Julie Kornfeld is so inspired by the graduate students she guides in the master’s in public health (M.P.H.) and the combined M.D./M.P.H programs at the Miller School of Medicine that she is compelled to help them succeed. “They are passionate about transforming the health of our communities,” says the assistant dean for public health in the Department of Public Health Sciences. “But graduate education is expensive, and I want to help remove the financial barriers for our students.”
Kornfeld has been contributing to the University for more than 20 years through the United Way and Momentum2 campaigns. “My donations have primarily been focused on providing scholarships for our public health students,” she says. “My dream is for every qualified student to be able to afford the training they need to address our nation’s public health problems.”
Kornfeld grew up in Philadelphia and worked in television and the nonprofit sector before joining the University 21 years ago. A double UM alumna, she earned a master’s degree in public health in 1997 and a doctoral degree in 2009. Her husband, Fred Silverman, a TV producer and communications consultant who also has taught at UM, is now enrolled at the University as a graduate film student. They have three children, Dylan, Morgan, and Ely.
“We all volunteer our time and raise funds for nonprofit organizations,” she says. “There are so many needs in our community, and we believe its important to give something back.”
At the University, Kornfeld plays a critical role in the development and implementation of the Miller School’s public health curriculum. Since 2010, she has served as the co-principal investigator on an educational development grant to accelerate the M.D./M.P.H. program so students can obtain both degrees in four years rather than five. She is also an active instructor for a wide variety of public health courses, including special seminars for dual degree programs at the law and medical schools.
Reflecting on the importance of donations, Kornfeld says, “I believe that all faculty and staff members should support UM. It’s important for our University’s future and it demonstrates to our students and co-workers that we truly believe in what we do every day.”