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Corbin Foundation

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2022 edition of Promise magazine.

The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation: Combatting traumatic stress and addiction with virtual reality

For more than three decades, The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation has supported Summa Health in applying the latest research, equipment and technology — and putting the most advanced tools in the hands of its expert physicians. 

Most recently, The Corbin Foundation granted significant funds in support of the Summa Health Traumatic Stress and Addiction Medicine Centers and the use of innovative virtual reality technology to combat traumatic stress and addiction. 

“The generosity of The Corbin Foundation will help our patients live out simulated scenarios that activate and process their emotions in healthy ways using virtual reality technology,” said Patrick Palmieri, Ph.D., chief psychologist and vice chair of the Summa Health Department of Psychiatry and holder of the Jim and Vanita Oelschlager Chair in Traumatic Stress. Dr. Palmieri also serves as director of the Summa Health Traumatic Stress Center, which is a nationally recognized leader in the treatment of traumatic stress. 

“Virtual reality treatments are especially effective for patients living with posttraumatic stress or with alcohol or other substance use disorders,” he said. 

According to statistics, about 9 million of the U.S. adult population is affected by post-traumatic stress disorders. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the opioid crisis with an overdose death increase of 31 percent. 

The Corbin Foundation has a longstanding history in support of addiction treatments. David C. Corbin, a member of the Lay Advisory Board at St. Thomas Hospital (1958-1968) and vice chair (1963-1964), was an early supporter of St. Thomas’s groundbreaking work in addiction medicine. 

“Today, as well as then, there are few medical issues having greater impact on our families and society than addiction. Also, stress related to trauma is believed to be a significant contributing factor to addiction,” said Michael A. Sweeney, a Corbin Foundation Trustee. 

“As a successor to St. Thomas’s proud history, Summa Health continues to provide leading-edge treatment for those suffering from addiction, traumatic stress and related illnesses through the Summa Health Behavioral Health Institute,” he said. 

“Following the leadership of David C. Corbin, The Corbin Foundation is proud to support Summa Health in this important work to restore addiction patients to full, productive lives.” 

The extraordinary generosity of The Corbin Foundation will be recognized in the Juve Family Behavioral Health Pavilion — the new home of the Behavioral Health Institute and the Summa Health Traumatic Stress Center — opening on the Akron Campus in January 2023. 

For more information about supporting Summa Health, please contact Vanessa Sampsel at 330.375.7840 or


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