Dr. Lia Sonnenburg, ND
I began post-secondary studies in the field of Health Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. Five years later I graduated with a Degree in Health Sciences and Biology, but my academic appetite was not quite satisfied. I knew that I wanted to work with people in the realm of healthcare – to make their goals attainable. I soon began my studies in Naturopathic Medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto and graduated in 2010. During this time, I was heavily involved both within and outside of the school health community. Since completing my education, I have been practicing as a Naturopath in the Collingwood area since 2010.
After passing all the grueling board exams which welcome you into the regulated profession of naturopathy, I became a fully licensed and registered Naturopathic Doctor in the province of Ontario. But in 2015, the naturopathy regulatory college moved under the RHPA (Regulated Health Care Practitioners Act) which meant many changes, more examinations, inspections, and busy-work. Although the timing was not fabulous (with two boys under the age of 4 at home) - I managed to pass the first round of the prescribing and therapeutics examinations in 2015 allowing me to continue to practice IV therapy, give injections, and prescribe certain restricted therapeutics (bioidentical hormones, thyroid medications, Vitamin D3, etc.). I wanted to ensure my patients had full access to the entire scope of naturopathic practice and that they were able to continue their journey to optimal health. I believe this added push has made me a better doctor and kept me up to date on the functional medicine aspect of my work. Mostly, however, I like the day-to-day stuff where I get to meet wonderful people and help them improve their health naturally and “Be Well”.
I am a member of the Canadian and Ontario Associations of Naturopathic Medicine and the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians. I enjoy working with children and adults dealing with digestive, immunity, hormonal, and environmental concerns.
The Be Well Collingwood logo encompasses an Ensō which is a single brush stroke that stands for enlightenment, strength, the universe and minimalism. This appropriately represents our approach to health as we weave together all the elements of your case to form a holistic circle of well-being.
Why Naturopathic medicine was the right fit for me...
A large portion of my undergraduate studies involved health policy courses and as I learned about the way the health-care system worked in Canada, I became less enchanted by the profession I first sought out to be a part of. I wanted to practice medicine from an individualized and functional approach – recognizing that each patient is different and unique.
I decided to add a couple of extra semesters to complete a secondary focus in biology and a year of studies abroad at the University of Otago in New Zealand.
I grew up in a European family where home-remedies and natural approaches ruled over visits to the doctor. My mother was a large advocate of the ‘you are what you eat’ principle and every meal that she served (although frustratingly labour intensive) was made from garden fresh ingredients, as free of chemicals as possible. It was a philosophy that simply ‘was’ and as a result my family’s health has been fairly ‘unremarkable’ (that being medical terminology for great).
I found Naturopathic medicine through the stories of immediate family and it resonated with the way I wanted to practice medicine: do no harm, cooperate with nature, find the root cause, treat the individual and educate.
I have further grown to love my vocation not only through seeing the major changes in the lives and wellness of the patients that come in and out of the Collingwood clinic every day, but also in that of my kids. The body truly is remarkable and if you give it what it needs, things work (naturally!)!
-Served on the Ontario Board of Naturopathic Doctors.
-Awarded the Institute for Natural Medicine Health Scholars Award and the Strauss Herbals Bursary.
-Volunteered both abroad in Nicaragua and locally at Parkdale Community Health Centre, serving marginalized people.
- Completed a clinical specialization in Oncology and maintain membership in the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians in North America.
- Obtained prescribing authority in Ontario immediately in 2015 as the profession moved under the RHPA [regulated health care practitioners act]
- Obtained and held current IVIT licensure since 2011 and designated member title for IVIT.
- Currently examine for the College of Naturopaths of Ontario to ensure new grads are performing to high-standard.