We brought together a remarkable teaching faculty for our Expedition & Wilderness Medicine course that took place place in Slovenia this October 2019; 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 shared their extensive knowledge and skills to give a comprehensive understanding of how to lead and provide medical cover on expeditions.
Meet this highly specialised team who delivered an unrivalled syllabus of content:
Ben Watts, Paramedic & Expedition Leader
Ben has been a Paramedic since 2014 and is a Critical Care Paramedic on the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. With a particular interest in human factors both within pre-hospital medicine and the expedition arena, Ben’s interest in Expedition medicine has seen him take on medic roles on a number of remote expeditions in Canada.
He also has a penchant for wandering the great outdoors, as well as taking on big river expeditions and Whitewater paddling. so, when he’s not on a micro adventure or practicing medicine, you’ll find him teaching (another of his passions), especially trauma medicine and particularly when the training takes place outside!
Hannah Kittson, Emergency Medicine Registrar
Hannah 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.
Emma Figures, Medical Doctor
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!
Taryn Anderson, Clinical Nurse and Medic
Taryn is a qualified nurse who trained in Australia and spent the first part of her career working as 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 a TV production 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.
Roger Alcock, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Paediatric Emergency Medicine
Roger is a Scottish Patient Safety Programme Fellow who trained in the UK, New Zealand and Sweden. He has previously worked for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Helicopter Emergency Medical Service. (HEMS) and now currently instructs on Advanced Trauma, Medical and Paediatric Life Support in the UK and overseas. As an Educational Coordinator for Emergency Medicine at the Scottish Centre for Simulation and Clinical Human Factors he has designed, developed and delivered multiple high-fidelity simulation courses.
In 2012 and 2013 he trained and mentored clinicians in the first Malawian Emergency Department as part of a bilateral governmental aid programme and has also worked in collaboration with the World Health Organisation in Jordan and Erbil, where he helped to run the first multi-disciplinary and multi-agency Chemical Exposure and Trauma Care simulation training in Kurdistan.
In response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, in November 2014 he helped lead an NHS team within the first cohort of volunteers deployed by the UK Government and has also been deployed to the Caribbean post Hurricane Irma. Roger is an active member of the UK Emergency Medical Team supporting affected countries in the immediate aftermath of a humanitarian emergency.
Combining city centre living with his love of the outdoors – cycling, hill walking and long-distance running, medicine in austere environments is his passion and he has extensive expedition and ultra-marathon experience throughout Europe including Arctic Norway, Antarctica, Oceania, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Roger regularly teaches on Expedition and Wilderness Medicine courses in the UK and abroad.
Jamie Pattison, Medical Officer for Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team
Jamie grew up in the wilds of Northumberland, where this endless empty landscape instilled a sense of adventure and a desire to explore every corner of the world and to help others do the same. Believing that travel, endeavour and adventure are the best teachers in the world, Jamie has travelled extensively, but finds that his heart beats hardest in cold and mountainous environments; rather unsurprisingly for a Geordie. This passion for the unknown has taken him from the Deserts of North Africa to the Arctic Tundra of Greenland and Svalbard. An adventure athlete, climber, surfer, runner, mountaineer, he believes in challenging yourself and pushing your limits in every opportunity.
Jamie found his other great passion, pre-hospital care when he joined Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, where at the age of 23, he became the team’s youngest ever Medical Officer, and is now a qualified Rope rescue supervisor, water rescue first responder and MR medic, working hard to develop the remote medical care NNPMRT provide. Having completed his UK HEMS crew training, Jamie spends his spare time working for the North East Ambulance Service on the road.
In April 2016, Jamie took part in the Iceman Polar race in Greenland, billed as the ‘Toughest Arctic ski race in the world’. After 5 days of skiing, avoiding polar bears and a storm, Jamie and his team mates won the race, with a time of 22 hours and 23 minutes.
Burjor Langdana, Expedition Dentist
Burjor 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.
Claire Grogan, Emergency Medicine Doctor
Claire is an Emergency Medicine doctor with a passion for expedition and remote medicine. She has provided medical support for expeditions in many environments, but mostly enjoys working in cold & polar regions.
She enjoys spending time in the Arctic and has worked as Ship’s Doctor for a polar expedition cruise to 81 degrees North, has been part of expeditions in the Trollheim of North West Svalbard, and has crossed Finnmarksvidda & Hardangervidda plateau’s in Norway.
Claire is helping set up the Global Polar & Altitude Metabolic Research Registry at the Human Metabolic Research Unit and the University of Coventry and is a member of the Medical Advisory Group at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Earlier this year she was the doctor for the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019, an international scientific expedition that explored the area around the Larsen C ice shelf and Antarctic Peninsula.
Claire has just returned from a 583km ski crossing of the Greenland Icecap, the 2nd largest ice sheet in the world, which saw an expedition team of 5 cross from West to East in 25 days.
In 2015, whilst working at a high altitude rescue post in the Everest Region of Nepal, she was caught up in the 7.8M earthquake that struck the region and joined a relief team from Australian Himalayan Foundation to deliver Aid and carry out a reconnaissance and needs assessment in a remote mountainous region of the Lower Solukhumbu.
After completing her medical degree in London and a BSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine, Claire went on to complete the Diploma in the Medical Care of Catastrophes (DMCC), and the Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene.
John Apps, WEM Polar Medicine Course Director New Zealand
Hugely experienced, John is UK-trained GP, with extensive pre-hospital emergency care experience who moved to New Zealand where he initially worked in rural general practice before and now works in rural emergency departments, in between adventures.
He has worked ten summer seasons with Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) in Antarctica, taken on multiple Himalayan tours, he’s been the chief MO on the Everest and North Pole marathons, served with the military in Afghanistan and North Africa and he’s an active Search and Rescue (SAR) team member in New Zealand.
Well known to WEM, John has assisted on many WEM courses, notably our Everest Base Camp trek as well as heading up our New Zealand Polar Medicine course.
Join us in October 2020 as our next Expedition and Wilderness course returns to the stunning Lake Bohinj in Slovenia. Learn from an incredibly experienced and knowledgeable team, and be part of something amazing. Book your place today!
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