An effort is underway to find out how local healthcare providers can better serve the Wyandanch community.
A survey is being conducted in Wyandanch by Stony Brook University Hospital, with help from the Wyandanch Community Resource Center and local organizations. The survey, which was a group effort between Stony Brook, the resource center, Western Suffolk BOCES and the Suffolk County Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health, is based off of a more widespread 2019 study done throughout Long Island and eastern Queens by the nonprofit Long Island Health Collaborative. The nonprofit will provide data analysis of the surveys.
"Sometimes with smaller communities, their voices aren’t as loud," said Yvonne Spreckels, director of community relations for Stony Brook. "We wanted to focus more on what does Wyandanch as a community have to say, so that it doesn’t get lost in Suffolk County as a whole."
Spreckels said the impetus to focus on Wyandanch came from a meeting of the Wyandanch Leadership Council, a group of community leaders who meet regularly to discuss issues that impact the hamlet. Residents voiced a desire to find out community healthcare needs and obstacles to care, she said.
The effort to distribute the survey began in January, but so far only 40 surveys have been completed, Spreckels said. The goal is to get at least 372 responses, she added.
"From there we start figuring out what can we do to meet these needs," she said. "It opens up conversations as far as how do you best help the community."
From the surveys submitted, substance use, obesity and heart and mental health issues are the predominant concerns, Spreckels said. The minimal costs of the survey are being absorbed by the organizations involved, she said.
Wyandanch has its own health facility, the Sun River Health Martin Luther King Jr. health center. The facility sees about 7,000 patients annually for everything from pediatric care to podiatry needs, said Sun River COO and executive vice president Allison Dubois.
"We’re caring for a community that’s disproportionately affected by a number of chronic conditions," such as diabetes, hypertension and HIV, Dubois said.
The center will move into a new building in the Wyandanch Rising redevelopment within the next few years and will be able to expand services to include dental and urgent care, she said.
Dubois said they would be "eager to use the outcome of that survey to further improve" their services.
The survey consists of 11 questions, including some about COVID-19 and its impact, and is available in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole. The surveys are available at the resource center and online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Wyandanch-CHAS