Dr. Amir Mohammad plans to share his passion for helping people be healthier to his new position as the town’s Director of Health. The new job, which is a part-time position, is really just an extension of what Dr. Mohammad does all day long as an attending physician at the Veterans Administration Hospital and Assistant Clinical Professor of Occupational Medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital.
The town’s Health Department encompasses the Orange Visiting Nurses Association (OVNA), located in the Clark Building at 605A Orange Center Road, and the Environmental Health Department in Town Hall. Dr. Mohammad already considers his staff “his team,” saying, “They are very supportive and are also passionate about education and training. I was given a warm welcome and I feel like I’ve known them forever. We are already like a close family.”
Mohammad hopes to take the department in a new, pro-active direction as he actively solicits participation and input from town residents, officials, and collaborations with health departments in surrounding towns. “I plan to reach out and start connecting with our residents and be a strong voice for our people,” he said. “I want to improve our current services and keep the public abreast of any information and regulations related to public health—whether it is about immunizations during flu season or upcoming environmental health issues. I hope the department will serve as a site where people can come to us with their questions and concerns.” An Orange resident himself, Dr. Mohammad views the position as an opportunity to get more involved in his own community and addressing the unique issues and challenges of the people who live here.
He also has a particular interest in the medical concerns of veterans in town. In addition to serving as staff physician at the VA, he also served as director of its Compensation and Pension Clinic. “Because of my work at the VA Hospital I’m very sensitive to veterans’ needs and the care of disabled vets. I hope to increase activities that would be pertinent to their health. I think there’s a lot we can do for our vets,” he said.
Since assuming his new title in December, Dr. Mohammad has already begun implementing positive changes. He has developed a public health internship program with Southern Connecticut State University and is currently hosting a student in the department. A self-described “life-long learner,” Dr. Mohammad welcomes the opportunity to share knowledge. “We can all learn from each other, “he said. “I think it’s fantastic to reach out to our future work force and involve them in public health.”
His focus is on preventative medicine and finding ways to best educate the public on ways to stay healthy. Acknowledging that Orange has a reputation for having a high elderly population who still live in their own homes, he expects to introduce programs that address this population. “As a specialist in occupational medicine, we focus more on how to prevent disease and injury and keep everyone in good health,” he said. On his short list is being an active presence at community events, hosting wellness fairs and immunization clinics and holding educational forums. One such topic he intends to address is how to prevent falls, a leading cause of death among the elderly. “We hope to equip people with knowledge, practical solutions and resources,” he said.
Once he actually has an office at the Clark Building location, Dr. Mohammad intends to have an open-door policy that would encourage residents to stop in to learn more about what the Health Department has to offer. The department is also in the process of updating its website which will include a section where residents can leave comments and concerns.
Dr. Mohammad came to the United States from Pakistan when he was 12 years old to pursue his education. After growing up in NY he received his medical degree from Dow Medical College and his Masters of Public Administration degree from UCONN in Public Health, Chronic Diseases and Epidemiology. He completed his residency at UCONN Medical Center and a clinical fellowship at Yale University’s School of Medicine. He and his wife, Tazeen, live with their three children in the Turkey Hill district of town.
Pictured: Dr. Amir Mohammad (2nd from left) and his staff.
By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent