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Sandra Hoy

Sandra Hoy

Associate Professor, School of Social Work
School of Social Work
Faculty of Education and Health


I relocated to Sudbury with my family in 2017. My teaching and community-based scholarship is grounded in my interests in social justice, community development and advancing the ethical aspirations of social work practice. I am motivated by a belief that public intellectuals should be of service to the communities in which they operate. I enjoy working with community partners and students to develop new ideas to improve community well-being and seeking out resources to make the ideas happen. I have practice experience in program development, resource development, research and program evaluation and community development in non-profit environments.

I am involved in a long term research partnership with a community-based peer support breastfeeding program, where we study how communities can better support families to meet their breastfeeding goals and offer supportive environments for all parents, no matter the barriers. Our work advocates for systems of health and social care that is anti-oppressive and mother/person-centred.

I am the lead on a study of the inhabitants of the Waterloo County Poorhouse, where we have found that, 150 years later, many of the legacies of 19th century poorhouses remain in our current systems of care. 


  • Ph.D., Wilfrid Laurier University (Social Work)
  • M.S.W., Wilfrid Laurier University
  • B.A., (Hon. Psychology), University of Waterloo

On The Web

Waterloo County House of Industry and Refuge Virtual Museum Project:

CBC Radio Interview and CBC Online (March, 17, 2017). Virtual museum preserves legacy of Waterloo County poorhouse.

Breastfeeding Buddies Documentary:

Breastfeeding Supports Resource Comic: The Truth about Breastfeeding


My work focuses on community-based scholarship, community development, social determinants of health including mental health, maternal and child health, and social policies. I am particularly interested in how issues related to inequalities of class, gender, race, and ability intersect with health and health care experiences; and exploring the everyday experiences of these realities. I have many years of experience in program development, policy analysis and developing internal and external program evaluations in the non-profit and educational sectors.

I am motivated to engage in research that helps to improve the quality of health and social services from the perspective of service users. In addition, my recent efforts at archival research have ignited an interest in critical social history and understanding how histories of social welfare have shaped our current approaches and systems.

Current projects include: 1) an evaluation of a peer-based breastfeeding support program: Breastfeeding Buddies. This multi-year arts-based project has included the production of a short documentary and a comic; 2) a historical digitized case study of one of the first poorhouse in Ontario: the Waterloo County House of Industry and Refuge, that has resulted in the creation of a virtual museum:;