Why does Innisfil need a health and wellness centre?
Background The Innisfil Community Health Committee (ICHC) was established by Innisfil Town Council in 2011. Its purpose was to gather data to support a business case for public and/or private funding that would address the health care needs in the Town of Innisfil. In 2012, the ICHC partnered with York University to complete a qualitative and quantitative research project which culminated in the Innisfil Healthy Communities Assessment Report. This report provided a solid base of research that the ICHC used to direct their activities in the following years. In 2014, the ICHC forged a partnership with the Georgian College Research Analysis Program to prepare and analyze a statistically substantial survey that used rigorous methodology to obtain quantitative data. The data collected revealed the health status of Innisfil residents, residents’ patterns of accessing primary care, the barriers to health services, and the health service needs.
The data showed that nearly half of the respondents have one or more chronic diseases. Furthermore, less than 9% had a doctor located in Innisfil, with 40% of respondents traveling more than 30 minutes to obtain primary health services. The need for improved community health care was clearly demonstrated by these research projects and in response, the ICHC worked with the Town of Innisfil to assess the viability of establishing a community Health Hub.
Rizzardo Health and Wellness Centre Approval
On March 15, 2017, Innisfil Town Council formally and publicly approved the Innisfil Health Hub project to provide health and wellness services in our ‘backyard’. The building was named the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre, in honour of lead donors Sandra and Diego Rizzardo who made a generous donation to support this new initiative. An additional leadership gift was made by Boris Horodynsky to establish the Horodynsky Community Kitchen. From pocket change, to special events, to major donations, the community has generously supported this project, recognizing the importance of having health care services closer to home.
The ground-breaking ceremony was held on March 1, 2018 and an aggressive construction schedule followed. The building celebrated a soft opening on May 13, 2019 to mark an important milestone: on this date, the family doctors of the Innisfil Health Collaborative began serving patients within the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre. Construction is now complete, and new tenants continue to take occupancy of the space and provide their healthcare services.
The Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre is a game-changer for the well-being of families in Innisfil. The vision of this building is to: encourage health and wellness; connect with the community; foster a connection to nature; provide safe, accessible and comfortable social spaces; and support environmental responsibility. Thanks to the instrumental support of the ICHC , the incredible generosity of our community, and the foresight of Innisfil Council, the delivery of healthcare in Innisfil has been transformed by building a true health and wellness hub for our community.