With most of her family practicing in the medical field, Spring Valley resident Jackie Cassagnol always envisioned herself in the industry. It was one person, however, who ultimately influenced her decision to become a nurse. Starting as a medical-surgical nurse, her aunt Joyce came home from the hospital each night with a thrilling story, or two, to share. She worked her way through the ranks over the course of 30 years, eventually becoming the head of the hospital’s clinics. Seeing the difference her aunt made in patients’ lives, Jackie set her sights on a career in nursing, not knowing how just many lives she would one day touch.
Today, a registered nurse and internationally practicing professor, Cassagnol not only fulfilled that dream, but furthered it. Following the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, she founded Worldwide Community First Responder, Inc. (WCFR). The organization strives to prevent global fatalities by extending two main programs to developing communities in the event of an emergency. One is devoted to health education and prevention tactics, while the other focuses on first response and first aid training.
WCFR has trained and educated over 250,000 people to date, primarily in the United States and Haiti, though Cassagnol says that the organization hopes to expand. “Our plan is to cover the entire globe,” she says. “I believe in the mission of WCFR.”
Beyond WCFR, Cassagnol is a leader within the worldwide nursing honor society, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI). Her involvement expands to chapter, regional, and international-level programs, including the international Leadership Succession Committee and the local UPSILON Chapter at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.
“My involvement in chapter, regional, and international-level activities has given me the opportunity to serve the nursing community in providing leadership and scholarship in practice, education, and research,” Cassagnol says.
Looking to give back? Cassagnol sheds some tips:
“Helping others can help take your mind off your own problems and enable you to see the bigger picture, she says. “Once you see the difference you can make in another person’s life or in the world, your own problems can seem smaller and more manageable.”
And even if you can’t give your time, you can always donate your monetary support.
To learn more about WCFR, click here.
Meet more of our local heroes—and nominate your own—at www.hvmag.com/hvhero.