Our Practitioners

Christine Camilleri
Founder & Director

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)

Heather Derry BSc, MD, FRCPC
Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist

Graduated from McMaster University in 2006 in Medicine and pursued Psychiatry residency training at the University of Toronto, graduating in 2011. Heather has been working
in Kelowna, BC from 2011 to present. Heather specializes in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Eating Disorders. When asked why she wants to work for Healthy Essentials Clinic Heather says, “I love to be part of a multidisciplinary team and look forward to incorporating holistic
modalities to provide comprehensive care to clients and families”. 

Hobbies: Skiing

Jennifer Podovennikoff,BSc. RD, IOC Dip. Sport Nutr. Clinical Dietitian & Sport Dietitian

Jennifer has been working as a dietitian since November 2005 working in a variety of settings such as: long term care, private practice, sports nutrition, eating disorder center, acute care hospital setting with adults, acute care hospital setting in pediatrics and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), nutrition tours at the grocery store, group nutrition education session. Jennifer specializes in: inpatient and outpatient pediatric care, neonatal intensive care, youth and adult eating disorders. When asked why she wants to work for Healthy Essentials Clinic Jennifer say: ” I have a strong desire to help those struggling with mental health issues – particularly eating disorder. The outpatient team approach from HEC will fill the gap in healthcare for those requiring more intensive outpatient therapy”.

Hobbies: Raising my 7 month old baby girl, running, spending time in the kitchen

Linda Brattinga, B.Ed, Masters of Education in Psychology and Counselling
HEC Counselor

Linda grew up and graduated in Devon, Alberta. She moved to BC right after graduation and settled in Richmond initially before moving to Lake Country in 1992, and now calls this home.

Linda Graduated with her Counselling Degree in 2016 and has been working in the field since, specializing in teens / adolescents, women of all ages (50+), job related stress and fatigue, relationship issues and families of special need children.

When asked why she wants to work for Healthy Essentials Clinic Linda says: “I believe in what the clinic stands for, a holistic approach to healing. I feel I have a great deal to offer the clinic and look forward to being a part of a team that will make a difference when it comes to mental illness”.

Hobbies: Camping and hiking

JB Cole RSW, MSW
HEC Counselor

Originally from Boulder Colorado, but has been living in Kelowna since 2007. J.B. began as a refugee resettlement worker in Seattle working with HIV positive refugees in resettlement and medical support. J.B. later joined a rural Youth and Family Service agency where he was the Prevention Program Manager, working to provide a variety of non-clinical services to support children/teens and parents. J.B. is a parent educator and later provided clinical services to children/families. In Kelowna J.B. was with the School of Social Work providing student support in field education. For the past 8 years he has facilitated a Men In Change group for Kelowna Family Center.


J.B. specializes in Play therapy, mindfulness approach to anxiety, cognitive behavior therapy and groups. I work with a lot of boys and men who are experiencing the transition of divorce and separation.

When asked why he wants to work for HEC J.B. said : “ I am drawn to the team approach to mental health challenges. Working in isolation can lead to both burn-out, but also is not supportive of the social/environmental being we are. I embrace a systems approach or bio/psycho/social response to many challenges faced today”.

Hobbies: Outdoors enthusiast, and enjoy snowboarding, mountain biking , cycling and camping. Good,healthy, local and sustainable food is an interest.

Shannon Warner BSW, MSW, RSW
Registered Social Work Clinician

HEC Counselor

Shannon has been working in the field for 15 years. Shannon specializes in trauma-informed, culturally safe and spiritually sensitive and supportive counselling for individuals, families and groups working through mild – moderate mental health challenges including depression, anxiety, grief and loss (including pregnancy loss) intra-personal distress and family violence.

When asked why she wants to work with HEC, Shannon says: “I wholeheartedly share the values of courage, trust, respect and integrity, and I believe in the significance of interdisciplinary collaboration to ensure competent, comprehensive and compassionate family and client-centered care”.

Hobbies: I love to work in my garden, play with my grand-kids and enjoy healthy activities and food!

Kristin Edstrom, RCC,  Advanced EFFT , MOC , Maudsley Trained Therapist, HEC Counselor

Born and raised in Kelowna, Kristin graduated in 2012 with a Masters in Counselling from Gonzaga University and has been practicing as a therapist ever since. She specializes in eating disorders as well as helping individuals make sense of their lives by integrating their past experiences and history into an understanding of their present circumstances using many modalities. Kristin also loves coaching parents and caregivers who have loved ones experiencing challenges in their lives.

Why work with HEC? “ I love that HEC is a team approach. Every person has many components that make them whole, it is my belief that a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach is best to encourage individuals to live wholehearted lives of purpose and meaning.”

Hobbies: Two years ago Kristin  joined a swim club in Kelowna and I has swam in the Swim Across the Lake three times since 2017. She also loves biking throughout various parts of the world with her husband and friends.

Amber Whittemore, RD, BSN, MHSc(c)
Registered Clinical Dietitian

Originally from Kelowna BC, but completed her schooling outside of the province she loves to travel and wanted to see the country while remaining in school. With an undergraduate degree from Wolfville, Nova Scotia and a Masters in Toronto, Ontario.
Amber is a newly graduated clinical dietitian, and has been passionate about health, nutrition, and wellness for as long as she can remember. Specializing in eating disorders and mental health, and working with these populations is what first drew her into health care and launched her dietetics journey.
Why work for HEC?: “Working as part of a multidisciplinary team, such as the one at Healthy Essentials, that is dedicated to the health and well-being of others, has always been my vision. So, having the opportunity to work along side such an amazingly dedicated team to improve the quality of life of our clients, is an absolute dream come true!”

Hobbies: When I am not at work you can probably find me in the mountains, hiking with my dog Benji!

Jen Taubensee
Occupational Therapist

Jen Taubensee is an occupational therapist who is inspired by the love, dedication, expertise, and resiliency of families facing obstacles. She believes that when engaging in meaningful activities (occupations) we find presence, acceptance, and growth, as well as the opportunity to build skills and connect with others. She helps families set just right challenges to achieve success in activities that matter to them! 

Hobbies: In her free time Jen likes to read research and books, mountain bike, open water swim, craft/paint, podcast, and makes time to play outside.

Jennifer Andrews MScPT, BKIN(Hons), Physiotherapist

Originally from Newfoundland, Jennifer has been working for over a decade as a physiotherapist and has worked in several locations and settings across Canada as well as Australia. She has taken courses in rehabilitative pilates with the APPI, has her Level 1 certification with the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada and has additional training in intramuscular and trigger point dry needling. Jennifer is also a certified sports first responder and works with various sports teams/events throughout the year.

Hobbies: Running, skiing, anything outdoors

Adriana Santillan Certified Pilates Practitioner, Group Fitness Instructor and Master Degree in Administration

Originally from Mexico, specifically from Mazatlan, but has found herself settled in the beautiful Okanagan. Adriana has worked in the fitness industry since 2012. She specializes in Therapeutic Pilates, Reformer and Mat Pilates for small and large groups. 

Why work for HEC: “I share HEC Values.  I believe everyone deserves JOY for life. HEC contributes with all its resources to help clients enjoy life.” 

Hobbies: Fitness!