CEO & Founder
I established Boreal Wellness Centres after hearing too many stories from family friends about their struggle to access quality mental healthcare on a timely basis. As I learned more about the lack of options available, I saw how helpful it would be to have clinics that deliver appropriate mental health care without extended wait times. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work alongside a talented team that is passionate about helping people find a way through their mental health challenges.
Prior to founding Boreal Wellness Centres, I was an executive and board member assisting healthcare service organizations navigate their growth challenges. I advised and collaborated with the management teams of physician practices, pharmacies, behavioural health providers, and specialty medical equipment manufacturers. For one of these organizations, which today is among the fastest growing mental health treatment providers, I also served as the Chief Development Officer.
I grew up on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario, the son of a policeman and a nurse. I received an undergraduate degree from Brown University and a graduate degree in business from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Outside of Boreal Wellness Centres, I enjoy spending time with my family and volunteering with a non-profit that provides financial grants to people paralyzed while playiing sports or recreational activities.
Dr. Lindsey Thomas, R.Psych.
I am a psychologist registered to practice in British Columbia and Ontario. I completed my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at UBC in 2009, and I have been in private practice since that time. I am both clinically and forensically trained, and I divide my time between forensic and non-forensic settings, conducting assessments and providing treatment. However, since I joined the Boreal Wellness Centres leadership team and as my clinical management role expands, I am increasingly shifting my time away from forensic and private practice.
I am committed to using only assessment and therapy approaches that are well-supported by scientific research. That being said, because of my own experiences and upbringing, I learned at a young age to separate the behaviour from the person. This puts me in an unique position to offer clients the utmost in non-judgmental care. Regardless of what people have done or how their symptoms present, I am able to see the good in people - their strengths - and help them live more fulfilling lives and have healthier relationships and boundaries with others.
Over the years I have treated and assessed with compassion a wide range of difficulties in adults, including a variety of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, trauma, psychosis, substance misuse and problematic sexual behaviours and interests.
Dr. Ekin Blackwell, R.Psych.
I view therapy as a collaborative process of guided self-exploration. My role is to help clients unravel the factors that contribute to their distress, identify and remove barriers to change, and develop new ways of perceiving and coping with their situation. I am passionate about delivering high quality, evidence-based mental health services using the most effective resources available, while adapting my approach to a client's particular needs within a culturally sensitive framework.
I grew up partly in Turkey and partly in Halifax, NS. Initially trained as an Electrical Engineer, I worked in the high tech industry for several years before deciding to pursue a career in psychology, and have never looked back!
I completed my graduate training at UBC, where I specialized in the assessment and treatment of mood, anxiety and trauma-related disorders. During my residency, I also gained experience in the areas of behavioural medicine and rehabilitation psychology.
Over the years, I have worked extensively with adults coping with diverse physical and mental health challenges, including chronic pain and illness, post-concussive symptoms, workplace injuries and trauma. I am also proficient in conducting psychodiagnostic assessments. I have been a Registered Psychologist in the province of BC since 2011.
In addition to my clinical work at Boreal Wellness Centres, I offer Psychology Advisor services to WorkSafeBC and have a small private practice. I am fluent in English and Turkish, and inspired by a recent trip to France, have taken it upon myself to learn some French.
Michelle Okwundu, B.Sc.N., M.H.L.P.
Program Operations Manager / Quality Lead
As the Program Operations Manager and Quality Assurance Lead, I oversee the daily administrative operations of our various programs.
Before immigrating to Canada with my family, I was a registered nurse working at an occupational health clinic in Lagos Nigeria. In that role I provided leadership in a number of internal operations and community health awareness initiatives. Here in British Columbia, prior to joining Boreal Wellness, I was a Health Coach for Pain BC and was involved in various quality improvement projects within Healthcare. I also volunteer at The Richmond Family Place and loves to write in my spare time.
I hold a Bachelors of Nursing Science from the University of Ibadan, and a Masters of Health Leadership and Policy from the University of British Columbia.
Sarah Bedford, B.A.
Clinical Care Coordinator
I have extensive experience working as a Rehabilitation Support Worker for people with disabilities and as Mental Health Worker for people struggling with mental health and substance use. I have worked in various management roles for non-profit organizations throughout my career.
I received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UBC in 2015. In my spare time, I like working on art projects, playing the keyboard and going for nature walks.