Meet our Member: Dr Gwyn Jolley


As a new Affiliate Member of RePaDD, I would like to introduce myself and let other members know about some activities occurring in the Onkaparinga region.

I am currently the Deputy Chair of Healthy Cities Onkaparinga (HCO), a small non-government organisation established in 1987 under the WHO Healthy Cities project. HCO is unique in being an independent NGO as most Healthy Cities are run by local governments. We are volunteer-dependent with no core funding, relying on grants for income. Our mission is to stimulate community action in Onkaparinga about issues that affect health, by working with a variety of local community groups and individuals on relevant issues, supporting community participation and existing community initiatives which promote health, and encouraging health and other services to allocate a higher priority to health promoting activities.

Healthy Cities Onkaparinga is pleased to announce success in our application to the SA Health SA Palliative Care 2022 grant round. The project aims to draw on experience from HCO and Southern Vales Compassionate Community (SVCC) to establish an independent, incorporated, umbrella organisation, Onkaparinga Compassionate Community (OCC), and five local Onkaparinga regional compassionate communities (CCs). The OCC will support the local CCs by providing governance, strategic planning, community development expertise, coordination, mentorship, promotion opportunities, assist with grant applications and volunteer recruitment. A variety of local initiatives will be trialled to develop the emerging CCs. Our partner, SVCC, is based in McLaren Vale, has hosted 5 death cafes, and is now looking to develop other activities to strengthen the compassionate community approach.

We recognise Compassionate Communities as a public health approach to palliative care. They provide support to communities, health practitioners and health system palliative care services by increasing community volunteer services. CCs can improve quality of life and wellbeing, reduce stress and isolation, increase death literacy, extend knowledge and understanding of palliative care, embed palliative care into all care settings, and increase access to services with a person-centred approach within our communities. A forum to provide opportunities for local community to learn about compassion communities and how to contribute is planned for 8 November.

City of Onkaparinga Wellness and Care ExpoHCO is also hosting an End-of-Life Wellness and Care expo on 22 September, that aims to empower community members to make choices about their own, or a loved one’s care, as they approach end of life.

I have retired from Flinders University but hold academic status in the College of Medicine & Public Health. During my time at Flinders, I worked as a researcher in the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, undertaking research and evaluation in the fields of public health and community-based health promotion. In 2013, I was awarded my PhD on the topic of complexity theory and its use in evaluation of complex community-based health promotion initiatives. Since my retirement, I have been active in HCO and the Public Health Association Australia, advocating, managing projects and grant writing.

I look forward to sharing ideas and learning more about the work of RePaDD members.

Dr Gwyn Jolley, Deputy Chair Healthy Cities Onkaparinga

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Community Research

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