Finding Hope and Healing at the Tolbert Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness: An Interview with Dr. Glenna and Kelvin Tolbert

Finding Hope and Healing at the Tolbert Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness: An Interview with Dr. Glenna and Kelvin Tolbert

Perhaps it was the tranquil color of the paint on the wall, the backdrop of the fountain, the aromatherapy scent permeating the room or the 'FAITH' sign hanging on a patient room that made me feel at ease when I met the husband and wife team, Mr. Kelvin and Dr. Glenna Tolbert, of the Tolbert Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness where they strive to help people find hope and healing from a life with pain.   

Married thirty-one years, Dr. Tolbert, 56, and her husband, Kelvin, 57, are best friends and business partners who would not have it any other way. Originally from Inglewood and then Altadena, California, Dr. Tolbert met Kelvin, who hails from Carson by way of Compton, at UCLA. He majored in mathematics and she in medicine. Initially, Dr. Tolbert was accepted into UCLA for engineering but changed her major to medicine after realizing that she liked people too much.

Although they would see each other on campus because they lived in the same dorm, it wasn't until they both participated in the Freshman Summer Program for “colored folk” that a connection was made. Respect, work ethic, discipline, and dignity were virtues bestowed upon both Dr. Tolbert and Kelvin by their parents. “My father was a lab tech. He brought his work home. We drove in the car with my father's specimen. He took an interest in us, and because he took an interest, I felt I could do anything,” said Dr. Tolbert. She went on to share that her mother was an educator who kept books everywhere. “I was always reading books like Black Boy and Invisible Man.”

A reader as well, Kelvin, chuckled as he shared that he read to stay out of trouble. With a mother who was a homemaker and a father who was a brick mason, Kelvin shared, “My father didn't play.” The parents of three grown sons themselves, 24, 26, and 29, Kelvin and Dr. Tolbert, always instilled in their sons the importance of God first, family, service, and excellence as prime virtues. These same virtues have guided everything the Tolberts have put their hands to since becoming one.

Although Kelvin has been in real estate for thirty-five years as a very successful franchisor who at one point owned a host of commercial properties and had two offices with as many as twenty-six real estate agents under him, he currently has an office in Sherman Oaks with just two agents. When asked why he decided to scale down, Kelvin replied, “I'm human. At some point, you have to consider the limiting part.” I was quite familiar with real estate being called passive income, but Kelvin introduced me to its sister term: horizontal income. Taking full advantage of the benefits of horizontal income, Kelvin gave himself the freedom to fully support his wife as she opened the Tolbert Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness sixteen years ago in Encino, California.

Having lived with constant pain from her preteen years until well into her thirties, which resulted in her spending a lot of time in the orthopedic world, Dr. Tolbert decided that she had to “get herself out of pain.”

Through acquiring her medical degree from Howard University, working in medical facilities such as Encino Hospital Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center, and becoming a double board-certified physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. Tolbert put her decades of accumulated experience into developing a practice that would restore patients to the highest quality of life without medication or surgery.

Dr. Tolbert has long been concerned about the degree to which Corporate America has hijacked the medical profession and patients who are over-medicated on medication that depletes the nutrients from their bodies while also making their hormones crazy. At the state-of-the-art Center, she and her team use an assortment of carefully selected regenerative medicine procedures that include: Platelet Rich Plasma, Prolotherapy, Stem Cell Injections, and Hormone Replacement Therapy to assist the body in healing itself.

Dr. Tolbert believes in transparency. She believes in being honest with her patients. Having helped more than 3,000 patients heal without surgery, she reminds people who come to her office that “It's in the system's best interest to make you think you're sick.” At the same token, she acknowledges that “It's difficult to deprogram people.” Admittedly, Dr. Tolbert does not work in isolation. She has a like-minded team that is equally committed to the mission of her center. And to ensure that they are always taking the boldest steps toward hope and healing, she invites her team to share their innovative ideas, some of which she believes can “save a life.”

In this extraordinary time called the Coronavirus Pandemic, aka COVID-19, Dr. Tolbert understands that it is going to take innovative ideas from her and her staff to ensure all of her patients receive adequate care. In her recent blog post, Dr. Tolbert message is to “stay calm during this stressful time.” She goes on to say, “For many people, the coronavirus pandemic may seem like something that is completely out of control. With the number of reported infections continuing to rise exponentially in the U.S. and around the world, we are no doubt in uncharted territory. For our patients at the Tolbert Center, many of whom deal with painful musculoskeletal conditions on a daily basis, I can understand how you might be especially concerned because our entire healthcare system is getting ready to be tested. But did you know that the most important thing to do at this challenging moment is to not fall victim to fear and panic?”

“It will be creative ideas and compassionate decisions that make all the difference for us in the end,” Dr. Tolbert cautions each of us. “Now is not the time to revert back to blaming other people for a disease that has unknown origins. It is also not the time to become so caught up in our own pride that we don't take this outbreak seriously.”

Dr. Tolbert goes on to outline her main points: 1) We've Done This Before. We have capable scientists around the world, and the good news is that we've done this before; 2) [It's] an Opportunity to Care for One Another; 3) Listen to What Local Health Officials Are Saying; and 4) 'Equanimity Under Duress' which means to maintain a degree of calmness and tranquility because that will allow you to do what is appropriate in any circumstance.  To read more, click here

And while his wife and her capable team are carefully taking care of patients, Kelvin is busy taking care of the back of the house matters such as counting dollars, managing expenses, determining how to market their brand and who to market it to.

When asked what matters most at this point in their lives, Dr. Tolbert and Kelvin unanimously agreed that it's family and fulfilling their purpose. They are both big on educating “our folk.” Whether it's about real estate or how to take care of your body, education is essential. In fact, as a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Dr. Tolbert has been honored three years in a row for her dedication. About her love for teaching, Dr. Tolbert says, “I enjoy the fresh brains and seeing the hope of young hearts.” She went on to say that not only is she teaching her students, her students teach her as well.

Because the Tolberts take wellness to heart, they rely on quarterly staycations to reset and re-calibrate. To reach a broader Los Angeles base, the Tolberts opened a new office in Beverly Hills on La Cienega Boulevard in 2018.

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