By Callie Crossley via https://www.wgbh.org/
I first learned of Dr. Kizzmekia “Kizzy” Corbett back in October during Massachusetts STEM Week. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math, and this year’s theme was “See Yourself in STEM” — a message aimed at young women, especially those from marginalized communities, to inspire their curiosity and interest in this growing field.
In preparation for my radio conversation with some of these young women, I searched for success stories of women of color in STEM. I was so excited to discover that Corbett, a 34-year-old viral immunologist, is the co-team leader of the vaccine scientists’ group at the National Institutes of Health. Corbett, who is African American, worked closely with Cambridge-based biotech company Moderna, which adapted a vaccine concept shedeveloped at NIH.
Her role in the vaccine development is now more important than ever as public health officials like her NIH colleague Dr. Anthony Fauci try to allay fears and dismiss conspiracies among the so-called vaccine reticent — those Americans who are not sure that they trust the COVID vaccines to be safe and effective. And many of the nearly half of Americans who say they will not take the vaccine are people of color skeptical because of this country’s history of medical racism.
Of that history, the Tuskegee Study, which began in 1932, is etched in the psyche of Black Americans. They know…