Face to Face: Gabriel Beversluis, CO

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Gabriel Beversluis

A passion for working with his hands and a desire to make a positive impact on peoples’ lives led Gabriel Beversluis to a career in O&P. His older brother, an occupational therapist, suggested the profession because he thought that it was a good fit for Beversluis’ skills and interests in creating, designing, and building unique artwork and furniture, as well as his affinity for tackling home improvements, such as the custom chicken coop he recently built to house his family’s 12 chickens.

1. How has your O&P career progressed?

I began as an orthotic assistant and technician at Springer Prosthetic & Orthotic Services, Lansing, Michigan, in 2000. Grant Meyer, CO, hired and mentored me. In 2001, Grant and I launched Pediatric Orthotic Specialists, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He taught me the business from the ground up while I also participated in all aspects of patient care and fabrication. This gave me an exceptional opportunity to understand the critical cause-and-effect relationships with pressure distribution, ground reaction, and the mechanics of the device. I progressed from assistant to orthotic fitter to BOCO, and then became ABC certified in 2004. Shortly thereafter, I took over the bulk of patient care while overseeing the day-to-day operations of the business. In 2008, I was promoted to vice president.

2. Please describe what your company does.

We specialize in custom lower-limb orthoses for pediatric patients with neuromuscular disorders. Our focus is on specialization, innovation, and working as a team with physicians, physical therapists, and parents to increase function and prevent deformity by comfortably maintaining correct alignment.

3. What are your professional goals?

Beyond improving function for today, we have to consider the patient’s development and his or her goals five, ten, or 20 years from now. I plan to continue working closely with our referral sources, patients, and patients’ parents to identify opportunities to meet our patients’ needs in new and better ways. As various theories and physical therapy options are applied, we are often relied upon to provide just the right controls and freedoms for each patient at that moment. We often have to get creative about finding ways to accommodate various interpretations about what exactly is the “correct design.”

4. What do you see in the future for O&P?

I think it will be important to separate ourselves from durable medical equipment (DME) and to be able to demonstrate the value of quality, customized O&P care.

5. How do you set yourself apart from other practitioners and practices in your area?

First, we run our practice with complete accountability and quality control. All of our orthoses are fabricated in-house, and I personally modify every cast for all of my patients. Second, I focus a great deal of effort on communication and teamwork with the patient’s rehab team and strive to be honest, yet flexible when working with the team. Finally, I am fortunate to work in an innovative environment. This has allowed me to take input from my experiences with patients and come together with our technical staff on continually making improvements and innovations to improve outcomes. Also, I believe I may hold the record as an orthotist for modifying the most casts while wearing a collared shirt and necktie!

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