Wims, who had reached the age of 100, died away this past weekend. Her influence will be felt for a long time to come, as the community at Rochester Regional Health can confirm.
The first African-American woman to work as an assistant at Rochester General Hospital was Rosa Wims, who went on to become a licensed practical nurse later in her career.
The leaders of RRH are contemplating the impact that she has had on both the generations who came before and those who will go after them.
During the presentation on nursing as a vocation, one of the themes that is covered is the importance of public safety.
She was able to do this not just via the care that she provided but also by the outreach that she did in the community and by making sure that people had access to food, shelter, and medical treatment.
Dr. Victoria Record, head of Rochester General College of Health Careers and Isabella Graham Hart School of Nursing, noted that “She went out and really focused on that.”
The record was speaking on behalf of her own family, community, and the people she cared for in the medical system as a nurse.
Wims was a pioneer in the medical community of Rochester by breaking down barriers, such as being one of the first black licensed practical nurses hired by Rochester Regional Health.
She is most well known for founding the Rosa Wims Family Wellness Center and, for the preceding more than three decades, hosting a Thanksgiving feast at which she gave out free meals to hundreds of people.
As part of the festivities to commemorate Wims’s 100th birthday that took place the previous year, RRH endowed a scholarship to the Isabella Graham Hart School of Nursing in her name.
Dr. Record said that “we specifically search for diverse students who possess the same qualities as her—commitment, caring, and community service—and who are attempting to change their current situation in life.”
“We search for students who are committed to changing their current situation in life.”
Wims would serve as a model for others who would follow in her footsteps after she had passed away.
“To look up to someone like her and feel I could achieve anything. When I witnessed others like her giving back to the community, whether in her church or by caring for her patients, I believed I could, too.
The medical director of community pediatrics and wellness at RRH, Dr. Lekeyah Wilson, said she became a doctor to help the community.
Rochester Regional Health officials said Wims will be memorialized soon.