Trainee Stories: Ijeoma Okeigwe, MD, MPH

Trainee Stories: Ijeoma Okeigwe, MD, MPH


My name is Ijeoma Okeigwe, and I am a second-year
fellow in the division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. My parents are immigrants from Nigeria, and
my dad said that the person who had the greatest impact on our village was an OB-GYN. That definitely shaped my interest in medicine. My parents very much believed in the notion
that, to whom much is given, much is expected. And we very much believe that it is important
to reach back and help your community and help others. That was a common theme throughout my life
and coupled with the fact that I love the sciences, and I discovered a huge passion
for women’s health issues even more on a public health and policy level. It just all made sense for me to be an OB-GYN. I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but I didn’t
know that I wanted to pursue research. And it wasn’t until I actually decided to get my master’s in public health. I started to do more population based research,
that I realized “Okay, this is exciting!” After I built my toolbox of public health
knowledge, I was ready to start medical school. And so, I started at the University of California,
San Fransisco. During residency, I discovered that I really
love the science behind reproductive endocrinology. That then led me here to Northwestern, where
we have some of the best experts in fibroid research, and I knew as part of fellowship,
that I would have to devote at least eighteen months of protected time to basic science research. My goal with my research, since it focuses
on fibroids, is really to use the knowledge that is gained from understanding these molecular
pathways to identify therapeutics that can actually help to prevent this disease. So the exact mechanisms through which fibroids
actually continue to grow are not fully understood, and currently in our lab we are starting to
realize that there may be links to lipid metabolism. And so, that’s an exciting area that I am learning
more about. Here at Northwestern, we have some the best
leaders and researchers in the field, who are committed to actually providing mentorship. I have been fortunate in the way my program
is structured, to where I am not working eighty hours a week. And so, that really allows me to have greater
balance and enjoy this great city.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *