When Joy Pak, RN, CNOR became Director of the Sun River Southampton Health Center in November, 2019, she never could have imagined what lay ahead. At that time, Pak’s charge was that of Sun River: to provide needed medical and OBGYN services on a sliding scale to the community at large. Then came COVID-19. Within two months, Pak was overseeing the Hamptons’ first testing and vaccination sites, not only in Southampton, but for several months, in Riverhead and Greenport. Those were some pretty long hours!
Even further unexpected was this part of the job: “At least a dozen times a day,” she told us, “I would have to tell people, ‘We are Sun River Health. We used to be called Hudson River Health. We are located opposite the hospital, on Meeting House Lane behind Sight MD, attached to the hospital Human Resources building by the flagpole. Enter through the double doors.'” And those were only the people who got through to Pak. “Sun River’s Kraus Family Health Center at Southampton has been here since 2014,” she told us. “So, it was very frustrating that even locals didn’t know who we are. I realized we have to get on the map!”
To help do so, Pak will kick off the summer with a dinner benefit for 100 in the Southampton Social Club’s newly appointed outdoor garden. Pak promises a gourmet meal and “top shelf liquor!” Silent auction items will also feature epicurean food and wine packages.
So, who is Sun River? “We are a federally qualified health center providing the level of services that you would find in any private physicians office,” Pak told us. “But, we provide it on a sliding scale of ability to pay. That means, those in need can get it for as little as a $15 copay. Our in-house patient navigators also help find affordable specialists and lab procedures for the uninsured. In some cases, we even pay for taxis.”
She continued, “Most of our staff speaks Spanish. I hire only those aligned with our mission of caring. Because, we are all ambassadors of Sun River.”
Pak expects Sun River to continue vaccinating the community. They are now giving Pfizer vaccinations to those over 12, including Pak’s own 12 1/2-year-old twins. She expects to be giving the booster shots on the horizon.
The clinic continues to provide general medical care. Appointments are available daily: 631-268-1008.
Tickets to the May 27 dinner are also available: secure.givelively.org/event/sun-river-health.