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.

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 7 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. 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.
Pharmacist

Having served many patients as a pharmacist in Cape Town, South Africa, Lieschen is passionate about building strong, lasting relationships with healthcare professionals, enabling them to provide the best care possible for their patients, wherever they’re located. She is ultimately driven by a desire to make a tangible difference in people’s lives, and works closely with Njord in engaging with patient, doctor, pharmacy and healthcare organisations around the world.

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.

Deirdre Cogan
Communications Manager

A scientist and communicator hailing from the Emerald Isle, Deirdre is passionate about awakening people’s curiosity and pushing boundaries in telling the human story behind science. Formerly a scientist with a PhD in Analytical Chemistry, she embarked on a career merging communication and science. She believes in using evidence based stories to have a fully engaged and informed society. With a desire to empower patients to make informed decisions, Deirdre spreads TheSocialMedwork’s message.

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.

Sandra Petrovic
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.

Emily English
Digital Marketing Manager

After obtaining a degree in Philosophy and Economics, Emily pursued the world of online marketing. Specialising in Search Engine Advertising and Search Engine Optimisation, she is responsible for TheSocialMedwork’s online presence, ensuring that our work and message can be easily discovered by doctors and patients and awareness is created. Emily moved from the UK to Amsterdam in 2015 and has never looked back.

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).

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. 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.
Pharmacist

Having served many patients as a pharmacist in Cape Town, South Africa, Lieschen is passionate about building strong, lasting relationships with healthcare professionals, enabling them to provide the best care possible for their patients, wherever they’re located. She is ultimately driven by a desire to make a tangible difference in people’s lives, and works closely with Njord in engaging with patient, doctor, pharmacy and healthcare organisations around the world.

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.

Deirdre Cogan
Communications Manager

A scientist and communicator hailing from the Emerald Isle, Deirdre is passionate about awakening people’s curiosity and pushing boundaries in telling the human story behind science. Formerly a scientist with a PhD in Analytical Chemistry, she embarked on a career merging communication and science. She believes in using evidence based stories to have a fully engaged and informed society. With a desire to empower patients to make informed decisions, Deirdre spreads TheSocialMedwork’s message.

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.

Sandra Petrovic
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.

Emily English
Digital Marketing Manager

After obtaining a degree in Philosophy and Economics, Emily pursued the world of online marketing. Specialising in Search Engine Advertising and Search Engine Optimisation, she is responsible for TheSocialMedwork’s online presence, ensuring that our work and message can be easily discovered by doctors and patients and awareness is created. Emily moved from the UK to Amsterdam in 2015 and has never looked back.

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).

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