Who We Are

Our Founders

Sjaak Vink

Sjaak aims to stimulate innovation towards a global healthcare system with the help of the internet, the latest technical advancements and big data. One of the founders and former CEO of myTomorrows, he is also involved in patient advocate groups such as the Abigail Alliance in Washington DC and Chicago based Cures Within Reach. Sjaak also initiated the Global Manifesto for Entrepreneurial Social Impact Change which was signed in Amsterdam in 2011 by 600 successful young entrepreneurs from all over the world to change their business into Social Impact Businesses. Sjaak is one the founders and CEO of TheSocialMedwork.

James Heywood

James is an influential speaker, visionary, scientist and big-data expert. He is one of the founders of Patients Like Me - the world's first and leading community on patient reported outcomes, as well as the Boston based ALS Therapy Development Institute. James also sits on the US TEDMED Advisory Board, the Roundtable for Value & Science-Driven Health Care, and the Advisory Committee USA Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC in Washington DC. James is one of the founders of TheSocialMedwork and sits on the Board as a representative of new science and big data.

Bernard Muller

Winner of the FD Gazelle Gold Business Award, Bernard is a successful multinational entrepreneur. After being diagnosed in 2010 with ALS/MND, Bernard became a world famous advocate for patient-centricity and a prize-winning drug developer. Co-founder of biotech company Treeway with fellow patients Garmt and Robbert-Jan, he helped initiate the world's largest genetic research project for ALS, Project MinE - supported by the famous Ice Bucket Challenge. Project MinE was recently successful in identifying the new gene NEK1, giving scientists an exciting new target for drug development on ALS/MND. Bernard is one of the founders of TheSocialMedwork.

Our Team

We're a small but growing team based in Amsterdam, made up of physicians, pharmacists, lawyers and professionals from 13 different nationalities! We're committed to the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki, the Global Health Declaration of Geneva and the International Code of Medical Ethics. Read more about us below.

Katrin Schepp LL.M.
Chief Operating Officer

Building a rock-solid base to scale something great is what Katrin is all about. Her legal and operational experience is complemented by her digital product development and entrepreneurial skills. Being an Attorney at Law, Katrin started as a classic IP lawyer for a few years, later working as a legal counsel in a big media enterprise, before moving steadily into business operations where she built and led her own business unit for digital product development. Structuring, organising, building and growing TheSocialMedwork enthuses Katrin, as does the opportunity to provide the most innovative treatments options to patients globally and doing something meaningful. As a qualified lawyer in Germany, Katrin also ensures that everything goes its legal way so that you get your treatment as quickly as possible. Should you have any legal questions or concerns, Katrin will be happy to answer them for you.

Njord Pattiasina M.Sc. MA
Global Access to Medicines Director

Njord has always been drawn to complex projects of social relevance. He has worked in 15 countries and 5 continents, from tackling issues concerning youths in big cities, rebuilding a conflict-stricken country, to improving hospitals and healthcare systems. With a background in business administration and international relations, Njord spent the last 6 years consulting for a leading Dutch firm, mainly supporting hospital boards and Ministries of Health in emerging markets. He proactively engages with patient, doctor, pharmacy and healthcare organisations about accessing the latest and most innovative overseas approved medicines worldwide.

Dr Jan de Witt MD
Medical Expert

Jan has over twenty years of experience as a medical director, chief medical officer and vice-president of medical affairs at well-reputed patient-centric companies like Quintiles, myTomorrows and Chiltern. As a physician, Jan believes that there are situations where patients should look for and consider new therapeutic options outside their obvious geographic scope. Jan enables these patients and their treating physicians to follow personalised treatment routes. He also supports our Access to Medicines team to identify the latest, most innovative therapeutics as soon as they've been approved.

Lieschen de Klerk B.Pharm.
Logistics Manager

Previously a pharmacist in her home country of South Africa, Lieschen ensures that the medicines arrive with patients safely and on time. You might find her interrogating a courier company about a package one phone call, or dealing with the customs department of a new country on the next. Lieschen loves putting her pharmacy skills to good use, and is quite possibly becoming the world’s number one expert in a very specialised area of knowledge: the safety and importation of medicines requirements for countries worldwide.


Karolina Ostapenko M.Pharm.
Access to Medicines Support Manager

Originally from Lithuania, Karolina also worked in Ireland before making The Netherlands her home. With a Master's degree in Pharmacy, her experience as both a pharmacist and pharmacy manager has taught her the importance of building strong business relationships with both customers and partners. Karolina is inspired and driven by the idea of helping people and making the world a better place, and is fluent in English, Lithuanian and Russian. She works closely with Njord and Marta to support inquiring patients and establish new business connections with potential partners.

