Hillel Graduate Student Award Recipient: Miriam Borvick



July 21, 2023

When I found myself in the midst of a global pandemic while caring for a medically-complex newborn, I was eager to find a way to help others through this challenging time. I saw an ad from the Jewish Orthodox Women’s Medical Association’s (JOWMA) Covid-19 Task Force in March 2021 looking for someone to draft memos with the latest Covid-19 updates, and I jumped at the opportunity to address the unique, cultural needs of the Orthodox Jewish communities in New York. 

Writing these memos felt like something small that I, as a mom and full-time undergraduate student, could do from home while my baby napped. I never dreamed that it would lead to much greater opportunities—including the opportunity to create and direct a vaccine education hotline that addressed vaccine inequity in the Orthodox Jewish community and received over 5,000 calls.

A few months after I created the Covid-19 Vaccine Education hotline, I became JOWMA’s first-ever Community Health Director. I recognized that our communities would need innovative ways to build trust in doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. I developed a community health program to provide Orthodox Jewish communities with access to evidence-based, high-quality health information and to create moments of direct, genuine connection between health professionals and community members.

Since creating the community health program in May 2022, I have overseen over $700,000 in grants, directed over 60 volunteers, organized nearly 100 in-person events across Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Rockland County, and reached hundreds of people to provide culturally-sensitive, evidence-based health education to the Orthodox Jewish communities. My programming covers a wide range of preventative health topics, from vaccine education to fostering positive mental health in teenagers and everything in between. 

As a mother entering medical school, I am truly honored to be selected for the Hillel Graduate Student Award for demonstrating extraordinary leadership abilities and academic excellence. This award recognizes my unwavering commitment to service, leadership, and the countless hours poured into my studies while balancing the rewarding role of motherhood. With heartfelt gratitude, I embrace this award with renewed inspiration to continue using my unique combination of medical knowledge and empathetic communication to bring quality healthcare and education to the Jewish community.

Miriam is an incoming medical student at the University of Nevada, Los Vegas.