March was designated as Irish American Heritage Month in Suffolk County. In acknowledgment of the outstanding achievements of Irish Americans in our communities, each year, the County Legislator of each district selects an Irish American person of distinction to be honored at the Irish American Heritage Celebration. This year, Legislator Fleming selected Joy Pak of Southampton. Pak , who currently serves as Sun River Health’s Major Gift Officer, helped Fleming’s office connect underserved residents to medical services, such as vaccination clinics, testing sites, and primary medical care.
Pak was born and raised in Leitrim, Ireland, and trained as a registered nurse at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. She later worked in the Operating “Theatre” (which is a term for an operating room in Ireland) at Cavan Surgical Hospital. In coming to the United States, her career remained in healthcare. She held a position in the Operating Room in Westchester County and went on to leadership roles in management and education. Pak later relocated to Queens and became a Nurse Educator at New York Presbyterian. With her experience, she advanced to become the Practice Nurse Administrator and Co-Owner of a multi-office surgical practice. She was later recruited to become the Health Center Director at Sun River Health in Southampton. In providing care to those in need, Pak embraced the organization’s social and philanthropic mission that underscores how society can achieve greater healthcare equity.
Throughout the pandemic, Pak was on the frontlines having oversight of the East End clinics of Southampton, Riverhead, and Greenport, and ensuring that testing sites and pop-up vaccination locations were available throughout the region and reaching families without healthcare access. Her fieldwork was particularly important as Sun River provided primary and specialty care during times when many private sector medical offices were closed. Today, as the Major Gift Officer of Sun River, Pak oversees the philanthropic work of the organization and continues to dedicate her time to helping at holiday food pantries and community outreach. “I am truly honored to present this proclamation to Joy, and recognize her as our 2023 Irish American of Distinction,” commented Legislator Fleming.
Featured: Leg. Fleming with Joy Pak