An alumna supports the scholarship fund that once supported her
By Stacey Bomser
Photography by Cardoni
lizabeth (Libby) Patberg, M.D. ’14, celebrated signing her first contract as a maternal fetal medicine physician by pledging her first donation to the John K. Robinson Fund at the Miller School of Medicine. She says it’s her way of giving back to the scholarship program that helped her to become a physician.
Dr. Patberg had been working in public health, primarily focused on global women’s sexual and reproductive health, when she realized her true calling. She took the plunge and enrolled in post-baccalaureate courses so she could apply to medical school.
While meeting with the admissions committee at the Miller School, Dr. Patberg felt an immediate sense of community. She appreciated not only the academic excellence the Miller School would provide, but also the unique opportunity to serve a diverse and often vulnerable patient population through programs such as the Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service (Wolfson DOCS). Dr. Patberg took full advantage of the student-run program, volunteering with Wolfson DOCS for all four years of medical school and taking on a number of leadership positions.
What cemented her decision to attend the Miller School over other schools was the offer of a John K. Robinson Scholarship. Named for the long-serving former associate dean for student affairs, the fund supports medical scholarships and travel grants.
“I’m in a fortunate position today because I don’t have as much in student loans as some of my colleagues because of the scholarship, so I feel strongly about giving back,” said Dr. Patberg, a maternal fetal medicine fellow at NYU Langone Hospital – Long Island. Recently, she has been researching how COVID-19 infection damages the placenta.
As a Miller School graduate, Dr. Patberg believes it is her duty to support future students.
“We have a crisis in this country in terms of the cost of medical education,” she continued. “It’s preventing highly qualified and motivated candidates from becoming doctors, and that’s a shame. I want UM to continue to be competitive and attract top candidates. Scholarships are a big component of that.”
Dr. Patberg encourages other young alumni to prioritize philanthropy, noting that every gift, big or small, makes a tangible impact.
“A little goes a long way. If we all give what we can, we can ensure UM remains a top-tier program,” Dr. Patberg said.
“It’s important to me as an alumna that the institution I graduated from remains a well-regarded academic institution and a pillar of excellence in the community.”