Christina Camilleri is described as “one of the best kept secrets of the Okanagan”, well-known by reputation amongst health professionals in the field of nutrition, disordered eating/eating disorders. Many colleagues in various health disciplines around the province speak highly of Christina’s professional contribution and expertise. With over 25 years of clinical nutrition and behavioral counseling experience, extensive training and teaching opportunities, Christina’s vast knowledge and leadership is evident in all she does.
Christina graduated in 1987 from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Applied Science, Honors in Applied Human Nutrition. In 1988 she attended her clinical dietetic internship at Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario. During her internship, she focused on electives that included disordered eating, sports nutrition and cardiology. In June 1988, Christina was hired as a clinical dietitian for the Western Counties Wing War Veterans at Parkwood Hospital in London, Ontario. In working closely with this patient population, it was evident to Christina how the trauma of war correlated strongly with the veterans’ quality of life. As a clinical dietitian, her focus was to manage symptoms of illness through therapeutic meal plans. However, this was only scratching the surface. How do you support someone in trauma to make the necessary dietary changes to improve wellness and quality of life if they really don’t care or feel they have anything to live for?
As a new graduate and someone who had her own life experience with trauma, Christina’s energy and passion to help others sustain a love of life no matter the tragedies or circumstances, prompted her continued education towards behavioral counseling. At Parkwood Hospital, Christina worked closely with the multidisciplinary team. This team consisted of medical doctors and pastoral care, recreational and horticultural therapy, and nutritional support for prevention of illness, disease management and early intervention of disease. This unique treatment approach transferred into her private practice at the Fitness Forum, a high performance fitness facility where she worked with elite athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and individuals suffering from disordered eating and eating disorders.
Sports Nutrition has always been one of Christina’s passions, following naturally from her own enthusiasm for many sports both competitive and recreational. Christina is dedicated to helping athletes become the best that they can be in their sport, and she has often been a pivotal member of an athlete’s support team. She has worked with major league baseball players, CFL football players, junior hockey players, elite ski racers, junior varsity basketball, volleyball, soccer, rugby players, triathletes and more. To be a part of any athletes’ journey is a privilege and honor. The combination of nutritional and behavioral counseling is essential for every individual who pursues the athletic dream!
In 1991, Christina relocated from Ontario to the Okanagan Valley where she used her unique nutritional, behavioral counseling and educational background to support the development of disordered eating programs in both Kelowna and Vernon. Christina became a strong advocate for client centered care and professional development of multidisciplinary teams. She worked tirelessly to ensure that clients and their families could stay closer to home during their treatment process. Liaison with the multidisciplinary hospital team was necessary in developing inpatient eating disorder protocols for youth on pediatrics and adults on psychiatry. Christina’s drive to remain current with best practices through varied educational opportunities, committees, conferences, literature searches, media interviews, international presentations, mentoring and training opportunities contributed to some of the best multidisciplinary outpatient programs in the province.
Since 1992, as founder of Healthy Essentials, Christina’s private practice has remained under the radar, receiving referrals by reputation and word of mouth. The flexibility of being a business owner has allowed Christina to enjoy the benefits of raising her family while fulfilling her desire to work in her specialized fields of practice both at her home office and in Vernon. Having recently resigned after 22 years as Coordinator of the CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) North Okanagan Eating Disorder Program, Christina will continue her leadership role in the community through Healthy Essentials Clinic. She will provide direct care for clients and families who seek her unique services, and she will continue to mentor, train, educate and consult with professionals on an outpatient basis. Christina looks forward to growing and building Healthy Essentials Clinic into a larger community of care providers who will help to make her dream of serving all people who desire health, wellness and personal excellence a reality!
For more information on Christina’s professional experience you can review Christina’s CV (curriculum vitae)