eora Lieberman, MD ’19, and Robert Eisinger, PhD ’20, MD ’22, owe their medical foundation and their relationship’s origins to the UF College of Medicine — and a friend who dabbled in matchmaking. Now, they plan to give back to both.
When Lieberman was in her third year of medical school, her friend and classmate Emma Segal, MD ’19, urged her to meet Eisinger, who was in his second year of the MD-PhD Training Program. Thanks to Segal’s matchmaking abilities, the two went on a date in 2018, and the rest is history.
The couple spent time together but apart when Eisinger stayed in Gainesville to complete his MD-PhD training and Lieberman moved to Pennsylvania for residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2019. Three years later, Eisinger matched at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is now a neurology resident.
Upon closing the more than 900-mile gap that separated them and reflecting on their time at the College of Medicine, the couple wanted to thank the institution and the friend who gave them the experiences they cherish. Last June, Lieberman and Eisinger established the Dr. Emma Segal Award to help ease the financial burden for medical students applying to residency programs and participating in the couples match.
Medicine, academia and long-distance relationships can pose a difficult balancing act. Couples who want to stay together may need to travel more often or apply to more residency programs to ensure they live in the same city, which is an expensive process.
“We didn’t want people to apply to fewer places and risk not being able to be together because they don’t have the extra finances to apply,” Eisinger said. “We’re hoping that for couples who want to stay together, they’re able to do so more easily with these extra funds that can support their applications.”
The Dr. Emma Segal Award aims to support College of Medicine students who are in relationships and helps couples align their paths.
“This award just goes to show how caring and kind Robert and Leora are and how much they want to give back,” said Segal, who remains close friends with Eisinger and Lieberman and received a FaceTime call after they got engaged in July 2021. “We can all say how much we loved being part of UF College of Medicine. You develop long-lasting relationships, and this award sheds light on that.”
Lieberman and Eisinger’s love for one another and the College of Medicine inspired this award that hopes to keep other love stories alive.
“We both are really grateful that our foundational learning was in an environment that was so supportive, warm and loving,” Lieberman said. “We are grateful for the people and the community. We hope we can support other students in their journeys.”