The friendship that Drs. Maria Demma Cabral and Ethel Clemente share spans nearly a decade, back to the day they met in 2009 as new residents in the Pediatric residency program at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey.
They would go their separate ways after residency – Dr. Cabral completed an Adolescent Medicine fellowship in Miami and Dr. Clemente completed a Pediatric Endocrinology fellowship in Cleveland – but their paths crossed again in 2015 when they each began stints as assistant professors in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Now, Dr. Cabral and Dr. Clemente are taking the next step in their respective careers together again as the newest faculty in WMed’s Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
Dr. Cabral, who began her new role at WMed on July 16, is an assistant professor and chief of the medical school’s new Division of Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Clemente, meanwhile, came to the medical school on August 20 as an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
“She’s more than a friend,” Dr. Cabral said of Dr. Clemente. “She’s really family. We’re very close and it’s an exciting start for both of us again.”
Drs. Cabral and Clemente are both natives of the Philippines where they earned bachelor’s degrees in Biology from the University of the Philippines Manila and De La Salle University in 2002 and 1997, respectively.
Dr. Cabral earned her MD degree from the University of the Philippines Manila in 2007 and worked as a physician in the Philippines for a year before coming the U.S. to complete her pediatrics residency.
Dr. Clemente earned her Doctor of Medicine and Surgery degree in 2001 from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila where she also completed a one-year post-graduate internship in 2002 and a three-year residency in Pediatrics in 2006. She followed that up with a three-year Pediatrics residency in New Jersey.
Now that they’ve arrived at WMed, both Dr. Cabral and Dr. Clemente said they’re excited to be a part of the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and look forward to working directly with medical students and residents, and providing care for patients that will benefit the community.
As head of the medical school’s new Division of Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Cabral said she is excited to lead efforts to grow and expand specialized services at WMed’s Pediatrics Clinic for patients 10 and older, from providing preventive adolescent health care to dealing with pubertal concerns, reproductive health issues, mental health problems such as eating disorders, among other areas.
“Part of the mission is to provide specialized care for our adolescents,” Dr. Cabral said. “They have unique needs in terms of high-risk behaviors and they’re in a unique developmental stage … The vision is to expand the specialized care services and collaborate with community physicians.”
Dr. Clemente said her decision to come to Kalamazoo was rooted in her passion for teaching and the chance to play a role in educating future physicians at a new medical school like WMed.
“I knew that, at WMed, I would be more involved in teaching medical students and residents while continuing with the clinical aspect of things and being able to serve the community,” Dr. Clemente said.
Dr. Clemente said she was drawn to Pediatric Endocrinology because it gives her the opportunity to serve patients with complex conditions like diabetes and hormone disorders that require significant continuity of care. She said she’s excited to be able to bring her expertise to bear in Kalamazoo to provide care and services that are vital for patients.
“There is always a need for Pediatric Endocrinologists” Dr. Clemente said. “We take care of children and adolescents with needs and concerns that require specialized and coordinated care so having us as a resource is helpful for the community.”
“The goal is that we can provide for the needs of the community locally.”