There is a gem of a medical centre right in the heart of The Village. The Church Wellesley Health Centre has everything you need, from a walk-in medical clinic, to an array of medical specialists, and so much more. A welcoming place with smiling staff, this clinic welcomes families, newcomers to Canada, LGBT, homeless, men, women, and Trans, and they provide an elevator for those with disabilities.

Karen Chiasson, one of the administration staff and managers took us on a tour.

Karen: Church Wellesley Health Centre took over  from the previous clinic that occupied the space in August 2014.  The vision of the clinic is to be able to provide a multiple level of health and medical services from family physicians that includes lab services, walk-in clinic, optometry, dental, chiropractic, STI testing, gynecology, and allergy specialists. We also now have a hypnotherapy for smoking cessation, weight loss, and fears, and a neutralist who comes in for consultation, so along with the health services we are making sure we also provide holistic services.

Do western medicine and eastern holistic medicine mix well together?

They’re starting to. The newer doctors are more in tune with alternative ways to stay healthy. One of our doctors in particular, Dr. Tisher, is a medically trained physician, but also has a big interest in eastern health applications and philosophies.

 How is the overall vision for the clinic coming along?

Great. We’re seeing more patients, and the services are growing under this one roof. We now have three components for medical – the Walk-In Clinic, and we have two sets of family doctors, one is primary for HIV, and the other specializes specifically in Transgender patients. We’re working on adding FibroScan and rapid HIV testing, so we will be doing some crowd funding campaigns, since the provincial government does not pay for that.

It sounds to me like a great place to care for one’s health.

Karen: When patients come here we hope it’s a positive experience all around, we’re LGBTQ friendly, and everyone is welcoming here. We then went on a tour of the clinic and stopped by different offices and doctors. First we visited with Mariga Kondic one of the always smiling receptionists team at CWHC.

Mariga: I have been here over a year, and I love it here.  People don’t want to see a doctor when they are sick as it’s not a pleasant experience, but we make sure they are taken care of and that they feel really good.

From there we went to visit with Chiropractic Clinic:

Sohil Shafiei: I am the clinic’s chiropractor and also the clinical director, so I essentially direct all rehabilitation services to the appropriate provider, whether it be massage therapy, physiotherapy, sports injury, foot-care, acupuncture, and of course chiropractic.

What’s your style of therapy Dr. Shafiei?

That’s a good question. Our style is very integrated and collaborative. We are lucky to be in a medical setting that allows us to have access to various disciplines in health care. So it’s a one stop shop for caring for one’s health. The feedback we get from patients is that it is great for them, with great continuity of care.  We’re doing our best to look after our patients.

Who’s your ideal patient?

Someone who has a preventative mind set, a proactive mind set, not somebody who is necessarily with a treatment based mind set.  You will get that sort of patient who would come only when they are in pain, but I like to promote good health, be it staying healthy, watching ones weight, exercising, and such. It is the most effective and also the most cost effective approach, and studies have shown that puts a much less burden on the health system.

We then stopped by Dr. Alex Klein’s office:

I am  aGP, but our group of doctors in this part of the clinic have been treating HIV patients from the beginning, so we care for a lot of HIV patients and at risk individuals. We’re now adding more specialists so we can provide a one stop shop.

I am hearing the phrase “one stop shop” a lot here today?

We are trying to make it convenient for patients, that’s the ultimate goal. That helps the patient so they don’t have to run from one building to another or from one part of the city to another. We provide all services short of having to go a hospital. I try personally to keep you healthy all around so you don’t have to go to a hospital.

A few days later a dear friend of mine is telling me about his GP who he has been with for a couple of decades and how much he trusts him, which just so happens to be Alex Kline.

Next on my tour is the pharmacy. For even further convenience Church Wellesley Medical Centre has their own pharmacy on location.

We chat with Staff Pharmacist Harvinder Dhunna: I have been here since the beginning, first with the previous clinic that was in this space, and now with Church Wellesley Medical Centre. We offer all the typical services that a retail pharmacy would offer, but we have a bit more knowledge of HIV medication, and we always make sure we carry stock. We also provide refills, reminders, and delivery anywhere in Canada. We even delivered internationally when one of our patients needed their meds. It’s all about customer service and compassion and being able to give each patient our full attention

Leaving the pharmacy I walk over across the main area to the optometrist, where I am warmly greeted by Dana Manoli the receptionist, who also does fittings for lenses and frames and adjustments, and helps as well with quick pre-tests before the patient has to do an eye examination.

Dana: We have three optometrists on staff here, the Head Optometrist and one of the co-owners of the clinic is Fanny Szutu, and we also have a student optician who helps around here. We offer full vision and ocular exam, prescription, and full spectacle dispensary including designer eye wear available at great prices better than you would find in most places. For lenses we have a lot of samples so we make sure people are fitted with the right one, so they are comfortable all day. We are a fully equipped optometrist. We are a local business so it’s all about knowing our patients and making sure everything is perfect and everything fits perfectly. It’s sort of like buying a suit, as it’s always best to buy one tailored to you rather than ready to wear.

Before we completed our visit I wanted to hear from two more doctors.

Dr. Monica Agarwal: I am a family physician and I am part of the Walk-in-Clinic, I have been here since January and my specialty is anything related to family medicine, but I like to put extra effort into women’s health issues. I like to encourage regular screening for women, and just really paying attention to health. We have a doctor at the clinic who offers prenatal care. The clinic is really great, and there is a lot that we offer under one roof I am very proud of this place.

Dr. Gerson Mobo: I am a family physician and I do primary care HIV. I think we are creating a mini hospital here, with a large number of great colleagues and specialists all working together to care for our patients and the community’s health.

I found my visit to Church Wellesley Health Centre to be very informative. Have a look at my walk around the Centre and check out this video clip from the Dentistry Department.

Church & Wellesley Health Centre is located at 491 Church St., Suite 200 – 2nd Floor


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