Gretchen is the Hand Therapy Manager at TOCA. Hand Therapists, through advanced study and experience, specialize in treating disorders of the entire upper extremity. All hand therapists at TOCA are Certified Hand Therapists, certified by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission. Hand Therapists help bridge the gap between medical management with a physician and facilitate patients return to their daily work, leisure and life activities.
Gretchen graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree from Saginaw Valley State University in her home state of Michigan. She became a practicing occupational therapist in 1998, then in 2001 went on to earn her Master’s in Business Administration in Health Care Management. In 2007 she completed her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy in a Hand Therapy cohort. She has been working with TOCA since 2010.
Gretchen has peer reviewed publications in the Journal of Hand Therapy and wrote a chapter on fracture management and dislocations of the upper extremity in the book, Advanced Concepts of Hand Pathology and Surgery: Application to Hand Therapy Practice. She has presented nationally and internationally on the topics of fracture management, digital replantation, rheumatoid arthritis, custom splinting/orthosis fabrication, and various topics related to evidenced based practice.
Nationally, Gretchen has served on the Board of Directors for both the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) and American Association for Hand Surgery (AAHS). She has been intimately involved on various committees, task forces, and special projects within these associations. Gretchen has also served on the Editorial Board for HAND, the official peer-reviewed journal for the AAHS.
Internationally, Gretchen has served on the Education Committee for the International Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy (IFSHT) since 2008. She has also served as the IFSHT Special Events Chair for the 2010 International Meeting when hosted in Orlando, FL.
Gretchen was granted an award through the IFSHT in 2009 and organized a multi-discipline educational conference related to disorders of the upper extremity in Lima, Peru. The Peruvian therapist who hosted this conference won a subsequent award and grant from the IFSHT to travel to the USA, contributing to further educational outreach brought back to her home therapy community in Lima.
Gretchen is passionate about a non-profit organization called the Guatemala Healing Hands Foundation. She has been supporting and traveling on medical mission trips with this organization since 2005. The GHHF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality and availability of health care in Guatemala through education, surgery, and therapy.
There is a Venn diagram of 3 primary areas of service: Direct patient care, education, and community outreach. Direct service care primarily specializes in the treatment of congenital and pediatric hand injuries.
Direct patient Care: Following a mandatory screening day, where upwards of 200 children are evaluated to determine their best treatment plan: surgery, therapy, or other intervention. Due to GHHF’s unique infrastructure GHHF is able to monitor children year after year to insure they receive the best possible consistent care. Depending on the severity and length of each case, surgical patients are provided with both in and
outpatient care with costs covered 100% by GHHF.
Education: Each mission, a two day educational conference is organized annually, an
d integrates the Guatemalan provider community. GHHF has a unique relationship with the Guatemala Hand Associations, and they are a trusted teaching source and a vital American group providing cutting- edge hand education to both the surgical and therapy communities to over 2,200 doctors, therapists, and students to date.
Community Outreach: The heartbreaking reality and reasons why we meet so many children with serious hand conditions and injuries of the people in this nation cannot be ignored and disregarded. GHHF is committed to addressing the sources behind the problems seen. GHHF has teamed up with the village of Chichoy Alto, in the region of Patzun, Chimaltenango, to improve sanitation, health, education, and the overall quality of life for these 120 families. Community members of Chichoy Alto are required to collaborate and provide a portion of the labor necessary to implement these improvements. Within this community, GHHF has sponsored and constructed 55+ latrines, sponsored and constructed 21 efficient ONIL stoves, distributing crucial fertilizer needed to replenish Chichoy Alto’s barely existent crops, distributed emergency maize to families struggling with malnutrition, helped dig hillside trenches to lay piping to supply fresh water throughout the village, purchased school supplies to the 100+ elementary aged children, and have sponsored many children to attend high school and education beyond.
In her free time, Gretchen enjoys traveling; camping, reading, and watching her son grow. She enjoys volunteering at his elementary school, and she and her family all recently started volunteering with the Special Olympics, another organization Gretchen has supported for a long time.