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Remembering Walter Crinnion, ND

Thursday, March 28, 2019  
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The Integrative Medicine Community lost an incredible mentor and friend with the passing of Walter Crinnion on the evening of March 11.

Walter J. Crinnion ND was born in Oakland CA and graduated with the first class at what is now Bastyr University (then called the John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine) in Seattle, Washington in 1982. While there, he had the privilege of having John Bastyr, ND, Bill Mitchell, ND, and Joe Pizzorno, ND, as teachers, mentors and, ultimately, friends. 

Naturopathic medicine is based upon principles that include: treating the cause of disease, honoring the healing power of nature and the role of the doctor as teacher. He embraced all of these principles and soon began to explore why some patients were not getting better when safe and powerful natural healing techniques were used. He realized that the cause of some illnesses were due to environmental toxicant exposures. Since no one had begun to teach this aspect of medicine in medical schools, he began to search diligently through all the published medical journals and medical conferences to find answers. He became a student of Dr. William Rea, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon who was a global pioneer of environmental medicine and a source of inspiration and knowledge for Dr. Crinnion in developing his environmental medical practice. 

With over 30 years of medical practice, Walter Crinnion was considered one of the foremost experts in the field of environmental medicine. He created the environmental medicine curricula at Bastyr University, University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine, and the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM). At SCNM, he was endowed as Chair of the Department of Environmental Medicine from 2003 until 2013. He was also adjunct faculty at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences through the MMI post-graduate fellowship as well as faculty at University of Western States.

Since 1999, he has been providing an online training course for licensed healthcare providers who wish to become more proficient in environmental medicine SpiritMed Medical Education. He founded the Naturopathic Association of Environmental Medicine (now the National Association of Environmental Medicine), a member organization for providers in this field that sets standards of care and offers education. Dr. Crinnion has not only lectured across  North America and Europe at medical conferences where he was a sought-after speaker, but also founded the Crinnion Opinion podcast and blog to keep his global followers informed about the latest information and protocols in the environmental medicine field. 

His first book: Clean, Green and Lean was published by Wiley & Sons in 2009. He has been a guest on ABC’s The View with Barbara Walters in 2001, discussing toxic compounds in our everyday environment and how to protect ourselves. Dr. Crinnion was also asked by the Huffington Post to be a blogger on their site, providing all of their readers with current and accurate information about health and the environment. He was the editor of the environmental medicine section of the Alternative Medicine Review journal until 2014, and has been appointed to the editorial review boards of the New England Journal of Medicine, Pharmaceutical Biology, Science of the Total Environment and the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. Dr. Crinnion has also authored over 25 articles, many of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals (available on PubMed). He has also helped to create laboratory panels that have become part of the standard of care for detecting environmental toxicant exposures and has also been a consultant to several nutraceutical manufacturers to design supplements to address environmental toxicant exposure. He recently authored, with Joe Pizzorno, ND, the textbook Clinical Environmental Medicine published by Elsevier in 2019. 

With the help of his colleagues and friends Lyn Patrick, ND, and Cheryl Gray, RD, Dr. Crinnion had a lifelong dream come true in putting together an environmental medicine conference in the US for the last three years entitled the Environmental Health Symposium. This year’s symposium will honor the “decades of love, laughter, and wisdom that Dr. Crinnion has shared with the world."

Walter’s life ended far too soon leaving a grieving family and colleagues behind. His legacy lives on with his loving family and friends and with hundreds of grateful patients and inspired students. He is survived by daughters Sara Hall (Josh), Joanna Oliver (Jeff), Rebecca Rathbone (Matt), and Kate Crinnion, grandchildren Scott and Joseph Rathbone, mother Virginia Crinnion and sister Mary Padgett (William). His father, Walter P. Crinnion, and daughter, Marie, pre-deceased him. Walter lived in Phoenix, Arizona with his daughter Kate. He loved the outdoors, cycled and kayaked, and was challenging himself by training for his third Ironman event.

A Celebration of Life and Purpose will be held for Dr. Walter J. Crinnion, ND, on Wednesday April 10th at 6:00 pm at the Franciscan Renewal Center 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Scottsdale Arizona. The celebration will be held in the San Damiano Auditorium.

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