The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will honor Kizzmekia “Kizzy” Corbett with the UWM Chancellor’s Innovation Award for her work developing a COVID-19 vaccine. The award will be conferred during a public, virtual event on Wednesday, May 12, at 2 p.m.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to honor Dr. Corbett at a time when vaccines are profoundly changing the world on local, national and international scales,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “The Innovation Award ceremony is an opportunity for us to celebrate people whose ideas make the world a better place, and Dr. Corbett certainly exemplifies that. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.”
Corbett is an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health, and her work was instrumental in creating the Moderna vaccine. She and Dr. Barney Graham led a team of scientists who developed a COVID-19 vaccine with up to 95% efficacy.
Dr. Anthony Fauci called her a “rising star” in a tribute piece he wrote when Time magazine named Corbett to its 2021 TIME100 Next list of emerging leaders in February 2021.
The UWM event will take place a few hours before Corbett takes part in a nationally televised town hall on the vaccination rollout with President Joe Biden, Fauci, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.
Corbett is among a group of 60 Black members of the National Academy of Medicine who spend their free time talking to communities of color about science and vaccine hesitancy. Keenly aware of health disparities for people of color, Corbett says this awareness has motivated her to develop vaccines that can help everyone equally.
The UWM Chancellor’s Innovation Award is supported by the Argosy Foundation. The award recognizes individuals whose lives or careers embody the concept of leadership and innovation. Previous recipients include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, Fiserv President and CEO Jeff Yabuki, Retired Bath & Body Works CEO Beth Pritchard, WEC Energy Group Executive Chairman Gale Klappa, Burd Health Founder and CEO Steve Burd, and Academy Award-winning writer and director John Ridley IV.