Tackling Health Disparities: The Suffolk County Department of Health Services’ Office of Minority Health
Gregson H. Pigott, MD, MPH
Director – Office of Minority Health
General Office Number (631)-854-0378
Suffolk County, with a size of 900 square miles and 2/3 of the land mass of Long Island, is known for its open lands, beaches, and relative tranquility. Suffolk is also surprisingly diverse; with a total population of approximately 1.5 million residents, 7.4% are African-American, 17% Hispanic/Latino, 3.4% Asian, and 1% Native American1. Yet despite its apparent relative wealth, Suffolk has several areas with many residents living at or below the federal poverty level. Many of these residents are from minority groups, who also suffer disproportionately from heart disease & strokes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hypertension, and higher infant mortality rates.
The goal of the Suffolk County Office of Minority Health (OMH) is to address existing health disparities and improve the health of minorities by: raising awareness of health issues through educational programs and events; working to improve access to quality primary care services and health insurance; and ensuring that our residents receive health care in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner. Through partnerships and collaborations with various organizations based in Suffolk County, we are not only helping people to live longer, healthier lives but aiding in the improvement of their quality of life.
Our Programs and Events
Suffolk Showers – ‘A Healthy Baby Begins with You’
Winner of 2010 National Association of Counties (NACo) award.
The Suffolk Showers events are held quarterly in different parts of the County in an effort to address the disparity in infant mortality noted amongst African American and Latino populations.
SHOPs (Suffolk Health Outreach Partnerships)
Winner of 2009 NACo award.
The SHOPs program collaborates with over 20 minority-owned beauty salons and barber shops in an effort to educate individuals about health issues facing minority communities.
1 Based on 2010 Census data.