US-based healthcare specialist VIKAND has added two Medical Directors to strengthen its clinical leadership team to support its growing client base.
Dr Tanya Engelbrecht (pictured) has been promoted from her fleet doctor role to become VIKAND’s Medical Director for Viking Ocean, one of the company’s key clients.
She has over 20 years’ experience as a medical doctor in community, public and private health institutes where she has consistently enhanced staff performance and productivity. Dr Engelbrecht also has a proven track record of fostering optimum operations and process improvements by restructuring and implementing healthcare policies.
She joined VIKAND in 2018 as a cruise ship doctor and was promoted to fleet doctor in 2022, where she was responsible for providing quality assurance for the on board medical teams.
Her new responsibilities as Medical Director will be to support the clinical healthcare services provided by VIKAND’s on board medical teams to Viking’s crews and passengers.
In addition, Dr Thomas Gionis has brought a wealth of experience to his role as Medical Director for VIKAND’s US flagged client vessels and some of the US based operators.
Dr Gionis is an MD-JD-MPH (Physician – Attorney – Public Health Specialist). He is a fully trained cardiovascular surgeon who completed his emergency medicine research fellowship at Harvard-MGH, where he lectured for over a decade in advanced trauma life support.
He is also certified by the American Board of Quality Assurance & Utilisation Review Physicians and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Healthcare Quality and the American College of Forensic Examiners and has been practising medicine for 47 years – 37 of which were in the Emergency Department.
Prior to joining VIKAND, he worked as senior physician for Viking Cruise Lines.
His key responsibilities will be to provide clinical support to VIKAND’s US-flagged client vessels, US based clients and operational support to the shipboard medical operations teams.
Dr Gionis will also be reviewing and implementing national medical requirements to ensure compliance, supporting client engagement from a clinical aspect, and continued quality assurance for the medical services provided by VIKAND.
They have joined VIKAND’s growing team of Medical Directors under the leadership of Chief Medical Officer, Dr Bill Heymann.
“Having Tom and Tanya join our leadership team of medical practitioners will enhance the care and clinical support we can offer our clients. Their proven management credentials as well as their clinical experience working in the maritime industry will be invaluable,” Dr Heymann said.
Dr Karl Bergsten, VIKAND’s Associate Chief Medical Officer, added: “I would like to welcome Tom to the team and congratulate Tanya on her promotion. Tom is an outstanding physician whose organisational and strategic planning skills will help develop and improve VIKAND’s medical approach to our growing US market.
“Tanya has demonstrated that she can inspire her staff to provide outstanding patient care while her in-depth knowledge of healthcare policies and procedures will prove invaluable in her new role.
“These new appointments will mean that our on board medical professionals will have two more trusted and respected Medical Directors to help mentor and guide them in all aspects of their working lives.” he said.
VIKAND has also partnered with Maritime Holdings Group (MHG) to provide medical services to Japan Grace, operator of Peace Boat cruises on board ‘Pacific World’.
Under the agreement, VIKAND will provide global healthcare support and medical guidance to the doctors and nurses on board the vessel. VIKAND also setup and organised the on board medical centre and is involved in reviewing crew pre-employment medical examinations, calibrating biomedical equipment, conducting a medical audit, checking and supplying formulary for crew and vetting on board medical staff.
“Working with MHG on this project has been a great experience and we support Peace Boat’s ethical approach to cruising, which gives passengers a more meaningful understanding of the countries they visit,” said Peter Hult, VIKAND CEO.
“I’m also pleased to further expand our presence in the Asian market by partnering with Japan Grace. The ‘Pacific World’ is the largest ship in Peace Boat’s 40-year history, and we are honoured to provide her crew with ongoing medical advice and support.”
“Choosing the right medical partner was important for the ongoing success of Peace Boat,” said Yoko Izutsu, Japan Grace’s Managing Director.
“VIKAND has extremely knowledgeable professional teams who all have seafaring experience, so they understand the unique issues around medical services at sea.
“We are confident that the policies and procedures they have implemented will ensure smooth operation of our on board medical facility. VIKAND’s global experience was critical in our decision to partner with them, as they understand the diverse range of health issues that can affect different people in destinations worldwide,” he said.