September 23, 2015 | Matt Kucinski

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 4–7 p.m., Calvin College Rehabilitation Services (1310 East Beltline), is hosting an open house.

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 4–7 p.m., Calvin College Rehabilitation Services (located at 1310 East Beltline in Grand Rapids) is hosting an open house. Opened earlier this month, the clinic brings together speech pathology and audiology, social work, physical and occupational therapy services—all under one roof.­

Calvin College, Western Michigan University (WMU) and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) are partnering on the unique venture that provides innovative, creative and collaborative care for people in west Michigan.

“We are really trying to push an integrated approach,” said Steven Vanderkamp, the newly hired director of the clinic. “We will all be working very closely together to make sure all of the clients’ needs are being addressed under one roof . Because of our proximity, it will make for easier communication. We have top-notch health professionals and faculty from three universities on board to provide specialized services for children and adults such as therapies for persons with Parkinson’s, MS, head and neck cancer, sensory integration issues, autism, traumatic brain injuries and pediatric hearing services.”

Creating opportunities through collaboration

In addition to managing the clinic, Vanderkamp, who has nearly 25 years of medical experience in west Michigan, will serve as a part-time physical therapist. He will be joined by faculty in physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, speech pathology and audiology. Calvin College, WMU and GVSU will provide graduate interns for those allied health services.

“We're very excited about the opening of the new clinic,” said Nancy Hock, coordinator of WMU’s occupational therapy program in Grand Rapids. “This kind of collaboration with other institutions and with the community is a great opportunity for WMU and a wonderful learning experience for our students.”

Added Barb Baker, associate professor of physical therapy at GVSU, "There is great excitement in the Grand Valley physical therapy department over this venture. Uniquely, this clinic will allow our physical therapy students the opportunity to experience treatment of neurological clients from an inter-collegiate and interdisciplinary perspective. This is meeting an enormous need in educating students, because neurological placements for students are limited.”

And Judith Vander Woude, chair of Calvin’s speech pathology and audiology department, says having her students work alongside occupational and physical therapists will help them learn how to closely collaborate with a variety of professionals to best serve their clients. “It’s one thing to talk about it in class, but it’s another thing to actually do it and figure out how to get on the same page for a particular client to help fulfill his or her needs,” said Vander Woude. “Then when they graduate, they can do that or at least advocate for it.”

Serving clients well

Vander Woude says the clinic is filling an expressed need in the community. She and her colleagues have noticed more recently that many of the clients they serve at their on-campus clinic were also in need of continued occupational and physical therapy as well. And, for some clients, insurance was either exhausted or did not cover the services provided.

The convergence of these needs and the increased program demands inspired the idea for the new clinic. And, generous donors to the college have helped to make this happen.

The new clinic occupies 4,500 square feet of the second floor of the two-story building. The space includes a waiting area, a group therapy room, seven clinical rooms, two soundproof audiology booths and a physical therapy gym, complete with a treadmill, hand bike, rock climbing wall, therapeutic swing and other donated equipment.

Steve Vanderkamp, clinic director

The building where Calvin College Rehabilitation services is located.

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