Our team consists of seven experienced physical therapists, four physical therapy technicians, an athletic trainer, a receptionist and an office manager. The physical therapists come from varied backgrounds, including hospital inpatient and outpatient departments, private practice, industrial settings, schools, nursing homes, and home care. They have strong backgrounds in manual therapy, vestibular, hand, geriatric, neurological, pediatric, and pulmonary rehabilitation, as well as sports medicine and industrial rehabilitation. By working together as a team, we are able to serve our clients with care, respect, and efficiency.
Gail Braun, P.T. – Gail established the practice in 2001 with her partner, Karen Carlson. She has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings in the East and West Michigan areas, though her deep roots to her community brought her back home to Ionia. Gail graduated from Grand Valley State University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy. She has attended numerous continuing education courses which include Pelvic Physical Therapy, Myofascial Release, Muscle Energy Techniques, McConnell taping, Mulligan Concept and Visceral Mobilization. Gail is currently working toward furthering her knowledge with treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction and women's health issues. She supports her progression as a member of the Michigan Physical Therapy Association (MPTA) and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Gail's inspirational words and actions are a key influence to the success of her employees and the business. Personally, Gail enjoys spending time with her husband and growing children, reading, flower and herb gardening, walking and trying to finish all those home projects put on the back burner through the years.
Karen Carlson, P.T. – Karen is a co-owner of Grand River Physical Therapy Specialists, P.C.. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy from Grand Valley State University in 1985. Prior to opening GRPTS, P.C. in March of 2001, she gained experience in multiple settings including hospital inpatient and outpatient departments, an outpatient spine and orthopedic center, and home care organizations. In her years of practice she has held various positions including burn team clinical supervisor, closed head injury team coordinator, aquatic program director, spinal cord injury team leader, geriatric program director, student clinical instructor, and quality assurance coordinator. She has attended numerous continuing education courses which include McKenzie spine evaluation and treatment, myofascial release, burn and wound care, aquatic rehabilitation, and muscle energy and joint mobilization. Karen has a special interest in working with the geriatric population and individuals with Parkinson's disease. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and Michigan Physical Therapy Association (MPTA). Personally, Karen enjoys reading, walking and spending time with her family.
Sandra Herron, M.S.P.T. Sandra graduated with a Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of Michigan –Flint in 1996. She has been in practice for 20 years and joined Grand River Physical Therapy in 2005. Her specializiation within our clinic is vestibular rehabilitation, temporalmandibular joint pain and cervicogenic headache pain ; however she enjoys all areas of therapy. Her continuing education opportunities include vestibular rehabilitation, manual therapy techniques, muscle energy, myofascial release, core strengthening, along with other areas of orthopedic treatments. Outside of work Sandy enjoys spending time with her family, reading and running or walking for fitness
Lisa Jonker, P.T. – Lisa graduated with a Bachelor in Science from Grand Valley State University. She has been in practice for 27 years and joined Grand River Physical Therapy Specialists in 2001. While enjoying all types of diagnoses, her area of interest is in treating orthopedic conditions, specifically shoulders and ankles. Lisa has worked as a Geriatric Program director at a previous employment and continues to appreciate working with the older adult. Here in Ionia, she enjoys partnering with the Commission on Aging with the Matter of Balance Program. Continuing education opportunities have assisted her in growing her knowledge in areas of weight training for the elderly, educating the public regarding osteoporosis and remaining current on trends for treating the orthopedic patient. Outside of work she enjoys exercising and spending time with her family in outdoor activities.
Kristin Weller, M.S.P.T. – Kristin graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences in 2002 before graduating from Grand Valley State University with a Masters degree in Physical Therapy. She has been practicing with Grand River Physical Therapy Specialists since graduation in 2005. Kristin enjoys the wide variety of diagnoses that she gets the opportunity to treat in this clinic. She has taken continuing education courses at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for Hand Therapy and Texas Children's Hospital for infant torticollis and has a special interest in these areas. Outside of work, Kristin enjoys keeping busy with her family, watching her kids' sporting events, camping and boating.
Brooke Cheney, P.T. , Cert MDT- Brooke graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy. She has been a practicing physical therapist for 37 years and has worked in a variety of settings, primarily orthopedic and sports medicine. She joined the GRPTS staff in 2006. Brooke enjoys working with her patients and incorporates a variety of manual therapy techniques to facilitate achieving the patients' therapy goals. She is credentialed in the McKenzie MDT (mechanical diagnosis and therapy) approach utilized in treating neck and low back pain conditions. She enjoys running, boathing, spending time with her family, especially her 4 grandchildren!
Jennifer Brown, D.P.T. - Jennifer graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2013. She practiced physical therapy in the hospital setting for 10 months before joining Grand River Physical Therapy in 2014. She enjoys treating patients with a variety of diagnoses including neurologic, cardiopulmonary, and orthopedic conditions. She has taken courses in treatement of concussions and vestibular conditions as well as running mechanics. Lately she has been working towards her McKenzie MDT certification. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 boys.
Physical Therapy Technicians
Josh Driesenga – Josh is a certified athletic trainer who has been working with GRPTS since 2015. He graduated from Hope College in 2014 and is continuing his education at Baker College seeking a Physical Therapy Assistant degree. Josh is also currently serving as an Athletic Trainer for Saranac School District. He enjoys getting to know the patients as he assists with their exercise program. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends as well as maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.
Kristi Vandraager – Kristi is a Physical Therapy Technician and has been working with Grand River Physical Therapy Specialists since 2006. She has a history of working as a Recreational Therapist after she graduated in 1989 from Calvin College. She has worked with the geriatric population and in an Alzheimer’s unit. Currently, she continues to enjoy working with the elderly and helping people of all ages to meet their full rehabilitation potential.
Julie Nurenberg – Julie has been with Grand River Physical Therapy since 2007. She is working as a Physical Therapy Technician. Julie also has experience working as a Certified Massage Therapist. She loves working with people and has a caring and friendly attitude. Julie has taken a course on effective techniques for total body strengthening: The physiology of strength training and program design. Julie is also certified in personal training and Tai Chi.
Jennie Golden - Jennie has been with Grand River Physical Therapy since 2004 working as a Physical Therapy Technician. She is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and worked with a Home Care Agency treating patients in the Grand Rapids area before starting with GRPTS. Recently Jennie returned back to us after taking a couple years to spend time with her family. Her pleasant personality is an asset to our team when working with patients.
Dawn Remington - Dawn began working with Grand River Physical Therapy in 2001 shortly after the business opened. She worked as a Physical Therapy Technician and Receptionist before returning to school for Massage Therapy. After recieving her degree, she opened her massage therapy business, Healing Hands, which can be found at the front of our building. Currently she is working for GRPTS as a Physical Therapy Technician one day a week. Her knowledge of anatomy and muscles is an asset while instructing patients in their therapeutic exercise program.
Lori Rittersdorf – Lori is our Office Manager. Along with greeting patients at the front desk, she is in charge of authorizing and verifying patient insurances. Her pleasant attitude and organizational skills are the result of her experience running a day care out of her home for 16 years. Lori has taken courses in Microsoft Word and Excel, which has made her a valuable member of the front desk team. She is available to take care of patients' scheduling needs and answer questions regarding patient's insurance coverage.
Cyndi Cluckey - Cyndi began working at Grnad River Physical Therapy in 2017 as a member of the front office staff. She came to us with experience in physical therapy billing while working in Grand Rapids for 2 years. Her compassion, organizational skills and excellent customer service makes her a valuable part of the GRPTS team.
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