fbpx mfb-logo-stuck

When Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital conducts research, it’s not only for the future benefit of science and medicine. Our team is dedicated to generating evidence-based, innovative treatment and applying it as quickly as possible to help people recovering from serious injuries or illnesses.

The research efforts of our doctors, therapists, nurses and other professionals often lead to discoveries with a timely and positive impact for our patients. Research is done with the conviction it will help restore hope and freedom for children and adults with physical disabilities.

Mary Free Bed has created an infrastructure through the John F. Butzer Center for Research & Innovation to support our physicians and staff with research endeavors and to facilitate scholarly activity. Our efforts include original research, participation in multicenter studies and sponsored clinical trials.

Study inquires or requests
Email: research@maryfreebed.com
Call: 616.840.8985

Current Studies

Active recruitment and opportunities

Increasing Physical Activity and Health-Related Quality of Life for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital has been awarded a three-year, $400,000 grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to measure how physical activity impacts the lives of people with spinal cord injury.

Researchers are focusing on whether a positive impact can be made on people’s participation in physical activity over a one-year period. Progress is measured by physical activity and quality of life surveys.

Researchers hope to recruit 80 people for the study. Participant requirements include:

  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • History of traumatic spinal cord injury sustained at least three months prior
  • Not currently participating in organized exercise programs or sports teams.

Participants will:

  • Take part in a two-month exercise program
  • Receive a free, two-month membership to the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids
  • Meet like-minded peers with spinal cord injury
  • Receive information about the Mary Free Bed Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports Program
  • Receive a $30 stipend for completing surveys and wearing a wrist-worn activity monitor.


Defining Trajectories of Linguistics: Cognitive-Communicative and Quality of Life Outcomes in Aphasia

The objective of this study is to describe the trajectories of linguistic, cognitive-communicative and health-related quality of life outcomes following stroke in people with aphasia during inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation to 18 months following stroke. A sample of 300 consecutively-admitted stroke patients with aphasia recruited at three Midwestern rehabilitation hospitals will complete measures of linguistic and cognitive-communicative performance, and the Quality of Life Neurological Disorders Measurement instruments during rehabilitation and at three-, six-, 12-, and 18-months post stroke. We will model outcomes as individual and group trajectories, allowing us to develop individual predictions, which could inform clinical planning and decision making for new patients.


Students & Researchers

Medical students

The John F. Butzer Center for Research & Innovation works collaboratively with medical students to teach, empower and facilitate growth. Our studies incorporate the skills of medical students to assist with study outcomes and objectives.

  • Michigan State University College of Human Medicine medical students interested in participating in research at Mary Free Bed should contact MSU-CHM student research director Mark Trottier, Ph.D., at trottie1@msu.edu or 616.234.2781.
  • Medical students who attend other schools and are interested in research opportunities at Mary Free Bed should email research@maryfreebed.com. You also may contact our Education Department at education@maryfreebed.com or 616.840.8292.



The approval and subsequent collaborative process begins with a consultation with a delegate from the John F. Butzer Center for Research & Innovation. To schedule a consultation, email research@maryfreebed.com.


For questions regarding the IRB, please email research@maryfreebed.com or Jacobus Donders, PhD., Interim Chair, at Jacobus.Donders@maryfreebed.com .