Rosegreen, a Registered Nurse 2 in the Teaching and Research Center at SUNY Downstate Medical Center
PEF member and nurse Joan Rosegreen, second from left, volunteering in Jamaica with the JAHJAH Foundation in January 2024.

April 3, 2024 — Many PEF members live their union values by volunteering as a force for good in their communities. For Joan Rosegreen, a PEF member for 19 years, that work stretches far beyond America’s border.  

“I have always been involved in giving back to the community,” said Rosegreen, a Registered Nurse 2 in the Teaching and Research Center at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. “My first profession was teaching. I taught for three years after graduating college.” 

Rosegreen has worked at Downstate for 21 years and been a nurse for 29. In addition to being a PEF steward and a Council Leader with PEF Division 198, Rosegreen volunteers with Jamaicans Abroad Helping Jamaicans At Home (JAHJAH). The foundation travels to the Caribbean annually to help deliver healthcare to underserved communities. She also volunteers with Rotary Club International. 

This year, Rosegreen traveled to her home country of Jamaica for one week on a medical mission as leader of a triage team. 

“Our mission involves going to hospitals and schools in the community where dental care, gynecology, and physicals are performed,” Rosegreen said. “We also conduct a community health fair annually.” 

In addition to conducting and directing care for patients without medical insurance, the team diagnoses health conditions and sends patients to local hospitals for treatment when necessary. This year, Rosegreen said that several hundred patients arrived for tooth extractions. 

Medical students from the area also attend these missions as part of their education. This year, Rosegreen instructed students on how to diagnose patients using ultrasound. 

“The overall goal is to promote health and dental hygiene,” Rosegreen said. “All of the services we provide are totally free.” 

Though Rosegreen has always been focused on community, she recalls the moment she knew that volunteering was for her. 

“I was in the emergency room when a doctor came in with his mother-in-law. He was not satisfied with some of the unprofessionalism he saw in the room,” she said. “I asked him how I could assist him and his mother. He said he was so impressed with my professionalism; he had his mother transferred to my care.” 

Years later, at an awards ceremony, she met the doctor again, he told her about his work as a volunteer, and “the rest is history,” Rosegreen said. 

Rosegreen received the Angel Award from JAHJAH in 2022. She was recognized for being one of the first volunteers for a special COVID-19 response mission in Jamaica when the country was experiencing an overwhelming number of cases. She was also honored for her contributions to the community and recruitment of more members to JAHJAH. 

Later this year, as part of her work with Rotary Club International, Rosegreen will travel to Singapore to deliver healthcare to communities there.