Jacquelyn Hoffman, a second-year medical student at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, has been awarded the two-year, Shirley D. Curson Medical Student Scholarship.
The scholarship, of about $15,000 per year in a student’s third and fourth years of medical school, is awarded through the UA Hillel Foundation. It is a merit-based award that recognizes Jewish students with a personal history of social or civic responsibility and involvement.
“When I received the news, I was ecstatic—it is a great honor,” Hoffman says. “This scholarship will enable me to continue to pursue my dream of becoming an obstetrics and gynecology physician while reducing the financial burden of the cost of my medical education.”
The scholarship is important “not only because it provides significant relief for awardees from medical school indebtedness,” says Nancy Koff, Ph.D., UA Hillel Foundation board member and chair of the scholarship committee. “It recognizes awardees’ past demonstration of outstanding leadership and commitment to Jewish life and the expression of Jewish values and to helping those who are medically underserved, and encourages their continuing commitment to these values throughout their medical education and future practice of medicine.”
Hoffman holds a bachelor’s degree in gender and women’s studies from the University of California, Berkeley. As an undergraduate, she volunteered at an STD clinic in La Plata, Argentina, and implemented a local human papillomavirus awareness campaign to ensure that women understand the importance of regular pap smears. Hoffman also volunteered at the San Francisco General Hospital Infertility Clinic with immigrant women who were struggling to conceive. Both experiences inspired Hoffman to pursue obstetrics and gynecology, and serve women in low-resource communities where knowledge and access to health care may be limited.
Hoffman says she one day hopes “to practice in a socio-culturally diverse clinical setting providing both surgical and clinical care for women; I intend to advocate for my patients and for reproductive health in the broader sense.” Hoffman will earn her medical degree in May 2021.