A new clinic in Birds Hill is a family affair.
Dr. Steve Michaluk opened up the Toothology Oral Health Clinic at 3127 Birds Hill Road on June 1 in the former Hilltop Restaurant site.
In addition to the dental clinic, Michaluk’s wife, Sarah, plans to open up her Advanced Wound Care and Foot Care Clinic in the same building.
Michaluk, 31, grew up in East St. Paul, and always found himself drawn to the site because of its location and high traffic.
"When I saw the building years ago, 10 years ago before I even finished school, I said ‘I see myself in that building one day,’" he recalled, noting plumbers, movie rental stores, and travel agencies have inhabited the site. "It’s the hub of downtown Birds Hill."
Michaluk used to work in construction as a refrigeration mechanic, so he opted to convert the building on his own rather than hire a firm in order to save money. The process took approximately 10 months.
"Instead of getting a big company to come and retrofit the building, I was able to save a lot of money, and I’m not going to be passing on those overhead costs onto the patients," he said.
"I have the opportunity to breathe, spend a little bit more time with the patients as opposed to hitting them with the big treatments and hitting them with the big dollar signs."
Michaluk, who lives in North Kildonan, said he hopes to draw in patients from not only East St. Paul, but northeast Winnipeg, St. Clements, and perhaps as far away as Beausejour.
He’s no stranger to rural settings, as his work with Health Canada has taken him as far north as Thompson and Churchill. Most recently, he’s worked on Peguis First Nation and other Interlake locales, which he hopes to keep up even with his Birds Hill practice.
Michaluk explained working in such settings taught him plenty.
"As the only professional around, you’re the go-to guy," he said. "You can’t say to them ‘I can’t do that’, because there’s nowhere to go. You can’t get on an airplane in the middle of the bush and go into town. You have to take care of those needs."
Michaluk’s wife, Sarah, who is also 31, is working to establish a client base, and will open up her clinic when she feels she is ready.
After working as a nurse with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, she decided to open up her fee-for-service clinic while pursuing her master’s in wound care.
She said it has been a challenge to get everything to come together, but feels it will be well worth it in the end.
"It was a labour of love," she said. "A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into it."
For more information on her services, visit www.wafcc.com