Believe in Yourself! Celebrating 25 Years with Speech-Language Pathologist, Kori Mizuta-Yamamoto

Friday, May 31, 2024

This year, Kori Mizuta-Yamamoto celebrated 25 years as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) at REHAB. She has experienced so many things over the past 25 years, and laughed as she recalled the casual afternoon that started her quarter-of-a-century journey. “I just took one of those professional personality tests in college,” she shared. “The result said that I had personality traits that would make me a good candidate for the speech-language pathology field–and here we are!”

That casual afternoon would lead to numerous years of schooling, hands-on learning and a final practicum that she completed at none other than REHAB. After graduating with her masters degree and a strong passion for working with adults, she was excited to hear of an open position at REHAB and jumped at the chance to join the team officially. “I was so honored when my old supervisor called and suggested that I apply, and even more excited for the chance to work with REHAB’s community again!” Kori shared.

Today, working with patients is still her favorite part of the job. “I really care for my patients and their families,” she said. “Helping people regain a piece of themselves–their speech or ability to swallow–is really tremendous. When someone is able to eat their favorite pizza or tells me they were able to send an email…it may seem small but these wins are BIG when just four weeks earlier they felt that they wouldn’t be able to do anything again.” 

Throughout her career, one of her key takeaways is the power of believing in oneself. “I had a patient that came in feeling incredibly down because her doctor had told her that it was not likely she would ever get better,” she said. “But I looked at her and said, ‘well…let’s prove them wrong.’ And after that, something was ignited within her.” Kori shared that following this conversation, her patient became incredibly motivated and actively applied herself to the therapy, both at REHAB and at home. “Sometimes the therapy technique is just being that person who is able to tell them that you see their improvements and believe in them–and that they have the power to believe in themselves.”

When not at REHAB, Kori can most often be found spending time with family or working in her garden where she grows vegetables, tropical fruits, dahlias and irises. Thank you for 25 great years of teamwork and community, Kori!