Marta Enes M.Pharm.
Access to Medicines Support Manager

Directly from Portugal, Marta joins the team happy and energised to ensure a positive and helpful relationship between you and TheSocialMedwork. Her Master's degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences is an asset when it comes to helping patients successfully import medicines into their own country. Previously the partner of a successful startup, she possesses an unshakeable determination that will stop at nothing to help patients worldwide and works closely with Karolina and Njord.

Alex Angelakopoulos M.Sc.
Access to Medicines Support Manager

If you've sent us an email or online message requesting support, you probably received a response from Alex, our friendly Greek team member. After working as a hospital psychologist in Greece, Alex completed his Masters in Clinical Psychology in the Netherlands at Leiden University. He's always happy and ready to provide guidance and answer any questions you might have about medicines for specific diseases and accessibility.

Laura Manca M.Sc.
Products Portfolio Manager

Our in-house Italian, Laura initially studied physics in her home country before heading to Germany to learn about rehabilitation robotics for her Masters in Neuroscience. With a curious mind, an eagerness to learn and the urge to help, Laura keeps an eye on the most innovative up and coming medicines globally. As soon as a medicine has been approved, she evaluates and lists it on our website, ensuring that it's made available as quickly as possible.

Rachel Leung
Communications Manager

Drawing from a unique background in social work, the humanitarian sector and graphic design, Rachel is responsible for explaining TheSocialMedwork's ‘why, what and how'. Born in the UK and raised in Australia, Rachel has worked intensively and extensively with patients within a casework setting. She is passionate about clear, effective and creative cross-cultural communication so that patients can make an informed decision about their own lives.

James Counihan
Full Stack Developer

James is a web architect with two decades of experience who now specialises in optimised full-stack frameworks. Being interested in medical breakthroughs and having lost friends to disease, James is thrilled to have joined TSM. He is focused on making it accessible, fast, and mobile-friendly, and also creating new features to make it the most useful start page for patients and medics. His mission is to ensure that our website is as cutting-edge as our products.

Robin Bayley
Full Stack Developer

Our full-stack software developer from England, Robin makes everything just work. A veteran of campaigns for community NGOs, his focus on organisations with social impact led him fortunately to us. Building our systems outwards, he looks to improve access for our clients globally. You'll find him tinkering with the servers late at night trying to squeeze more speed out of our website (and draining the coffee machine dry).

Sandra Petrovic Dipl. Jurist
Finances and Office Manager

Hailing from Slovenia, Sandra previously worked as a tax advisor for an international accounting firm and ensures that all our finances and administration are in order and running smoothly. Sandra brings the Slavic hospitality to our team – cultivating a warm atmosphere in the office, she supports our team on a daily basis and also manages our human resources.

Brant Emery
Senior Communications Manager

Brant’s personal goal is to ensure TheSocialMedwork reaches and engages as many people as possible. Achieving this Brant applies a nearly two decades of experience with international organizations, including in medical and healthcare publishing and communications. Directly prior to joining TheSocialMedwork, for several years he helped startups develop clearer strategic communications. In partnership with the communications team, Brant drives forward awareness of TheSocialMedwork’s goal of empowering patients and helping doctors across the world understand how TheSocialMedwork can really benefit their patients and deepen physician-patient dialogue and care.

Lynsey Gray
Digital Marketing Manager

A native Scot, born in Edinburgh, Lynsey brings her creative talent, analytical skills and unique experience to TheSocialMedwork. Graduating from Glasgow University with a degree in Politics, Lynsey has extensive experience in health and public sector services having worked with the NHS, Food Standards Scotland and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations before joining TheSocialMedwork. Thriving on change, Lynsey loves the varied developments of the digital landscape and will use her skills to help more patients find and use our service more easily. In today’s digital-first world, we strive to ensure as many people, patients and physicians, as possible can discover TheSocialMedwork and get the often-vital help in accessing the best new approved medicines.

Sera Gulser
Sourcing Manager

Joining TheSocialMedwork with several years of experience working for international pharmaceutical companies, Sera does a vital job in ensuring that we continue to source our medicines for the best available prices, from the best sources globally. She continually stays abreast of developments and works closely with our Products Portfolio Manager Laura, and our Logistics Manager Lieschen, to ensure the fastest possible delivery timelines for our patients. Of Turkish-Armenian origin, she is also adding Armenian and Turkish to our broad language portfolio! Her passion and reason for joining TheSocialMedwork is the desire to see access to medicines made more equal, especially for countries like Turkey.



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Registered with the Dutch Ministry of Health as an independent intermediary, Registration number 6730 BEM
Registered as a USA Delaware LLC.



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DISCLAIMER: The Services of TheSocialMedwork do not replace a physician-patient relationship and are not intended as medical advice. TheSocialMedwork provides patients and physicians with existing treatment options abroad and creates access to these options after the patient and physician have made a professional decision. Privacy Policy / Terms and Conditions
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