Partnership benefits talent pipeline, patients

girl walking in gait lab
A 10-year-old patient undergoes a gait analysis at the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences. Mary Free Bed practitioners will conduct studies there and oversee students.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts
two men at table
President Thomas J. Haas and Mary Free Bed CEO Kent Riddle sign an extended partnership agreement.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts
two men standing
Graduate student Austin Cammire stands with Haas.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts

Leaders from Grand Valley and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital celebrated an expanded partnership January 11 that benefits area patients and the health care talent pipeline.

The two organizations are sharing a Motion Analysis Lab located in Grand Valley’s Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences. Mary Free Bed specialists conduct sophisticated studies of patient walking patterns and serve as preceptors to Grand Valley students and graduate fellows.

President Thomas J. Haas called the agreement a good example of a public-private partnership.

"We're so pleased to do this augmentation; this lab is another tool at our disposal to help you with your mission," Haas said.

Mary Free Bed CEO Kent Riddle said he's proud of the hospital's relationship with Grand Valley. “Teaching the next generation of medical professionals is one of the factors that makes a hospital excel,” Riddle said. “Our patients are well-served by the Grand Valley grads we hire.”

The Mary Free Bed lab at CHS has 16 specialized cameras that take photos of a patient's gait at the rate of 120 photos per second, technology similar to that used in animated movies or video games.

Mitch Barr, a physical therapist for MFB, conducted a gait analysis on a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy during the event.

Grand Valley student Austin Cammire will graduate with a doctoral degree in physical therapy in August. He volunteered at MFB as an undergraduate.

"That experience helped me determine that physical therapy is what I want to do," Cammire said.