travelled solo around the world having never been on a plane, hiked the Himalayas, studied Geography at Cambridge and volunteered in Nepal, China, India, Sri Lanka and Zambia (Teaching, Tsunami relief and TB hospices). After graduating, she taught in Geneva and undertook an internship at the UN and WHO, where she attended the Human Rights Council and World Health Assembly.

She then returned to Cambridge to study Medicine and ventured to Borneo for her elective (in a busy city ED and rural jungle clinic). After Foundation training in Cornwall and a Mountain Medicine course in Morocco, Emma returned to Kathmandu with Nepal Critical Care Development Foundation and has subsequently pursued a colourful career in expedition medicine and education.

Her expedition medic work has taken her on charity cycles in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Sri Lanka and hiking challenges in Iceland, the Grand Canyon and Kilimanjaro. She also had the chance to work in Fiji with the famous Dr Joe for the US reality TV show Survivor. Closer to home, she has worked as an Event Medic for a Children in Need Ramble and in the Brecon Beacons with Across The Divide.

Emma completed a PGCE during her clinical teaching fellowship at Birmingham University, before flying off to warmer weather (and Category 5 hurricanes) in the Caribbean, where she was as an Assistant Professor at Saba University. She is now back in the UK for GP training, but continues to dream of faraway places and enthusiastically teaches on expedition medicine courses dressed as a magical unicorn – true story!

Karen O’Neill – Advanced Clinical Practitioner

Karen ONeill, WEM faculty

Karen O’Neill is an Advanced Clinical Practitioner experienced in emergency care and humanitarian aid. She graduated from the University of Manchester with a Bachelor of Honours Nursing degree in 2003. In 2012 she attained a postgraduate Master of Arts degree in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response and in 2019, a Master of Science degree in Advanced Clinical Practice.

Karen’s career has been divided between Emergency Department nursing in the National Health Service and the humanitarian sector.

Karen is experienced in humanitarian development, disease outbreak control and crisis and disaster response. Most recently she worked on the Save the Children migrant crisis response, where she worked as an emergency nurse at sea on their search and rescue programme in the Mediterranean.

During the West Africa Ebola Crisis, Karen worked as Medical Adviser for the UK National Ebola Response Programme providing assistance in Sierra Leone and in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, she was a member of the UK International Emergency Trauma Register team. The crew provided emergency medical care to populations living on remote islands that had been injured during the disaster.

Karen has worked in both hospital settings and community outreach posts in Uganda, as well working on a programme delivering primary care to slum-dwelling communities in Mumbai. In addition to this, she has enjoyed leading training programmes in paediatric care in a hospital in Malawi. Karen also continues to offer her support to a charity that assists children with chronic ongoing illness needs in South West Uganda.

In 2016 Karen’s contribution to international nursing was recognised by the University of Manchester who presented her with an Outstanding Alumni of the Year award.

 Ben Watts – Paramedic & Expedition Leader

Ben Watts, WEM facultyBen has been a Paramedic since 2014 and is a Critical Care Paramedic on the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

He has a background in Whitewater paddling and big river expeditions and has climbed virgin Peaks in Kyrgyzstan and cycled the Jordan Bike trail. Ben has interests in Expedition medicine and has been a medic on a number of remote expeditions. He also has a particular interest in human factors, CRM and performance under pressure, both within pre-hospital medicine and the expedition arena.


Abbi Forsyth – Anaesthetics Clinical Fellow

Abigail Forsyth, WEM facultyAbbi is an Anaesthetics clinical fellow currently working at Chesterfield Royal Hospital and is also currently completing the RCSEd Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DiMM).

Abbi has been involved in providing medical and safety cover to ultra-endurance running races in the UK for a number of years and has had the privilege of working on races such as the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race TM and Salomon Skyline Scotland TM.



Wayne Auton – Specialist Retrieval Practitioner

Wayne Auton, WEM facultyWayne is a Specialist Retrieval Practitioner with the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service operating out of Glasgow, providing enhanced pre-hospital trauma care. The service also conducts specialist transfers of critically ill or injured patients from remote and rural locations across Scotland.

After leaving the Royal Marines and becoming a paramedic in 2009, Wayne has held various positions as a HEMS paramedic with Helimed 76 and Helimed 5 and more recently as a winchman on a Search and Rescue helicopter.

With a passion for anything to do with mountains and mountaineering he is also a member of a Scottish mountain rescue team and is keen to find ways to improve and develop pre-hospital care for avalanche patients. To keep fit for the mountains Wayne also enjoys Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Jodie Sage – ED Trainee

Jodie Sage, WEM facultyJodie is an ED trainee in Wessex, battling to balance getting outdoors with an ED rota.

She has extensive expedition experience having completed expeditions on every continent as well as taking a keen interest in endurance events. Jodie has a wide range of hobbies from trail running to knitting, triathlon to baking, skiing to sea kayaking and you can often find her on an adventure riding a tandem bicycle. Jodie has spent the past year in New Zealand where despite her best efforts she didn’t quite become a pro surfer or pro ski tourer.

In addition, Jodie maintains an interest in global health and has worked on projects in different developing countries focussing on sustainability within healthcare.



Neil Sambridge – Consultant in Anaesthesia

Neil Sambridge, WEM facultyNeil is a consultant in anaesthesia, major trauma and pre-hospital emergency medicine.

He works at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (an adult major trauma centre) and on two regional air ambulances (Yorkshire and the East Midlands). Neil has also been a volunteer with the Edale Mountain Rescue Team and Derbyshire Cave Rescue Organisation for many years. He is also a strategic medical advisor for the East Midlands Ambulance Service and a major incident lead for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

Neil has climbed and caved in many places across the world including winter climbing in Scotland and the Lakes, aid climbing in America and Canada, chalk cliff climbing on the south coast, via ferrata in the Dolomites, caving in France, trekking in Nepal and sea stack climbing in Scotland. His expedition experience includes Iceland and Kyrgrzstan.


Mel Watts – GP

Mel Watts, WEM facultyMel is a GP with a keen passion for expedition medicine.

She has been fortunate to work on youth development expeditions in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Canada and has also worked on multi-stage ultra-marathons, including in Namibia.

Mel loves the sea and when she isn’t working is a keen traveller, her most recent trip was cycling the Jordan Bike Trail.

Jim Moonie – HEMS doctor

Jim Moonie, WEM facultyCurrently London based, Jim completed his emergency medicine training in June 2018 and has since been working as a HEMS doctor for Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. In 2021 he will be undertaking a secondment with London’s Air Ambulance.

Prior to studying medicine, Jim undertook a French degree during which time he spent a year living on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. From this grew a passion for living and working overseas, which along with his love for climbing and other outdoor pursuits, he has since combined with his medical career.

His involvement with wilderness medicine began at medical school in Bristol. He attended a number of wilderness medicine courses, spent two months working in a remote mission hospital in Rwanda and two months studying at the Institute for High Altitude Pathology in La Paz, Bolivia.

He has climbed widely, visiting the French Alps on a regular basis and with trips further afield including the Bolivian Andes, the Southern Alps of New Zealand, East Africa and the Nepal Himalaya. He has also been involved in exploratory mountaineering trips to Greenland and Kyrgyzstan. In 2007 he completed the New Zealand Coast to Coast Race and in 2013 ran (walked) the Yukon Arctic Ultra (100 mile race).

In 2013 he was a medical officer for Extreme Everest, based in Pheriche for the season. This was followed by an extended period out of training during which time he worked as a critical care retrieval doctor in Darwin, a ski field medic in New Zealand and was a clinical fellow in pre-hospital care and emergency medicine in Bangor. Recently, he has been the medic on several trips to Namibia and has worked for Exile medics, providing ultramarathon support for the Jungle Ultra in Peru and, on three occasions, for the Ice Ultra in Northern Sweden.

He is a holder of the DIMM and the DTMH and plans to sit the Dip IMC in the near future.

Hannah Kittson – Emergency Medicine Registrar

Hannah Kittson, Emergency Medicine RegistrarHannah is an Emergency Medicine Registrar in the East of England, but mostly wishes she was in the mountains. She is a qualified Mountain Leader, and aspirant International Mountain Leader, having been involved in expeditions with school groups for many years.

When she’s not working on her Diplomas in Mountain Medicine and Tropical Medicine, you can find Hannah involved in providing medical cover for multiple, often remote, outdoor sports events including ultra-marathons, open water swimming, triathlons and mountain biking. If that’s not enough, when she’s not in the mountains, Hannah will often be found at Silverstone where she works regularly as a motorsport doctor.



Luca Alfatti, Senior Paramedic, Expedition Leader and Remote Paramedic

Luca Alfatti, WEM facultyLuca is a HCPC registered Senior Paramedic Team Leader, who holds a BSc (Hons) in Paramedic Practice and is currently undertaking a masters in Advanced Practice.

In addition to this he is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Wilderness Expedition Medicine Faculty Member, PHTLS instructor, Mountain Leader and Water Rescue Technician. Luca is also a HEFAT instructor, delivering hostile environment training to journalists both in the UK, before deployment and in country, during deployment. He also works as a volunteer and fundraiser with Team Rubicon, which is a disaster response humanitarian organisation working both in the UK and overseas.

Luca had always dreamed of travelling EVERYWHERE and in 2005 he eventually drove his own Ford Probe from New York City to Panama City and has never looked back! Luca became an overland driver and mechanic and during this time worked and travelled in over 100 countries across 5 continents. In 2015, Luca was then looking for a new venture and qualified as a Paramedic, with a view to combining this with his love of travel. In the last 5 years he has lead expeditions in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Chad – to mention a few! Thanks to all those years working on the road his dedication was recognised, with him winning the Wanderlust Expedition Leader of the Year Award in 2012 and awarded a bursary, which he used to set up a sustainable, income generating, community project in Antigua, Guatemala to support women and their children who have been victims of domestic abuse. This project continues to run to this day.

Luca’s work has featured in magazines including Trek and Mountains and Adventure Travel, as well as National Geographic Traveller, which featured his world first crossing of the Dash e Lut Desert, in Iran, in 2015. He is currently writing a publication for Paramedic Insight narrating his experience as an expedition medic, for an unsupported winter snow shoe crossing of Spitzbergen.

Luca does not only lead all his trips but, has often designed the trips himself and acts as either expedition leader/medic or both.

Join us this
March in Keswick; learn with this incredibly experienced and knowledgeable team, and be part of something amazing. Book your place today!


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