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 Sylvia A. Diaz, PhD, LMSW,ASAC

Doctorate in Social Research & Public Policy Analysis Licensed Master Social Worker

A Bronx native, Dr. Diaz moved to Long Island and took a position at the Town of Brookhaven Youth Bureau, where she coordinated the town’s first “Hispanic Outreach Project.” Shortly thereafter, she completed a graduate degree in Social Work at SUNY Stony Brook while attending an alcoholism counseling studies’ program. During that time, Dr. Diaz also worked as a consultant and helped to develop the regions first bilingual chemical dependency treatment

program at what is now St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown.

After graduation and working as a clinical social worker, Dr. Diaz was appointed by the County Executive to head the Office of Minority Affairs, where  she worked tirelessly to promote the economic development of minority and women owned businesses in Suffolk County by providing technical assistance and training to business owners. Dr. Diaz was later promoted to head the Division of Human Services where she was responsible for six subdivisions of the County Executive’s Office. These included the Office for the Aging, Office for People with Disabilities, Multicultural Affairs & Community Engagement, the Veterans Service Agency, Women’s Services and the Youth Bureau.


In 2000, Dr. Diaz was appointed to the position of Chief Deputy Commissioner for the County Department of Social Services, where she was responsible for and coordinated the operations of Public Assistance, Medicaid, Child Support Enforcement, Housing, Family and Children’s Services, Finance, Personnel, Information and Technology. She developed and administered the department’s annual budget, which exceeded a half a billion dollars annually and provided for over 5,000 families receiving public assistance benefits.

By January 2003, Dr. Diaz, herself a cancer survivor, was recruited to serve as Regional Vice President for the American Cancer Society. She saw this as the opportunity to help save lives and improve the quality of life for cancer survivors and their families. During her tenure at ACS, Dr. Diaz led a team that raised over $50 million dollars in the fight against cancer right here on Long Island.

In 2011, Dr. Diaz once again graduated college, this time with a Ph.D. from the School of Social Welfare at Stony Brook and joined the Graduate Program in Human Services Leadership at St. Joseph’s College as an adjunct professor. Ever a social worker, Dr. Diaz, has always maintained a special interest in serving those with social and psychological impediments to recovery and later in 2011 she founded “Pathways Renewed Inc.” Pathways provides residential and

supportive services to the re-entry population through a partnership with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

In August of 2013, Dr. Diaz proudly joined the Suffolk Community College Foundation and a year later was promoted to Executive Director. The career shift to development in higher education aligned with her long held belief that education was the key to providing economic opportunities and empowerment. In January 2024, Dr. Diaz once again returned to government when she was appointed to serve as Deputy County Executive for Health, Human Services and Education in Suffolk County. Dr. Diaz is the first Latina in the County to serve in this capacity and the highest ranking Hispanic official in Suffolk County government.

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