Local Health is Vancouver’s largest integrative health clinic. What sets up apart is that we are truly integrative. When invited, our 35 practitioners co-manage our patients’ health so that the patient has a team of providers around them that really knows them and their health concerns and can help to support and advocate for them.
Our values are to be inclusive and a community-focused clinic. We do this not only through our collaborative care but also through our full yoga/pilates/movement studio onsite and our diversity of wellness workshops and events.
We also offer on-site corporate wellness, where we go to local businesses and set up a mobile clinic for the day. We’ve seen wonderful results with this in the workplace. These results include improved employee well-being, decreased sick days, and decreases in short and long-term disability claims as we pro-activity support their health.
Tell us about yourself?
I grew up thinking I was going to be a teacher, and I did that for a while as an environmental educator with two degrees in environmental disciplines. However, working for a non-profit in Vancouver was challenging, so I started to teach yoga back in 2005 when yoga was really starting to gain traction in Vancouver. Pretty soon, teaching yoga became my passion. I opened a yoga studio and started teaching retreats locally and abroad. A yoga student introduced me to naturopathic medicine, and the first visit with an ND did more for me than years of trying to have support from my medical doctor. I applied for the program, was accepted and spent a year upgrading my previous degrees to pre-med equivalents before tackling the four-year medical school program. I have now been in practice for 11 years.
I still love to teach, and I teach students in the naturopathic program in our community clinic program within Local Health. Even the word “doctor” in Latin means “to teach”, and I feel like that is the most important aspect of my job.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Don’t try to do it all yourself. I always find it challenging to justify handing off a task I could do myself and not pay someone to do it. However, the times that I have done this have given me the space to do the stuff that I am even better at and reaffirmed that a person focused in that area of my business could thrive as well.
What problem does your business solve?
Healthcare has become a very challenging issue over the past few years. There is a shortage of family doctors, and even those with family doctors feel like they don’t know them. Essentially, our medical system is a “sick care” system. We are a “healthcare” system and focus on preventative and proactive care so that the burden on the Western healthcare system can be reduced and patients feel like they are empowered, educated, and supported when making the best choices for their optimal health.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
The corporate side of our business is inspired by seeing so many people, especially in the tech sector in Vancouver, who work very long hours, have high stress, and don’t have the energy or motivation to do the things that would bring them joy on the weekends and weeknights. By bringing wellness onsite to them, they can take a brief break in their day to chat with and/or receive treatment from one of our healthcare practitioners. That short visit makes very powerful changes in their daily lifestyles so that they can have a better work-life balance.
I had a patient within a corporate office setting who said to me that they knew there was a health clinic two doors down from their office, but it was the fact that I was right there, in their office, that they would come to see me! If the barrier to seeking support was within that one-minute walk to their neighbour, then I think we are doing the right thing in bringing onsite care to people!
What is your magic sauce?
We are truly integrative – our team consists of naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, clinical counsellors, holistic nutritionists, reiki, craniosacral, hypnotherapy, and more. We co-manage our patients’ cases and work collaboratively so that the patient has a team around them. We meet patients where they are and support them in achieving their goals.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
In 2023, we expanded from a three-room, 850 sq ft clinic into our new space, which is almost 6,000 sq ft, and had 14 treatment rooms plus a full-size movement studio. Over the next five years, we want to continue to expand our services and patient base, as well as become known for our onsite corporate wellness program. We also have plans to launch our Local Health Collective to be the Canadian resource for all things health and wellness related.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
City permitting was a huge challenge for us in opening the new clinic space. The process was anticipated to take six to eight months and ended up being 18 months in total.
How can people get involved?
We are accepting new patients at our clinic across all of our healthcare disciplines and encourage you to check out our website at www.localhealthclinic.ca.
We’d love to work with BC-based businesses to support their employees through onsite care, lunch and learns, workshops, and more. For more information or to connect about how we can support your team’s health and wellness, you can find information at www.localhealthco.com/corporate-wellness, call us at 604-568-7655, or reach out by email at [email protected]