(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

Christina Camilleri: Making holistic health care accessible

Christina Camilleri founded and operates Healthy Essentials Clinic

In this edition of Women in Business, women were interviewed who are employed in typically male-dominated industries or in a position that was historically filled by a man.

These women share their stories of being underrepresented in their field and leadership roles – in the hope that their perseverance and success become the guiding light for the next generation of women in business, so they continue to break glass ceilings and meet their goals.

Women in Business shows who the movers and the shakers are in Kelowna and that there is always a space to share stories of successful women.

Clinics, in general, usually only offer one type of health care but not one particular clinic in Lake Country. Healthy Essentials Clinic offers access to physiotherapists, occupational therapists, counsellors, a pediatrician and even registered dietitians.

Founder and director Christina Camilleri said the mission is to make holistic health care more accessible, instead of making people jump through hoops by keeping the care they need under silos.

Camilleri opened Healthy Essentials in June 2019 and has been thriving through the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the community’s support.

“It’s a young clinic, but the dream of opening such a clinic has been a long time in the making,” she said.

With 30 years of experience in counselling and dietetics, Camilleri has seen the effects of having people go from one place to another to get their various health needs met, which then inspired her to envision a facility that had everything patients needed.

The clinic is available for individuals as well as families who struggle with mental health, substance use and other health issues, including injuries and physical impairments.

Once they take a patient in, the various health care practitioners at the clinic then work together based on what the patient has expressed they need or what their doctors have prescribed for them.

Camilleri said her journey from being a dietitian and counsellor to owning and operating her own clinic has been an interesting one.

“As a woman in business in a traditionally male-dominated industry, you’re met with ambivalence. You’re also met with skepticism,” she said.

“There were a number of people who told me directly that they expected me to fail during my first two months. But I’m so glad we followed through with opening when we did and that we are now here, when mental health services are much needed due to the stresses of COVID-19.”

But despite the pushback and the hurdles, Camilleri said she thanks the community for its support throughout the clinic’s first year and for helping them not only survive COVID-19 but thrive.

“Just keep following your dreams. It may be difficult but it is worth the effort,” she said.

“Be curious, be authentic, be courageous and ask the hard questions and don’t be afraid to lead the way, as there are others who will help champion your cause.”

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

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