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YMCA Partnerships Strengthen Community Health and Wellbeing

The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is expanding its health care partnerships to deliver new, innovative, community-based health and wellness programs. In recent months, the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH), the Georgian Bay Family Health Team (GBFHT) and the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital (CGMH) have forged new and deeper partnerships with the Y – all rooted in a shared commitment to combat and prevent chronic disease. By linking hospital health services with community health and wellness programs, patients are able to continue their care and rehabilitation in a supportive environment with a community of peers. These programs not only provide physical support, but also bring people with similar health issues together for emotional support.

Community-based health and wellness programs can help:

  • Provide individuals with rehabilitation care in a positive community environment rather than in a clinical setting
  • Reduce health care costs as individuals become more involved in community wellness programs and less time in hospitals and emergency rooms
  • Support families and community members with chronic medical conditions and preventative care
  • Provide programs and services that help individuals acquire self-management skills and improve independent living

Here are a few examples of how, together with our partners, we are transforming the health care system:

Healthy Hearts program in partnership with RVH

The Healthy Hearts program provides supervised rehabilitation services for those patients coming from the RVH Cardiac Rehab program. The customized program is based on individual needs and goals – helping people regain their strength, reduce the risk of future cardiac episodes and improve their quality of life. The program is available to anyone in the community who has had a cardiac event or has risk factors.

iCan Cancer rehabilitation program in partnership with RVH

This exercise rehabilitation program is offered to patients who receive treatment through the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer program at RVH and is designed for those living with cancer. The program runs twice per week out of the Barrie and Innisfil YMCAs and is overseen by a rehabilitation exercise specialist. Designed to empower patients to regain their strength and physical health, the program also provides emotional peer support in a caring, and supportive environment.

Cardiovascular Rehabilitation program in partnership with CGMH and the Georgian Bay FHT

The Cardiovascular Rehabilitation program has been developed to provide a supervised exercise program for individuals following a cardiac event. Patients are referred to this program through their family physician. The program consists of an education and exercise component with the goal of assisting individuals to better understand their heart condition, gain physical strength, and help reduce the risk of future cardiac episodes. This program runs out of the Collingwood and Wasaga Beach YMCAs with support of a kinesiologist and YMCA rehabilitation exercise specialist.

As a longtime leader in healthy living, we are so pleased to provide these community-based health programs. Together, with our partners, we hope to make a greater impact on the health of our community today and for generations to come.


For a list of all YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka Health Management programs, please visit

Rob Armstrong is President and CEO of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka; focused on investing in communities, ensuring all people have access to the Y and implementing programs that are helping thousands of youth and families to learn and thrive. Prior to joining the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka in 2011, Rob held senior leadership positions at the YMCA of Edmonton, YMCA of Owen Sound, YMCA of Cambridge and most recently YMCA Ontario. Rob holds an Honours degree in Physical and Health Education from Queen’s University and has since augmented his education with advanced courses from the Harvard Business School of Entrepreneurship, Ivy School of Business and Queen’s University Executive Education Program.

Since coming to Simcoe/Muskoka, Rob has taken an active leadership role in the Child, Youth and Family Services Coalition of Simcoe County and Barrie’s Pathways to end homelessness. He served on a number of boards including local Community Foundations, Affordable Housing, Parks and Recreation Ontario and the Minister of Health Promotions Health Advisory Committee.

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