Keeping Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital tidy and sanitized is just the tip of the iceberg of what 11-year-long employee Dominick Rosado brings to the table. The Environmental Services technician’s main focus is taking care of anything pertaining to outside buildings on the main hospital campus during dayshift, but he also takes emergency calls and environmental services-related calls that range from a bird hitting a window to a bathroom cleanup.
“Whatever the call, we have to answer it!” Rosado says.
But between his longevity at the hospital and personal experience with his daughter being a patient after she was born, his job scope goes beyond his usual duties. Sometimes Rosado helps direct parents to appointments or lends an ear to listen and offer support.
“I may see a family looking for directions, and I know every department, where every doctor’s office is, so I often guide them or walk them where they need to go. Instead of telling them, ‘Turn this corner, turn that corner,’ I just take them right to it.”
He knows what it’s like to be a parent of a patient. His daughter was born prematurely at Bayfront Baby Place weighing only 3 pounds, and after birth, her heart stopped. She was cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Johns Hopkins All Children’s for about a month. After birth and during follow up check-ups, she passed tests with flying colors.
“During that time, I had to step back and trust the doctors and nurses when it came to my daughter, but there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that they were going to do what I see them do all of the time,” Rosado says. “I’m here every day, and I see what they do day in and day out.”
Now his daughter is a healthy 9-year-old and she loves the hospital.
“She’s a spokesperson for Johns Hopkins All Children’s. I have to stop her in her tracks sometimes because she’ll say, ‘My daddy works for Johns Hopkins All Children’s, and he saves lives,’ and I’m like, ‘No, no, no. ... I’m the housekeeper. I’m not a doctor,” Rosado says while chuckling.
Diving Deep into Dominick and His Hispanic Heritage
What is your favorite thing about working at the hospital?
It’s more like a ying and yang. You see how these kids come in here so sick and then everyone does their job. To see them being discharged and running out of here, and you’re like, “Wow” to see how good they are when they’re leaving. That’s the best part of it — seeing them laughing and leaving the hospital, discharged. Sometimes you bond with these families, and you’re just there to be an ear. Parents talk to you and you listen. I can’t fix the child, but I can listen.
This year's Hispanic Heritage Month theme is Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope. What does Hispanic hope mean to you?
My hope is for America to see Hispanics as equal. I think all Latinos have had to pay their dues. Back in the 1940s, a group of Puerto Ricans called the Boricua group saved the Panama Canal. All of our goods come from there, and they did their job in protecting that in World War II. It is those little things that help others understand that we are Americans, too. Whenever we are called and do what we need to do to protect this country, we do it.
What does heritage and diversity mean to you?
I’m from New York City, my father’s side are all strictly Puerto Rican. My grandma’s side is a different story — they’re Chinese, Jewish and Puerto Rican. When we have a wedding, it’s all different cultures! I don’t see racism. It is nations united. We’re all blood cousins, and we’re all related. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve learned how to mingle with everybody.
I do have Puerto Rican pride — to see the history of what they went through, listening to the stories of my grandma when she first came to America, and how she was looked down on because she didn’t know the language. When I was a child, she made it a point to tell me and my brothers that when we left the house, we needed to speak English, because we’re in America. She drilled into our heads that it’s the only way we’re going to survive in America. Hearing all the struggles she went through benefited me and my kids now.
Name a Hispanic American you admire or think people should learn more about.
Being Puerto Rican, it has to be Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Look at the job she’s got. I just watched a documentary about her, and she was diagnosed with diabetes at 7 years old. When she was 7, she had to clean her needles for insulin. It wasn’t like it is now, you go buy needles. Talk about discipline. At 7 years old, doing something like that, and then to come from the bottom of the Bronx, to where she’s at now. There isn’t a higher job in my eyes. I admire her hands down. There are so many Latinos who have done so much, but you have to be smart and really work hard to be in her position.