Two Jewish women nominated for YWCA awards

April 2023
Abigail Cukier

Marla Frank Davis says it makes her uncomfortable to toot her own horn. But she couldn’t stop a group from Temple Anshe Sholom from doing it for her. In recognition of her years of service to the Hamilton community, they nominated Frank Davis for a YWCA 2023 Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award.

“For so many years, Marla has been volunteering, giving of herself in so many ways,” says Temple Anshe Sholom cantor Paula Baruch. “She has been content to stay in the background and champion others, all the while contributing mightily to the success of various projects. Marla inspires others to devote their skills to the growth of community and is a positive role model for everyone.”

Professionally, Frank Davis is a specialized X-ray technologist in the cardiac and vascular program at Hamilton Health Sciences. Over the years, she has volunteered for organizations including the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Interval House and sat on the board of Hamilton Jewish Federation. She and her late husband, Sean, participated in many fundraising events for Temple Anshe Sholom and for the larger Hamilton community, including organizing the Annual Going for Green Golf Tournament for Temple Anshe Sholom and an annual golf tournament and other fundraisers to benefit Camp Trillium, a program for children with cancer. A longtime member of the temple board, Frank Davis is now its president.

“In the last three years of the pandemic, the death of my sister in December 2020, and of Sean in June 2021, the anchor that kept me from being swept away was serving my community,” Frank Davis says.

“With the world at our fingertips, through the internet and social media, we fancy ourselves part of a global community, however, when all is said and done, it is our heritage and our spiritual community close to home, that will sustain us through difficult times. I am happy to do my small part to fortify Temple Anshe Sholom and our Hamilton community.”

Temple Rabbi Jordan Cohen says Frank Davis is worthy of many accolades. “This focused and determined woman does all of this while working full time as a medical professional and managing as a single mother,” he wrote in his letter supporting the nomination. 

 “She is truly a phenomenon, yet functions with a quiet and humble demeanor. She is a force for good in the Jewish community and beyond.”

Lifetime Achievement Award
A device to help control delivery of asthma medication and aerosol delivery of a tuberculosis vaccine are just two of the breakthrough developments Myrna Dolovich has been involved in during her decades-long career in aerosol research.

In recognition of her distinguished career, Dolovich was recently nominated for a YWCA 2023 Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I was very honoured to be nominated,” Dolovich says. “There were quite a number of exceptional women nominated from all different fields and I was delighted to be included in this group.” 

Dolovich and her husband Jerry moved to Hamilton in 1968, where he joined the new McMaster University medical school faculty in pediatrics. With a degree in electrical engineering from McGill University, Dolovich started working at St. Joseph’s Hospital in the Firestone Institute of Respiratory Health soon after they arrived.

She was part of the team that developed the AeroChamber™, which helps adults and children more easily deliver their pressurized asthma and COPD medications to the lung. The inhaled delivery concept she helped develop for a tuberculosis vaccine is being used for testing inhaled COVID-19 vaccines, which can be  delivered into the lung via aerosol, targeting sites in the lung to provide better protection against respiratory pathogens.

In 2009, Dolovich started Aerosol School, a three-day teaching program for practical laboratory experience in aerosol basics, measurements and techniques. Registrants have come from around the world to her research lab and the program continues this year. She has also authored 165 articles in medical literature and has spoken extensively on drug delivery systems and imaging before and after treating the lung with aerosol medications. 

“Myrna has made major contributions to the Aerochamber and techniques for imaging the lungs so we understand lung disease,” says Dr. Dawn Bowdish, a professor at McMaster University and the Canada Research Chair in Aging & Immunity. “Her technology is key to the inhaled vaccines that are being developed at McMaster and elsewhere that we hope will make vaccination easier, better prevent transmission and provide longer lasting protection. She’s an unsung hero!”