February is Black History Month. As Infinity Rehab therapists and healthcare professionals, we have been influenced by Black healthcare leaders and pioneers in our field who have come before us and are inspired by our contemporary advocates and champions who are shaping the world around us. From across all aspects of health and wellness, here are a few stories of individuals whose passion, innovation, and commitment are impacting the care we provide.
Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, PhD
Dr. Corbett is a pivotal Black healthcare leader. She is a 2008 graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a BS in biological sciences and sociology. Additionally, she is a 2014 graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a PhD in microbiology and immunology. She is a viral immunologist with over 15 years of experience studying dengue virus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, and coronaviruses. Dr. Corbett’s research on vaccines and messenger RNA have been paramount to the development of the vaccines against Sars-Covid-2.
Dr. Lela Llorens, PhD, OTR, FAOTA
Dr. Lela Llorens earned a BS degree in occupational therapy from Western Michigan University. Additionally, she has a MA in vocational rehabilitation from Wayne State University. She also received a doctor of philosophy degree from Walden University. Plus, she has a certificate in gerontology from San Jose State University. Throughout a dynamic career as a healthcare leader, Dr. Llorens was instrumental in furthering OT research and contributed significantly to the body of published literature, covering the entire lifespan.
Marilouise E. Nichols, M.S., CCC-SLP
Marilouise Nichols is a speech-language pathologist focusing on dysphagia in medically complex patients and neurogenic communication disorders in adult inpatient rehabilitation and acute care. She earned a BA in psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and a MS in speech pathology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. As a Black healthcare leader, Marilouise is shaping the next generation of SLPs through mentorship and advocacy.
Theodore “Ted” Corbitt, MPT
Ted Corbitt was an avid champion of health and fitness. A lifelong marathon runner, Ted completed 223 marathons and ultra-marathons in his lifetime and was the first African American marathoner to represent the USA in the Olympics. Furthermore, at the age of 82, he walked 303 miles in a single six-day race. Ted was committed to teaching and clinical excellence and furthered the understanding and application of numerous interventions. This included connective tissue massage, deep muscle therapy, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) techniques, and progressive resistance exercises.
Thanks to the collective work, research, and efforts of these Black healthcare leaders and so many others, Infinity clinicians are able to provide the best of science with the art of caring to our patients and communities.
Tim Nwachukwu/The New York Times via Getty Images, SJSU.edu, ASHA, and Personal Records – Ted Corbitt Archives.