2018-10-10 / Local News

Longtime Israel supporter Joan Rosen Bloch set for honor


FAMILY: Husband, Dr. Jay Bloch; children, Deborah (Adam Goldstein), Paul, Aaron, and Noah

SYNAGOGUE: Chabad in Cherry Hill

PETS: Sweet Pea and Dazzle, Wheaton Terriers

HOBBIES: Gardening, walking, rowing on the Cooper River

LIKES TO READ: Historical fiction

Longtime South Jersey resident Joan Rosen Bloch said she was “humbled and honored” when told that she will receive the distinguished Torch of Learning Award from American Associates of Ben-Gurion University (AABGU) of the Negev at its upcoming annual gala event in Philadelphia on November 4. The busy wife, mother, and Drexel University professor said that she never imagined where combining her professional love of learning with her love of Israel would lead.

A Philadelphia native, Bloch, who holds a Ph.D, is currently an Associate Professor and Director of Global Health Initiatives in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, with a secondary appointment in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at Drexel University.

“My goal since 1981 had been maximizing optimal health and wellness for all women.” Her first position after becoming a Nurse Practitioner in the early 1980s was in the Powelton Village section of Philadelphia, where there was a high infant mortality rate. “That led me to get involved at a national level with the Women’s Health Feminist Movement,” to align herself with its focus on empowering women and reproductive health at its core. “I was most eager to help ensure access to high quality reproductive health care for all women across the United States. We saw dramatic improvements in maternal and infant health outcomes at that time,” she said.

Appreciated for her skills that span the fields of research, teaching, and clinical practice, Bloch is beloved by the countless nursing students she has mentored. Her next career frontier emerged in 2008, when Bloch’s professional research collaboration with the faculty of BGU began. According to Bloch, “In 1980, Israel and the U.S. had the same infant mortality rates. A closer look at the epidemiology revealed that over time, Israel’s infant mortality rate declined more than in the USA.”

She added, “I became familiar with an internationally renowned perinatal epidemiologist at BGU during my doctoral studies at U of P in the late ’90s. While doing my research in Philadelphia, I was intrigued as to why the maternal and infant mortality rates in Israel are much lower than in the U.S., and wanted to study how to improve maternal-infant health outcomes in the U.S. based on Israeli systems. In 2008, I finally had an opportunity to establish a relationship at an international research conference.” Her role within AABGU in Philadelphia as an academic bridge seems to perfectly describe the valuable scientific connections and collaborations that Bloch’s work and persistent vision have bought about.

On a personal note, Bloch and her husband, Dr. Jay Bloch, are the proud parents of four children. Bloch noted that two of her children attended Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Steeped in Judaism her whole life, her father, the late Sol Rosen, was a former president of the Philadelphia Association of Holocaust Survivors. Bloch also recalled that prior to developing her academic career, she devoted her time and energy as a board member of both the Jewish Community Relations Council and Kellman Brown Academy.

She also loved being a camp nurse at the JCC Camps at Medford, a position she held for 12 years when her own children were young. “I really got to know the community,” she said.

Bloch will be honored on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 11:30 a.m. at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

For tickets and more information, call (215) 884-4510. 

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