My Lil’ Bean Q&A: Dr. Joanna Thiessen

Gone are the days when the stereotypical doctor with the white coat is the sole authority to decide on every aspect of our health care. We are more likely to see other people in our community with expertise to bridge the gaps in that older system. With doulas, midwives, naturopaths and others, we are fortunate to have the wisdom of people who can care for us in a holistic way. Our guest for today’s blog, Dr. Joanna Thiessen, practices out of her office in Waterloo, Ontario at George Street Naturopathic Medicine.

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What inspired you to become a naturopathic doctor?

I grew up being fascinated by and idolizing my grandfather, who was a very skilled internal medicine doctor in Ottawa.  I remember sneaking into his home office to look at his medical equipment, which he kept in this old, leather bag.  My desire to become a doctor began there.  When I was a teenager, my mom got really into “alternative medicine” and started a mail-order herbal remedy business.  Our basement was stocked with bottles of black cohosh and dong quai.  At that time botanical medicines and vitamins weren’t very easy to find in stores, so a mail-order business made sense.  Her work opened my eyes to the idea that there are lots of different types of medicine.  When I was doing my undergrad at the University of Guelph, I stumbled across a course called “Complimentary and Alternative Medicine” and during the semester we had a Naturopathic Doctor come to speak with us.  I had never heard of ND’s until then, and learning about the profession blew my mind!  It was like everything I had ever wanted in a career actually existed!  I was hooked. Read more