Student Spotlight: Metabel Markwei

When Metabel (Metty) Markwei (’22) was a child, she quickly earned the nickname of “kasapole,” meaning “the talkative one” in her native language. She grew up living in a small annex to her family’s medical clinic in Accra, Ghana. Metty was naïve to the inner workings of the North Ridge Clinic, except when she delivered her grandmother’s homemade meals to patients.

“When they sent me with food trays, I would talk to the patients and nurses for hours,” she recalls. Little did she know that she would decide to pursue a career in medicine years later.

The first in her family to come to the United States for college, Metty attended Yale for undergrad and majored in medical anthropology and global health. Her initial goal was to learn how sociocultural and systemic forces shape healthcare, and her experiences along the way clarified her passion for women’s health. She attended Johns Hopkins University for graduate school and will graduate from CCLCM this May. In March, she matched at her first-choice residency program, Stanford Healthcare in California, where she will train to become an obstetrician-gynecologist.

Metty’s clinical experiences in medical school reinforced her recognition that women’s health disparities are a global phenomenon. As a result, she co-pioneered the Minority Maternal Health Initiative (MMHI), a medical student patient-navigator program designed to provide expectant minority mothers in Cuyahoga County with social resources and care throughout their pregnancy. Through this program, medical students assist Black, Hispanic and Native American mothers with resources to help mitigate issues around transportation, housing insecurity, food instability and intimate partner violence.

Metty is extremely grateful for her co-leads Maria Moncaliano (CWRU University Program ’23), Cydni Akesson (’24) and Sokhna Seck (’24) as well as mentors Cesar Padilla, MD; Monica Yepes-Rios, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine; and Stacie Jhaveri, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Ob/Gyn and Reproductive Biology, whose efforts were vital to the project’s launch.

In February, Metty furthered her training in Ghana, where she shadowed at a rural hospital and at the University of Ghana Medical Center. At the former, she worked with midwives, ob/gyns and traditional birth attendants. Afterward, she worked alongside the University of Ghana’s medical director and ob/gyn, Dr. Kwame Anim-Boamah.

Looking back on her time at the University of Ghana Medical Center, Metty recalls that “it was such a beautiful exchange of ideas. It was important for me to compare all I’ve learned in the U.S. with the context of where I come from.” She hopes that the research and care she provides in the future will impact minority populations in the U.S. and back home.

Metty would like to thank her personal and clinical mentors during medical school: Oluwatosin Goje, MD, Associate Professor of Ob/Gyn & Reproductive Biology, and Kendalle Cobb, MD, Associate Chief of Staff and Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine.

“I consider myself blessed to be surrounded by such phenomenal and inspiring female physicians who care so much about me and remind me that I am enough, yet still push me to do more,” she says.

Outside her studies, Metty enjoys gathering with small groups of friends over food and hearty conversation, long walks with friends around Cleveland Heights and any Cleveland Metroparks trails that lead to a body of water (among her favorites are Twin Sister Falls, and Lakefront and Rocky River reservations). As her chapter in Cleveland draws to a close, she values time spent with her classmates and junior colleagues that she only now realizes she has mentored informally over the years.

When Metty visits her hometown, her reputation as a young child is fondly remembered by many former patients and nurses in the North Ridge Clinic. When she tells them what she’s up to now, most are not surprised that she chose to pursue a career in medicine. She plans to continue her family legacy (her uncle and grandfather are both ob/gyns, her late grandmother was a midwife, her aunty is a pediatrician, and her mother is a family physician) both in practice and ideology.

“When I think of the clinic I grew up in, I think of a compound of people, a close-knit family, that was very compassionate about what they did, and would go above and beyond for people even when they didn’t have that much,” she says. “And that’s what stayed with me. That’s been my driving force. That’s the kind of medicine I’d like to practice in the future. I think the greatest gift they gave me is wholehearted, compassionate care.”