About the Australasian Wilderness & Expedition Medicine Society

Executive Committee

Mr Kerryn Wratt

AWEMS President

GradDipEmerHlth (MP), B.ParamedicStudies, DipAmbParaStudies, B.Sci(Zool)

Dr Kasia Grela

AWEMS Vice President


Kerryn's primary work is an Intensive Care Paramedic currently based in the remote North Eastern town of Omeo, Victoria, Australia, where he is responsible for ambulance services covering approximately 6500 square kilometres of high country between Mount Hotham and the Snowy River. Kerryn is a member of Ambulance Victoria’s wilderness response instructor team and a volunteer with Alpine Search and Rescue Victoria.

In 2012 he received a scholarship from the Emergency Services Foundation (ESF) to investigate ambulance based wilderness response systems internationally. This scholarship contributed to the establishment of a formal paramedic wilderness response system in Victoria.

Kerryn has also established his own company, RescueMED which specialises in providing training and consultancy in the field of wilderness medicine.

Kerryn is passionate about developing wilderness medicine throughout Australasia and privileged to be leading the AWEMS team.

Kasia is a specialist anaesthetist practicing in rural Victoria. She also works as an expedition doctor, teaches Basic and Advanced Wilderness Life Support and is a trainer on various wilderness and expedition medicine courses both in Australia and internationally.

Kasia is a founding member of the Australasian Wilderness and Expedition Medicine Society and Medical Director and Medical Advisor to several volunteer medic placement and trekking companies.

She is a Wilderness Medicine Society member and is currently completing a Diploma of Mountain Medicine and Fellowship of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine.

Mr Duncan Maughan

AWEMS Secretary

B.App.Sci, MA, BN, GradCertNur(CardC), CCRN, MACN

Dr Rowena Christiansen

AWEMS Treasurer

MBBS, MEmergHealth, MBA, BA Hons, LLB, DCH, ACCAM, GradCertSpaceStudies, AsFAsMA

Duncan is a Remote Area Nurse and Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician. With a background in fire and emergency management, Duncan came to the healthcare area by way of wilderness first aid courses.

An enthusiastic walker and skier Duncan has explored many areas in Australia and overseas by way of human powered travel.

A member of Alpine Search and Rescue he is also a volunteer ski patroller. In addition, he holds qualifications in Critical Care Nursing and radio communications.

Dr. Rowena Christiansen is a medical educator in the Melbourne Medical School, and also works as a pre-hospital emergency doctor and life support instructor. She has undertaken post-graduate training in emergency medicine and critical care, women and children’s health, aviation medicine and space studies, disaster health, and emergency management. Rowena pursues special interests in aerospace medicine, extreme environments and wilderness medicine.

She is currently the Chair of the Australian Ski Patrol Association Medical Advisory Committee and sits on the Australian Resuscitation Council and the Board of Directors for Mars Society Australia and is Chair of the Associate Fellows Group of the Aerospace Medical Association. Rowena is currently undertaking research related to expeditionary medicine and resuscitation science, and studying towards a Diploma in Aviation Medicine. Her career trajectory prior to entering medicine was as a lawyer and business person.

Committee Members

Dr Brenton Systermans

AWEMS Committee Member

Ms Olivia Gregory

AWEMS Committee Member

Dr Brenton Systermans is an emergency medicine registrar with an interest in working in austere and remote environments.

He has had a varied career that has led him to work in almost every state of Australia as well as New Zealand, Ireland, Nepal and China. He has current positions with University Hospital Geelong, the Royal Australian Army, the University of Tasmania, World Extreme Medicine and the Himalayan Rescue Association.

Brent has led expeditions in Europe, Africa and the Himalaya. Brent is a keen mountaineer, skier, runner and cyclist. His career highlight (so far) has been volunteering as the Everest ER physician for the 2018 Everest climbing season. He is a keen teacher and an advocate for indigenous and developing world healthcare.

Olivia holds a Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic) degree and a certificate in Advanced Wilderness Life Support. Olivia is a founding member of the Australasian Wilderness and Expedition Medicine Society and has a passion for wilderness first aid.

Olivia works as a first aid and rescue simulation trainer in Australia and has volunteered within hospital emergency departments and within the Victorian State Emergency Service. Olivia has spent time Volunteering in Nepal in a pop up medical clinic as part of the Wild Medic Project and is excited for the future of wilderness medicine in Australasia.

Mr Thomas Orchard

AWEMS Committee Member

Dr Sophie Wallace

AWEMS Committee Member

Thomas is passionate about prehospital care with a particular focus on wilderness, remote area, austere environment and military medicine.

He is a Paramedic with Ambulance Victoria and very keen to see the field of paramedicine become a modern, progressive and professional workplace in Victoria and nationally.

Sophie is an emergency physician based at the Royal Perth Hospital (a tertiary trauma centre) in Western Australia. She also provides a regular outreach service to the remote Pilbara region, and has spent time working for the toxicology service, covering poisons, snakes and spiders across Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia.

Sophie has a special interest in high altitude and expedition medicine, and has been the high altitude doctor on multiple expeditions since 2009.  The majority of her trips have been in the Himalaya including 3 seasons working on Mt Everest, as well as 2 trips to Kilimanjaro and time in South America.  She is a keen climber herself and climbed her first mountain with her family at the age of 7.  Her last big summit was Mt Elbrus (Russia) with her Dad who was aged 71.

She is working towards the Fellowship of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine and has been a member of the society for a number of years.  She has an interest in disaster medicine and major incidents, and was integral in the medical response to the 2014 Everest avalanche.  Sophie is a MIMMS instructor and a member of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine.

Dr Dan Lack

AWEMS Committee Member

Dr Dan Lack is a GP registrar based in Launceston Tasmania with a number of diverse careers before finding medicine.

For ten years he responded to over 500 mountain rescue calls with the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, one of the busiest SAR teams in north America. He served terms as a mission leader, the training director and the assistant group leader. He also served as the secretary and chair of the Mountain Rescue Association - Rocky Mountain Region. He is currently the medical officer for the Ben Lomond Ski Patrol, a member of the Australian Ski Patrol Association Medical Advisory Committee and Volunteer Faculty for the University of Colorado School of Medicine Wilderness and Environmental Section. He is also an AWLS instructor having taught in Peru and Australia. He has had stints as a US Forest Service Volunteer Ranger, Surf Life Saver, and is currently a member of the Northern Tasmanian SES SAR team.

A 20 year career in climate change research, which took him in research ships and planes too far flung parts of the world, continues sporadically and Dan is developing research projects into climate change and human health.

Dan has kayaked, climbed, mountaineered and traveled his way to Peru, China, India, Alaska, Colorado, California, Canada, Europe and Africa.

Dan is passionate about combining all of his skill sets into the wilderness and expedition settings.


Dr Seth Collings Hawkins

North American Liaison

Dr. Seth Collings Hawkins, anthropologist, writer, and physician, holds dual board certification in emergency medicine and EMS. He currently serves as medical advisor for REI and NC Outward Bound School. He is executive editor of Wilderness Medicine Magazine, co-author of Vertical Aid: Essential Wilderness Medicine for Climbers, Trekkers, and Mountaineers,editor of the textbook Wilderness EMS, and founder of multiple wilderness medicine organizations. The first physician designated Master Fellow by both the Academy of Wilderness Medicine and the Adventurers & Explorers Guild, he was also named a Top Ten EMS Innovator of 2011 and 2018 by the Journal of EMS.