Calvin, WMU and GVSU unite to open rehab center

GVL / Sara Carte
Grand Valley, Calvin College, and Western Michigan University open their new rehabilitation center with a new gym for physical therapy on Sept. 29.

Sara Carte

GVL / Sara Carte Grand Valley, Calvin College, and Western Michigan University open their new rehabilitation center with a new gym for physical therapy on Sept. 29.

Meghan McBrady

Group projects in the classroom are a common way for students to collaborate. Recently, representatives from Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University and Calvin College have been working on a group project of their own.

Calvin College hosted an open house on Tuesday to commemorate the launch of a new rehabilitation clinic with partners WMU and GVSU.

The Calvin College Rehabilitation Services, located at 1310 E. Beltline Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, was established to bring integrated rehabilitation services to patients and interdisciplinary learning for students in one environment.

Steven Vanderkamp, the clinical director of the facility, indicated that the idea of building this clinic was established at Calvin a few years ago in order to provide more resources to their patients.

“One of our clinical instructors really felt that the clients receiving speech therapy at our campus facilities needed further support and she thought that we should provide other resources and therapies that could benefit our patients on a much larger scale,” Vanderkamp said.

He said he and the staff at Calvin dreamed of developing something bigger in scope so they can then collaborate with other schools, so that they can then provide quality care for the children and adults that entered their facility, while also acting as a top-notch learning experience for students.

Laura Crandle, a student clinician at the facility, indicated that the support that the graduate students are given by their supervisors helps establish a strong sense of independence for all the students at the clinic as they work with their patients and collaborate with the other universities.

“This clinic really focuses on multiple disciplines and we all get together, as we may at times share the same client if they have other needs or services, and we will talk to them and plan treatment together as a team,” Crandle said. “We all come from a different place, with different kind of teaching and perspectives, so while our supervisors may come from other universities we see an entirely different points of view and different ways to care for our patients.”

Besides the facility primarily using graduate interns and assistants to interact with patients and to conduct case studies, they also have paid faculty members from the three universities. Some of the services offered include audiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work and speech pathology.

Vanderkamp indicated that these different emphases from the universities – with Calvin providing speech therapy and audiology aspects at the clinic and GVSU and WMU respectively offering different insights into physical and occupational therapy – will ultimately help the facility learn to work together with these other disciplines and their entities.

“What really makes it integrated here is that our staff and students are working together to put together treatment plans for the benefit of the clients and themselves,” he said. “The training and ground rounds will be done as an entire team, as when they present case studies, so that their learning experience will provide then that cohesion that will bring about all the schools and their different disciplines.”

For more information about the center and all three universities’ partnership, visit