Uche Ehiemua has known for some time that she wants to be a doctor. So when the University of Houston-Victoria alumna received the news that she was accepted into a Texas medical school, she was thrilled.
“I’ve always thought of working with Doctors Without Borders and helping as much as possible in underdeveloped countries,” Ehiemua said. “Getting into medical school is a step in that direction.”
Ehiemua, who moved to Houston from Nigeria 10 years ago, received her Master of Science in biomedical science in spring 2019 from UHV. She also has a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from the University of Houston. Ehiemua will attend the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in fall 2021.
In mid-July, Ehiemua started a new job at a clinical research organization in McAllen and chose to postpone her first year of medical school until 2021 so that she could gain experience in a clinical lab setting. Ehiemua is grateful to those who have helped her on her academic journey, including her mother, mentors and UHV faculty members.
“Uche is an awesome student,” said Daniel White, UHV director of biology and chemistry. “She works hard and deserves to go to medical school. At UHV, we are small enough that we are able to give students more personalized attention to help them be successful.”
Ehiemua said the biomedical program at UHV helped her have a greater understanding of the medical field. After she graduated from UHV, she worked as a medical scribe in the emergency room at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. As a medical scribe, she worked with physicians to document patients’ symptoms and recorded each step of the appointment.
“Because of the classes I took at UHV, I was able to have a deeper understanding of biomedical sciences, medical terminology and different medications,” she said. “My professors at UHV have really helped me be successful, and I am thankful.”
At the clinic in McAllen, Ehiemua is part of a team conducting clinical trials and research about Alzheimer’s disease and testosterone. The clinic also soon will work on two COVID-19 vaccine trials. Ehiemua has spent the last couple of weeks diving into her new role and studies.
“I haven’t had a moment to sit down and let the news of getting into medical school really sink in because my days have been so busy,” she said. “But for me, this is what I signed up for. While the days are long and stressful, I am glad to have this experience before medical school, and I like being active and being a part of the solution for COVID-19. I am helping to make a difference.”
After she completes medical school, Ehiemua would like to be a surgical specialist, perhaps in obstetrics and women’s health.
“As a Black woman, I feel like there are not a lot of people of color in this field, and there is a high mortality rate for Black women who give birth,” Ehiemua said. “I want to be able to give back and help. I want to be the best I can be.”