Dr. Michael Turnbull, a clinical psychologist, delivers a speech by the entrance of his clinic, The Wellness Center, last month. The clinic now offers medical services in addition to psychological support. (Photo: CONOR KING DEVITT)

The Wellness Center Behavioral Health Clinic officially expanded its services last month to offer medical care in conjunction with its existing psychosocial support services.

Dr. Sharlon Lewis, who previously worked as a family doctor and weight management specialist at the Bougainvillea Clinic, joined The Wellness Center, which is housed in Building Number Six at the Tortola Pier Park.

Dr. Michael Turnbull, a clinical psychologist and the founder of TWC, said Dr. Lewis’s skill set fit well with his clinic’s overall theme. While she plans to help treat diseases and offer responsive care to patients, he explained, she’ll also place a lot of focus on the overall health of her clients.

“She has a significant passion for helping people live well, which is our motto here,” Dr. Turnbull said, adding, “I’m very, very proud of Dr. Lewis and her taking this step of faith in believing her dream and believing in herself, because I think she’s one of the best doctors I’ve ever met.”

TWC opened in 2016 and has since offered psychosocial support services to “several thousand families” in the Virgin Islands, according to the psychologist. Shortly after opening its doors, the clinic signed a memorandum of understanding with government’s Social Development Department to increase the availability of social services throughout the territory.

In addition to Dr. Turnbull, TWC also employs a full-time psychiatrist and a second part-time psychologist, and it is in the process of bringing another psychologist in from Australia, according to the founder.

New medical practice

On the medical side, the clinic hopes to serve a maximum of 10 clients per day.

“We want to make sure we have dedicated care,” Dr. Turnbull said. “We’re not trying to have a revolving door. Everyone who comes gets consummate, dedicated, customised care. You’ll be able to spend time with your doctor.”

A big focus will be on holistic health services like prevention and wellness checks as well as weight and lifestyle management — Dr. Lewis’s specialty, the psychologist added.

The business also plans to emphasise a “modern and flexible” delivery of such services, Dr. Turnbull explained. Patients will have access to their medical records through an online portal and will receive text message reminders before appointments.

Additionally, he hopes to bring on a paediatrician in the future.

“Our expansion of the medical facility is the extension of our entire brand,” Dr. Turnbull said. “We want people to live well.”

In the more than two years since he opened TWC, the psychologist noted that he’s seen some change in the way people view therapy and social services in the territory.

“There’s still some resistance of course,” he said. “But there are more and more families that are bringing their kids in earlier, not only to get behavioural health treatment but to get educational psychological testing.”