Illinois Physical Therapy Association Clinical Educator of the Year for 2015 – Ben Grotenhuis

Last month, Ben Grotenhuis celebrated his 20th year at our clinic. Staying at one job is not something that happens very frequently in today’s crazy healthcare industry, but we are thrilled Ben has stayed at Fyzical. In April, Ben also was honored by the Illinois Physical Therapy Association for Clinical Educator of the Year, earning a tremendous award that is only given to one PT in the state. I was excited to be at the breakfast where he was presented with the award and was able to listen in on the excellent presentation he gave immediately following to physical therapists and students interested in learning about dry needling.

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When I opened our practice in 1994 and was ready to hire a physical therapist a few months later, there was only one person I called, Ben. Since that time, I have watched him develop into a leader in the field and become a phenomenal clinical educator. He truly takes each student under his wing and provides them with the utmost attention. He has mentored countless PT students, PTA students, volunteers and even PT’s who have taken time off of their jobs to shadow Ben and learn from the best. We are so lucky Ben chose Illinois as his destination over 25 years ago when he came from Holland to pursue his career in physical therapy, as jobs were scarce in the Netherlands.

This is not the first honor humble Ben has been given. In 2007, he was given the Hallvard Award by the Ola Grimsby Institute. This is the highest honorary award given at the school where Ben has taught for over 20 years. This award has been given to some of the world’s more renowned scientists and clinicians. The founder of this institute, Mr. Grimsby, had this to say about Ben, "His profound knowledge, his extensive teaching experience, his professional services in private and public activities and his clinical expertise make Ben Grotenhuis a unique physical therapist and an asset to our profession."

His co-worker, Dr. Bill Block summed it up best, "Ben is a caring practitioner. He is a dedicated and passionate teacher. He is devoted to learning and keeping up to date with evidenced-based practice. He is an innovator. He leads by example and for that we are all better practitioners. He goes above and beyond what is expected of him to provide the highest quality of care for patients, students and co-workers. Ben is a one-of-a-kind clinician and educator in the field of physical therapy."

In my large extended family there is a Ben fan club. I make it a point of not working on relatives because there are so many of them. When in need of rehabilitation I direct them to see Ben even if several of them drive for over an hour to seek his services. When surgery was recommended to several relatives after failed attempts at therapy (elsewhere), I urged them to see Ben before seeking the scalpel and he was able to prevent a few needless surgeries from happening. Here is what one patient, who is not a family member, had to say about Ben, “Ben is always very kind, compassionate and sensitive to my pain and limitations. The patience, unending support and encouragement he continually provides is beyond words. I have worked with several therapists over time and Ben is the only therapist who has been able to reduce my pain. He uses a variety of techniques in therapy, including dry needling and fascial manipulation. He personally supervises my exercises at the clinic and closely monitors my home exercise program. Consequently, I have been able to manage my pain more effectively, increase my functionality and remain independent."

I have been fortunate to work side by side with Ben since my first year out of PT school. He continues to inspire me to be a better therapist and inspires countless others through his magical touch and his kind heart. Thank you, Ben, for all that you do to make the world a little more pleasant for the many patients that you treat and the therapists that you teach. Mary