A Passion for Building Healthy Communities

Meet Joy Finney, Health Promoter, Woolwich Community Health Centre

Joy FinneyImagine being actively involved in a community for 25 years. For many people, it’s not easy but that’s what Joy Finney has been doing her entire career. Joy is a Health Promoter with Woolwich Community Health Centre. She was involved in the founding of Woolwich Healthy Communities (WHCs), one of the longest-standing Healthy Communities initiatives in Canada.

Joy says: “I feel that CHCs are one of Ontario’s best kept secrets. The reason I’m so passionate about the CHC model is that you have the opportunity to work at all ends of the health continuum including treatment of illness, illness prevention, and health promotion, with individuals, groups, and at the level of healthy public policy.” 

She goes on to say: “One minute you can be walking down the hall and run into a patient who has just been diagnosed with an illness, like osteoporosis. You have the opportunity to explore with her her questions, fears, and concerns, and to involve her, if she wants to be involved, in developing a health education program or to link her to the Better Bones fitness classes held at the CHC. Because the classes are held on site you can follow up and invite her to join a community group, like WHC, to work at the policy level to advocate for walkable communities and to support active transportation.”

Having lived and travelled around the world Joy is motivated by the belief that “people tend not to make individual lifestyle choices in a cultural vacuum and it is public policy which often shapes our culture”.  So Joy collaborates with community groups like WHC or the Region of Waterloo Public Health to advocate for healthy public policy. She loves to work with volunteers in building healthy communities. Her philosophy is to work along aside others to create a supportive environment. Someone once said: “For Joy, no need is too small to notice — or too big to tackle.”

Beaming with delight she says: “Day in and day out, I am privileged to witness volunteers through WHC and WCHC whose lives make a difference, who care deeply about their community and who also know how to have fun. Who wouldn’t love my job?”

It is her passion for making a difference in people’s lives that was recognized by 3M Health Leadership which honoured Joy in 2014. The Award celebrates community leaders who inspire change in communities across Canada.

“So this award is a celebration of people in our community, for you are the ones who inspire, support, energize and motivate me. I’m deeply grateful to each of you,” says Joy when she accepted the award.

Community Health Centres are non-profit organizations that provide primary health and health promotion programs for individuals, families and communities. WCHC is one of the four CHCs in Waterloo Wellington - Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre, Guelph Community Health Centre and Langs Community Health Centre. The WWLHIN provides part of the funding that supports CHCs in their work to improve access to primary care.

For more information:

Joy Finney, Health Promoter
Woolwich Community Health Centre
519-664-3534, ext. 230