Dr. Joseph Schnurr, B.A., M.D., M.A.

Dr. Joseph Schnurr, B.A., M.D., M. A.
Dr. Joseph Schnurr, B.A., M.D., M. A.Family Physician & Practitioner of Integrative & Functional Medicine
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Dr. Joseph Schnurr is a family medicine physician with additional training in integrative* and functional medicine* (* see FAQs). He is passionate about working with patients to help them understand and address the mechanisms and root causes of their symptoms and illnesses and to provide knowledgeable, compassionate guidance and support to assist patients in taking a proactive approach to wellness with the goal of achieving optimal health and wellbeing.

The greatest medicine of all is to teach people how not to need it.”
– Unknown

Dr. Joseph Schnurr, B.A., M.D., M.A. has practiced family medicine in Saskatchewan for over 25 years. He received his medical degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1983. He is also trained in Traditional Chinese Medical acupuncture and medical anthropology, receiving his Master’s of Anthropology degree from the U of S in 2004. He is co-founder and former Medical Director of the Centre of Integrative Medicine in the College of Medicine at the U of S and continues to be actively engaged in the Centre’s activities. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology in the College of Medicine at the U of S. From 2012 – 2014 he was lead physician of a partially government-funded integrative cancer care centre in Kelowna, BC.

His areas of expertise are in integrative and functional medicine as well as integrative cancer care* (*see FAQs) in which he has pursued and continues to pursue additional training. He teaches in the College of Medicine at the U of S and has given numerous presentations within the College of Medicine and in the community in the areas of primary prevention and healthy aging, chronic illness, integrative cancer care, and integrative and environmental medicine. He has led full day workshops for patients with cancer and their support persons in the area of integrative cancer care.

Dr. Schnurr believes:

  • It is fundamentally important to truly listen to a patient’s full story regarding their health concerns.
  • In exploring what are the underlying mechanisms and causes of a patient’s symptoms and/or illness.
  • Chronic illness results from disturbed metabolism largely caused by lifestyle and environmental factors affecting gene expression and as such, each patient’s illness is unique.
  • That the whole person needs to be treated – body, mind, and spirit.
  • In the power of food, not only to reduce the risk of chronic illness, but also to treat it.
  • Patients have the right to choose their own healing journey.
  • Health care providers act as guides along their patient’s healing journey, providing knowledge, support, and empowerment.
  • In the need for ongoing professional learning to provide the best care possible.
  • In collaboration with other health care providers to provide optimal support for patient’s health and healing.
  • In teaching others about the value of integrative and functional medicine and its role in the future of healthcare.

The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food.” – Hippocrates

Dr. Schnurr’s practice encompasses general family medicine services and incorporates integrative/functional medicine approaches. While he does not limit his medical practice to any particular condition or area, he has a special interest in integrative cancer care and cancer risk reduction, healthy aging and chronic disease prevention and management, hormonal (adrenal, thyroid, sex hormones) health, heart and gut health, stress, sleep and mood disorders (anxiety, depression), nutritional issues, and chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.”
– Sir William Osler

Frequently Asked Questions

The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine has provided one of the best definitions of integrative medicine that encompasses all of the salient concepts.

Integrative Medicine is “the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.

The following material from the Institute of Functional Medicine “toolkit” best describes functional medicine:

Functional medicine is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.”

Functional medicine practitioners incorporate conventional Western medical practices with evidence-based complementary practices, drawing upon the most appropriate diagnostic and treatment strategies from each discipline. The focus is on reducing the risk of and treating chronic disease with an emphasis on lifestyle and environmental factors (such as nutrition, exercise, stress management, and environmental toxins) and, if needed, the use of prescribed pharmaceutical medications and/or botanical medicines and supplements.

It’s more important to understand the imbalances in your body’s basic systems and restore balance, rather than name the disease and match the pill to the ill.”
– Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D. (Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine)

Integrative cancer care supports both the conventional treatments of cancer as well as assisting and empowering patients in exploring the beneficial roles that healthful nutrition, exercise, emotional, spiritual, and immune system support play in reducing the factors that can promote cancer development and improve overall healing, the importance of which is now being acknowledged in the oncology literature.

By supporting the whole person approach to cancer treatment (and/or that of any chronic illness), solid foundations are created to optimize healing.

No referral is necessary. Patients can book an appointment to see Dr. Schnurr by contacting the office directly.

Re-examine all you have been told. Dismiss what insults your soul and your very flesh will become a great poem.
– Walt Whitman

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