After growing up in Fargo, ND., I left to attend Iowa State University in Ames, IA. where I graduated in 1965 majoring in English and Speech, and with minors in math and biology. My first 2 years in medical school were spent at the University of North Dakota, which was then only a 2 year program, and I completed my medical degree at Tulane University School of Medicine in the much warmer environs of New Orleans, LA. After med school I spent nearly 4 ½ years in the U.S. Army, first at Brooke Army Medical Center where I interned, and then in Erlangen, Germany where I was a battalion surgeon until my discharge. It was during my military years that I developed my interest in rehabilitation. Following my military service I moved to Seattle where I completed my residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Washington. I began my clinical practice in Eugene, OR where I worked to create the Oregon Rehabilitation Center for Sacred Heart Medical Center, and began a successful medical group called Rehabilitation Medicine Associates. I practiced in Eugene from 1976 through 1992. My early practice focused on spinal cord injury, and later evolved into sports medicine for both people with disabilities and elite athletes. In early 1993, we moved to Detroit MI. where I became Vice President for Medical Affairs for the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan from January, 1993 until June, 1998, and was an Associate Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine, as well as Residency Program Director for the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of Wayne State University School of Medicine. We then moved to Spokane, WA where I served as Medical Director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute from May 1999 until January 2006. I retired from my clinical practice in 2008, when the reality of an interesting research role at Washington State University evolved. I currently am a Clinical Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and until 2015 was a Research Professor at Washington State University, where I founded the National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute, pursuing physiologic research during aquatic activity.
I have been interested in fitness, conditioning and the medical problems of the performing athlete, both able-bodied and not, throughout my career. Since the early 1980’s I have also had a major interest in aquatic rehabilitation, and was President of the American Society of Medical Hydrology for many years. In 1997, Andrew Cole, MD and I co-authored the textbook Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy, which was initially published by Butterworth-Heinemann, and also published in Portuguese and German. Elsevier subsequently purchased Butterworth-Heinemann and published the second edition of our textbook in 2002. In 2011 we completed the third edition which has been published by Washington State University Press. I’ve published chapters on aquatic therapy in most of the leading textbooks in rehabilitation, authored aquatic research articles in numerous journals and lectured nationally and internationally in the area of aquatics.
I’ve been fortunate to have been honored many times during my career. In 1996, I was chosen for listing in Best Doctors in America, Midwest Edition by Woodward and White, and was honored by my peers every year from 1998 to the present through selection to the Best Doctors in America: Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation listings. In 1999, the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Institute named me as Aquatic Professional of the Year at their annual meeting in San Diego. Aquatics International Magazine named me to the Power 25 in Aquatics in 2006. I was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in May 2011 with the John K. Williams Award for my work in adapted aquatics. I have been the recipient of major aquatic research grants from the National Swimming Pool Foundation. It has been both my belief and proven science that the aquatic environment has powerful potential benefits in health recovery and maintenance, and investigating this benefit this remains an abiding passion for my career in medicine.