Compassion, skill and decades of specialized experience. These are just some of the qualities our physicians offer to the patients who seek treatment at Mary Free Bed and become a part of our extended “family.” You can learn more about an individual member of our team by clicking on any of the bios below.
Amanda C. Ayala, MD
Dr. Amanda Ayala recently joined Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital as a full-time pediatric physiatrist. Before coming to West Michigan, she was at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the teaching hospital for Columbia University. There, she completed a fellowship in pediatric rehabilitation with emphasis in the management of spasticity.
Dr. Ayala is a graduate of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (formerly known as UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School). Dr. Ayala treats patients who have a variety of impairments and diagnoses. Her outpatient practice focuses on spasticity management, orthopedic rehabilitation and other childhood neurologic conditions. She is fluent in Spanish.
Stephen C. Bloom, DO
I knew I wanted to work with the disabled ever since I started working as an orderly for Mary Free Bed in college. My best friend was a quadriplegic, and my life was forever changed when I saw what he had to go through and how the team at MFB made it happen. I knew then that I would be a physiatrist.
Dr. Bloom, an award-winning and honored physician, has been a Mary Free Bed staff member since 1994. He is the medical director of our Brain Injury and Home and Community Rehabilitation programs and also treats patients with spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple trauma, spasticity, electrodiagnostics, spine, sports and musculoskeletal rehabilitative needs.
He is triple board-certified in Brain Injury Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Osteopathic Board of Rehabilitation Medicine. Dr. Bloom is on the board of the Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council and is medical director of the Wounded Warrior Brain Injury Program in conjunction with Grand Valley State University.
Dr. Bloom is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, and served as chief resident at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He is an assistant clinical professor at Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University. Dr. Bloom is widely published and regularly lectures around the country on a variety of topics involving trauma and rehabilitation. He recently provided a keynote address on sports concussions for the American Academy of Family Practice Annual Conference in Philadelphia.
Benjamin J. Bruinsma, MD
Dr. Bruinsma is director of Mary Free Bed’s Stroke Program and the Amputee Program. A staff member for more than 20 years, Dr. Bruinsma came to Mary Free Bed because of its reputation as a leader in physical rehabilitation, which is also one of the many reasons he stays at MFB. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. Dr. Bruinsma is active with the American Medical Association and serves as a fellow for both the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine. When Dr. Bruinsma isn’t practicing medicine, he enjoys spending time with his children and biking.
Daniel C. Fechtner, MD
Dr. Fechtner joined Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in 2013 as a full-time physiatrist. He previously was at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., the teaching hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Fechtner is a graduate of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Fechtner treats patients who have a variety of impairments and diagnoses. His outpatient practice focuses on spasticity management, cancer rehabilitation, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.
Sam Ho, MD
Board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM & R), Dr. Ho has been the medical director of our Spinal Cord Injury Program since 1983 and has treated hundreds of patients with spine injuries. Known throughout the Midwest for his expertise in spinal cord injury, Dr. Ho is an associate clinical professor with Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and has mentored many residents during their spinal cord injury rotation at Mary Free Bed. Dr. Ho is a member of the medical staff at all of the acute care hospitals in Grand Rapids and served as a former Chief of Staff at Mary Free Bed. He is requested frequently as a speaker at medical conferences and was instrumental in starting Mary Free Bed’s Spasticity Program. He is active as a fellow with the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and as a member of the American Medical Association, the Michigan State Medical Society and the Kent County Medical Society.
Michael S. Jakubowski, MD - Chief Medical Officer
Mary Free Bed’s reputation and the opportunity to build a rehabilitation-intensive practice brought Dr. Jakubowski to Mary Free Bed in 1987. Since then, he has developed specialty interests in orthopedic and neurological injuries, chronic pain, arthritis and care of the spine. Dr. Jakubowski has served as Chief Medical Officer of Mary Free Bed since 2014. He attended Cornell University and is a graduate of University of Michigan School of Medicine. He is board certified in both internal medicine and physiatry.
Jeffrey H. Kramer, MD
Dr. Kramer has been with Mary Free Bed since 1994 and specializes in musculoskeletal injury, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and electrodiagnosis. He also uses Botox to assist patients with spasticity management. Dr. Kramer also spearheads our comprehensive Weight Management Program, a medically-supervised program that includes Mary Free Bed dietitians, psychologists and exercise physiologists. He’s a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. When he isn’t working, Dr. Kramer enjoys athletics and spending time with his family.
Andrea S. Kuldanek, MD
Dr. Kuldanek is the medical director of the Pediatric Program and past chief of staff of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. She is double board-certified in pediatrics and physical medicine and rehabilitation. A graduate of Wayne State University Medical School, Dr. Kuldanek has been a part of the Mary Free Bed staff since 1982. She has worked with the nursing teams at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for more than 32 years in the area of traumatic brain injury rehabilitation for children and adolescents. Dr. Kuldanek’s medical society memberships include the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine.
Christopher Morelli, DO
Dr. Morelli focuses on musculoskeletal and spine problems. He specializes in spine interventions, therapeutic and diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound, sports medicine and electrodiagnostics. Dr. Morelli is a graduate of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. He led a rehabilitation team during his interventional spine and musculoskeletal fellowship at Spine West Physiatry and Sports Physicians in Boulder, Colo., which emphasized restoring function, maintaining an active lifestyle and reducing pain.
A.J. Rush, MD
Dr. Rush is triple board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, pediatrics and pediatric rehabilitation medicine. Previous experience includes private practice in pediatric rehabilitation and spasticity management and serving as the attending pediatric physiatrist at The Children’s Institute in Pittsburgh, Pa. Dr. Rush also completed a fellowship in gait and motion analysis at MossRehab in Philadelphia, Pa. He earned his MD from Temple University School of Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Rush belongs to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.
Tom G. Shahwan, MD
Dr. Shahwan recently joined Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Medical Group as a full-time physiatrist. His primary role will be serving the Kalamazoo area in his role of Medical Director of Rehabilitation for Bronson Healthcare.
Dr. Shahwan graduated with honors from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He completed his residency in Physician Medicine & Rehabilitation at Thomas Jefferson University and in Interventional Pain Management with Professional Pain Management with Professional Pain Associates in Woodbury, N.J., and Orthopedics Surgery at the Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Shahwan treats patients who have a variety of impairments and diagnoses. He is a fellow with the American Board of Disability Analysts and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
W. Christian VandenBerg, MD - Chief of Staff
Dr. VandenBerg is medical director of Program Development and Network Development for Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. In this role, Dr. VandenBerg is responsible for program development for Mary Free Bed and developing relations with physicians throughout the state whose patients would benefit from the services provided by Mary Free Bed. Since 1989, Dr. VandenBerg has been on staff as an attending physician with Mary Free Bed. Dr. Vandenberg also is medical director of the Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation Program at Mary Free Bed. He is former co-medical director for Spectrum Health Rehabilitation Programs, which includes spine care.
Special interests include traumatic and non-traumatic neurological patients (spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke and multiple sclerosis), spasticity/dystonia and rehabilitation care for cancer patients.
Integrating rehabilitation philosophy of function and quality of life in all fields of medicine is a passion for Dr. VandenBerg. This includes identifying rehabilitation and functional needs and goals for patients from the acute hospital setting across the continuum of acute inpatient rehabilitation, subacute care, outpatient rehabilitation and home services.
Dr. VandenBerg earned his bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College, medical degree from Michigan State College of Human Medicine and completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency through Northwestern University at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
Dr. VandenBerg holds memberships with the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Medical Association.