GVSU, Mary Free Bed announce partnership extension

GVL / Dylan McIntyre. Thursday, January 11, 2018. Grand Valley State University and Mary Free Bed expanding their partnership.

GVL / Dylan McIntyre. Thursday, January 11, 2018. Grand Valley State University and Mary Free Bed expanding their partnership.

Drew Schertzer

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect balance, movement and muscle tone. It plagues the minds of its victims, often making it more difficult for them to speak or walk. 

This is the case for ShenaLi Chien, a 10-year-old who was born with the illness. Chien and her family moved from Florida so that she could be a patient of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. On Thursday, Jan. 11, in the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences (CHS), Mary Free Bed and Grand Valley State University announced an extension of their partnership with the goal to combine technologies to create a data analysis laboratory to help people like Chien. 

Mary Free Bed will use this technology to conduct patient studies while GVSU students can learn from the experience. 

“We’re so pleased that our colleagues at Mary Free Bed want to bring the great work from their own Motion Analysis Lab to our facility and work alongside our students and faculty members,” said GVSU President Thomas Haas. “This aligns with Grand Valley’s strategic plan to produce graduates who are ready for the workforce and meet employer demands for trained health-care workers.” 

The Motion Analysis Laboratory is equipped with cutting-edge technology at CHS. It has 16 specialized cameras that can each take 120 pictures per second. A computer then takes the images to create a 3-D reconstruction of the patient’s movements. This provides physicians and therapists with a detailed map that allows them to create the best treatment plans for patients. 

“Mary Free Bed, this contract you share with GV benefits myself, my classmates and others,” said Austin Cammire, a GVSU graduate student at the reception. “I thank you on behalf of GV students.” 

Students commonly have clinical experiences at Mary Free Bed, which even has half of its non-clinical interns come from GVSU. Students from an array of health-care majors can indulge in learning-specialized information about their field. This comes from more than $1 million Mary Free Bed spends yearly for instructional opportunities on students. 

CEO of Mary Free Bed Kent Riddle was very enthusiastic about the continued partnership. He said they don’t just value their relationship with GVSU—they also rely on it and are very proud of it.

“Teaching the next generation of medical professionals is one of the factors that makes a hospital excel,” Riddle said. “And our patients are well-served by the Grand Valley grads that we hire.” 

The reception was well attended. A packed laboratory listened to Haas and Riddle exchange banter before signing official papers. A demonstration with Chien was then held to showcase the 16 cameras. 

Mary Free Bed has been working with GVSU for many years, as it is a clinical site for students. This lets students foreshadow their careers and get crucial practice in their fields. The partnership not only benefits students, but faculty of GVSU as well. 

Faculty can work with Mary Free Bed practitioners for specific research projects. The hope is that new research can be done to continue fighting against CP and helping patients with that illness.