Our People

Who we are

Meet the people behind your placement

Founder
&Director

Dave Brown

Dave’s passion for combining responsible travel with useful work began at 18, when he spent a year volunteering in South Africa.

After graduating from the University of Southampton with a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics, he began a career in the volunteer and travel sector that has involved working for extended periods throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Between 2002 and 2004, Dave spearheaded a flagship program in Ghana for a major gap year volunteer organisation, later progressing to Operations Director at one of the UK’s leading ethical adventure travel companies.

Based in Newcastle, Dave continues to play a leading role in all Gap Medics programmes. In particular, he negotiates all of our hospital partnership agreements, trains our Programme Managers, and monitors the quality of our service.

Operations
Director:Africa

Baptista Filipatali

Baptista (or ‘Baps’ as he is affectionately known) has worked for Gap Medics since the beginning. Currently in charge of our Tanzanian programmes—Iringa, Morogoro and Kilimanjaro—Baptista is somewhat of a multi-tasking pro.

When he’s not meeting new students, he is managing programme partnerships, training staff, and making sure in-country operations are running like clockwork. Always smiling, Baptista is hugely respected in the hospitals and has overseen thousands of student placements.

When he is not at work, he enjoys hitting the shops, watching football and following politics. He also likes getting to know new people and exploring new destinations.

You will see Baptista around on your placement as he regularly visits the Gap Medics houses. He is always happy to help with any problems you may have.

SENIOR
Operations
Manager:
Europe,Asia,&Caribbean

Emma Smith

For our Operations Manager Emma, no two days are the same… and that’s the way she likes it!

Emma spends majority of her time in the field establishing hospital partnerships, launching new programmes and training staff.

When she is not travelling the world, Emma is keeping an eye out for her next diving spot (the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is her current favourite). You can also find her hanging out with her two dogs, Ruby and Jake.

P.A
to
the
Director

Rachel Plummer

Dave leads Gap Medics... Rachel makes it happen! She is the go-to person for all our department leaders, ensuring Dave's vision and commitment to quality remain at the heart of all our operations.

Rachel is also head of our global human resources, project manager for the development of our fantastic online portal for students and the everything-fixer around our Head Office in the north of England. That's as well as her more traditional P.A. role documenting meetings, organising Dave's diary, travel and involvement in our overseas programmes, and - just occasionally - even making a great coffee!

Much of Rachel's chat revolves around her overgrown kitten, Louis. To understand this passion, you really have to see the number of photos on her iPhone...

Country Teams

Team Pula

Our team in Pula is ready and raring to provide you with a one-of-a-kind placement experience! From making sure you get to the house safely to teaching you some handy Croatian lingo, they will have you immersed in Mediterranean life in no time! They are also an enthusiastic and friendly bunch so be sure to have a chat with them if you have any questions or need any support during your placement.

Team Phitsanulok

When it comes to a placement in Phitsanulok, you’re considered family as soon as you step off the plane! Warm, experienced and enthusiastic, the team will support you with everything you need - from making sure you’re happy and fed by the talented in-house chef to accompanying you to the hospital on your first day. They’re also completely happy to show you around the area and recommend a variety of fun and culturally rich activities. We’re pretty sure by the time you leave Phitsanulok, you’ll feel like a local!

Team Warsaw

Ready to teach you everything you need to know about the vibrant Polish capital is Team Warsaw! Led by chirpy Programme Manager Agata Szostek, the team will show you how to cook traditional Polish food, accompany you to the hospital on the first day and give you advice on where to grab the best hot chocolate. Also, as Warsaw is chock-a-block full of fun things to do, the team is always on hand to help you organise your next adventure!

Team La Romana

Whether you’re joining us in one of our Dominican partner hospitals or at a pop-up community health clinic, you couldn’t be in better hands. Our La Romana Programme Manager, Chantal Gahongayire, and her fabulous team are dedicated to making your experience magical. Whether they’re helping you get to and from your hospital placement or touch up on your Spanish, you’re sure to have an amazing time learning all about your future health profession and life in the Dominican Republic!

Student Experience Team

TEAM
LEADER

Tom Barlow

Tom manages our lovely student experience team in addition to liaising with programme managers and overseas staff to ensure every student has the best possible experience.

When Tom's not helping students, you can find him on the football field or listening to rock music from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Croatia

Alex Mahan

From chatting to students about their upcoming placement to liaising with overseas staff, Alex knows all when it comes to our Iringa and Pula programmes.

Interestingly enough, Alex came to us after working as a cabin crew member for British Airways and holds a degree in English language.

Thailand
&Poland

Melissa Kerr

With Melissa’s help, you’ll waltz through your pre-departure checklist and be ready to take off in no time. After all, she is the resident expert on our Kilimanjaro and Phitsanulok programmes.

When she’s not hard at work organizing your placement, Melissa dances through life – making sure to stop along the way for plentiful visits to the ballet.

Dominican
Republic

Katie McCornish

If you’re hoping to plan a weekend kayaking trip or safari excursion, you couldn’t be in better hands – Katie is no stranger to adventure. Plus, she knows everything there is to know about our programmes in Krakow, Warsaw and Morogoro.

When she’s not working behind the scenes to make your trip the adventure of a lifetime, she’s busy planning for her own. Katie loves to travel, and has even spent three years living in France.

Friendly Faces From Behind The Scenes