Dr. William Robert Spencer, Jr. received his early education in Welch, a small town in West Virginia. He was named a “West Virginia Scholar”, graduated with honors from high school, and went on to receive his higher education at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT; Connecticut Missionary Baptist Association; and University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT. He moved on to St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center in New York City where he completed his Internship and Residency in Surgery. His residency in Otolaryngology was at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, New York City, 1993-1999, and he completed his fellowship at the University of Miami in Miami, FL in Pediatric Otolaryngology in 2000. The same year, he started his own private practice, Long Island Otolaryngology & Pediatric Airway, P.C. at 25 E. Carver Street, Huntington, NY. He is currently the Chief of Otolaryngology at Huntington Hospital and an Associate Clinical Professor at Stony Brook University Hospital.
He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Otolaryngology, a Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a Fellow of The American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Surgery. He is an officer of the Suffolk County Medical Society, and the American Medical Association and is licensed to practice in the State of Florida and the State of New York.
Dr. Spencer has 16 articles that have been published in journals pertaining to his area of specialty, and has written chapters that have been included in books on the subject of otolaryngology.
With his father, Rev. William Robert Spencer, Sr., as his role model, Rev. Spencer, Jr. has always been motivated by his faith and has been involved with the church his whole life. At St. James Missionary Baptist Church where his father was Pastor, he served as Superintendent of Sunday School and also as Jr. Deacon and Lay Minister. He was licensed as a Minister in 1986 and ordained in Ministry in 1993 by The Connecticut Missionary Baptist Association.
In 1997, Rev. Spencer began his affiliation with Huntington Hospital and he chose to make the church across the street, Bethel, his church home for many years. He currently serves as the Pastor of Willow Manor Fellowship in Centerport, NY.
Dr. Spencer, who is also a licensed pilot, now lives with his wife, Rachel, and three young children, Robbie, Hannah, and Ava in Centerport. He is committed to bettering the community in which he lives and has, accordingly, become active in the Town’s political structure. In 2012, he was elected to serve as the Suffolk County Legislator in the 18th Legislative District.
His freshman-year accomplishments are impressive. As the first physician to serve in the Suffolk County Legislature since its inception in 1960, he was selected to serve as the chairman of the Legislature’s Health Committee. Working closely with the Commissioner of the Health Department, Legislator Spencer has helped to streamline the department with a priority on maintaining good public health for all County residents.
Since January, 2012, Legislator Spencer sponsored more than 35 resolutions with almost 1/3 of them related to health and safety issues. Protecting our beaches, harbors and fisheries and trying to find new and more efficient sewage treatment technologies in an effort to ensure the safety of our drinking water and the good health of our residents are among his top priorities.
As a physician, Legislator Spencer found it difficult to understand why our County parks and beaches, which provide our residents with easy access to the beauty of nature and recreational activities, permitted smoking. Fortunately, a majority of his colleagues in the Legislature agreed and as a result of his sponsored resolution, smoking is no longer permitted on our County beaches or in our County parks.
Legislator Spencer believes public education campaigns are also an effective vehicle for getting important messages out to our most vulnerable residents. Working with AT&T and the Harborfields School District, he declared 9/19 “Don’t Text and Drive Awareness Day” in Suffolk County and developed an assembly program to teach students that no text is worth dying for – “It can Wait!” Furthermore, he also introduced legislation recently to establish “The Truth About Energy Drinks” a public education campaign to increase awareness of the potentially dangerous side effects associated with caffeine toxicity.
Opiate addiction has become an epidemic among our young people on Long Island and overdoses are on the rise. Some estimates say we lose one resident per day to the horrendous effects of drug use. Narcan is a narcotic antagonist which prevents or reverses the effects of narcotics within minutes of being administered. Earlier this year, another legislator introduced legislation to pilot a Narcan program in three of our Suffolk County Police Precincts. This pilot program has already saved 42 lives. Seeing the abundant results of the trial program, Legislator Spencer proposed a resolution to expand it to all of our precincts which passed unanimously. Narcan is now available to police emergency responders in the Second Precinct.
Of particular concern to Legislator Spencer are the issues of availability of good, fair-paying jobs, ensuring our children have the best education and healthy environment possible and keeping our community’s drug and violence free. These are topics he will continue to focus his attention on during his second term in office.
William R. Spencer, Jr. is a rare combination of scholar, medical doctor, active Reverend and Suffolk County Legislator and he allows these components to interact in his own life and in the lives of others with whom he comes in contact. He is a true pillar in our community.