FREE WEM Academy Live Session #9: Expedition Medicine Careers Panel  

Find out how you can break into the incredibly rewarding world of Expedition Medicine Careers by hearing from our extreme panel of specialists who have done it all

Host: Mark Hannaford

Joined by: Emma Figures, Luca Alfatti and Taryn Anderson

When: Now available to watch on the WEM Academy site.

Length: 1 hours 30 mins

Ideal for: Health professionals of all grades, stages and training backgrounds

You’ll hear from WEM head honcho, Mark Hannaford, who is joined by Trainee GP Emma Figures, Paramedic Luca Alfatti and Nurse Taryn Anderson to cover your answers on expedition medicine careers, including:

  • What experience and qualifications do I need?
  • What kind of personal qualities are important for expedition work?
  • What resources are available for me to upskill?
  • How do I fit expeditions around my other clinical and family roles?
  • Where do I stand with medical indemnity?
  • How will this pandemic change the expedition and travel landscape?

Here’s why these maverick medic panellists are worth listening to…

Panellist Bio’s (Medic’s like you – so why not you too?)

Emma Figures – Trainee GP & Expedition Medic

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!


Luca Alfatti – Paramedic & Expedition Medic

Luca is a HCPC registered Paramedic, who currently holds a Diploma in Paramedic Practice and is hoping to complete his BSc by the end of 2017. When in the UK, which admittedly it is not often, Luca works as a Paramedic in the North West and South West of England.

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.

Luca 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 he 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 2 years Luca has gone on to lead expeditions in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Chad just 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. Luca then used this 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 like ‘Trek and Mountains’ and ‘Adventure Travel’. His world first crossing of the Dash e Lut Desert, in Iran, in 2015 was featured in the National Geographic Traveller. Luca is also currently writing a publication for ‘Paramedic Insight’ narrating his experience as an expedition medic, for an unsupported winter snowshoe 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.


Taryn Anderson – Nurse & Expedition Medic

Taryn is a qualified nurse who trained in Australia and spent the first part of her career working as a Nursing Officer in the Australian Army. During her time in the military, she completed her Master’s in Public Health and Tropical Medicine and began providing healthcare to in complex remote environments including Kenya, Papua New Guinea and remote Australia.

Moving to the UK in 2015, Taryn began to seek out further clinical challenges and responded to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa as both a Clinician and the Senior Nurse overseeing the Ebola Treatment Centre, which involved developing protocols for stringent infection prevention and control procedures and a comprehensive training program for staff.

During the battle for Mosul, Taryn worked with the World Health Organisation (WHO) as Clinical Coordinator over the course of 12 months helping to establish and run three field hospitals providing damage control resuscitation for trauma patients and two maternity hospitals to provide obstetric care to the people of Mosul.

Taryn has also responded as part of disaster relief efforts providing medical cover to teams deploying to Haiti, Nepal and Mozambique but most recently has been working for WEM providing medical support to the CBS Survivor series in the South Pacific. She continues to regularly return to work in Australia as a Remote Area Nurse providing medical support to some of the remotest areas of the country and is currently enjoying exploring the South of England after a recent move.

An edited version of this session can now be located on the WEM Academy site along with a mass of other valuable interviews, resources and lectures to inspire your expedition medicine career.