Occupational Therapist, Jessica Westmeier-Shuh, has Achieved Certification as Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist

January 8, 2013

Origami Brain Injury Rehab Center is proud to announce that Occupational Therapist, Jessica Westmeier-Shuh, MHS, OTRL, CAPS, CBIS, has achieved certification as a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS). This specialization greatly compliments her role as an Occupational Therapist in many ways.  

Certified aging-in-place specialists help people who make their homes a home for a lifetime, regardless of their age, income or abilities. Universal design isn't just for the elderly or handicapped. Rather, it ensures that people of all ages and ability levels can live comfortably and safely in a home. The universally-designed home accommodates all family members at all stages of life...from infants to grandparents, all of whom benefit from homes that impose fewer restrictions on daily activities of activities and maximize independence and safety.

The goal of aging in place is just as it sounds, helping people age in place, within their homes. For the older population, this may mean the difference between being able to stay and age in their homes or moving out and living with family members or at a nursing home. The aging in place concept is great for older adults but is also beneficial for all populations. For example, wider doorways are beneficial for people in wheelchairs but also benefit someone trying to maneuver a baby stroller in the house. Lower light switches make turning on a light easier to someone in a wheelchair and to a child.

For more information about becoming a certified aging-in-place specialist visit

Congratulations Jessica on this achievement!

Origami Brain Injury Rehab Center Announces New Medical Director

January 4, 2013
Rebecca Wyatt, D.O.

For the past 12 years, Origami has had the privilege to have Dr. Margaret Fankhauser serve as our Medical Director.   She has provided our treatment team with competent and dedicated leadership, assisting us with striving to continuously meet our mission and provide optimal services to our clients.  It is with a mix of excitement for her next adventure and sadness to lose such a valuable team member that we announce Dr. Fankhauser's retirement.   

Dr. Fankhauser's experience, expertise, and dedication will be missed; however, with change comes opportunity and we are excited to announce that, with the collaboration of Michigan State University and Dr. Fankhauser, we have found our new Medical Director.  Dr. Rebecca Wyatt will be joining the Origami team.  While Dr. Fankhauser will continue to serve in a consultative role to ensure continuity of care, all Origami clients will transition to Dr. Wyatt. 

Rebecca Wyatt, D.O. specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) at Michigan State University.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training from Central Michigan University in 2004 and her medical degree from MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) in 2008.  Her residency training was completed in PMR at Sparrow Hospital through MSU 2008-2012 and she served as the chief resident during her last year of residency.  She is an associate professor with the Department of PMR (MSU-COM).  She is the Rehabilitation Medical Director at Sparrow Specialty Hospital, Burcham Hills Center for Health and Rehabilitation, Okemos Health and Rehabilitation, and MSU Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic.

While the departure of Dr. Fankhauser is a tremendous loss, we are confident that this will be a smooth transition.  Dr. Wyatt has a strong foundation to work from because of her education, experience, and the tremendous contributions that Dr. Fankhauser has provided through the years.  We appreciate everything Dr. Fankhauser has done for Origami and we wish her all of the best in the future.  At the same time, we are eager and happy to welcome Dr. Wyatt to our team.

Lansing Man Speaks Out About Dangers of Concussions

September 19, 2012

It may seem easy to shrug off a concussion diagnosis, but experts warn concussions are a serious brain injury and should be treated as such.

A lot of people associate concussions with athletes, but any kind of accident can lead to a concussion.

Jaime Cruz describes himself as many things -- a husband, a father to three young kids, a U.S. veteran, and a business student at Lansing Community College. When a series of accidents led to multiple concussions, Cruz's symptoms began to overwhelm his normal life.

"I wasn't playing football," said Cruz. "I just fell off a truck and then a couple of years later I had three car accidents within a six month period. I was having trouble sleeping, headaches every day. I was stuttering, I had slurred speech, difficulty eating and concentrating."

So Cruz decided to reach out for help from the Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center. The co-executive director of Origami, Eric Hannah, says Cruz did the right thing. He says one of the major hurdles to treating mild brain injuries, like concussions, is simply getting people to report their symptoms.

"I think some people do feel like maybe it will go away, or it's temporary, or there's no real lasting effects," Hannah explained. "And while a single concussion may have less significant long term implications, the risk increases with each concussion or injury."

Playing sports like football increases the risk of getting a concussion, along with other activities.

"Riding a motorcycle, riding a bike, snow boarding - certainly wearing a helmet is one of the first precautions," said Hannah.

If there is a head injury, pay attention to any symptoms that may surface immediately or even weeks later. When in doubt, always speak out.

"Your body's going to tell you something is wrong," Cruz said. "You should listen. Get it checked out. It couldn't hurt. It couldn't hurt."

If you think you or a loved one may have had a concussion, watch for changes in behavior or mood, an inability to remember certain events, or symptoms like dizziness, blurred vision, and headaches. Those could all be warnings to seek out medical help.

So the bottom line is - if you're feeling symptoms, report it. Talk to family, talk to friends, and get yourself checked out.

For full story including video follow this link: 

WILX reporter Caroline Vandergriff

Local Coach, Brain Injury Experts Raise Awareness of Student Athlete Concussions, Outline Precautions & Resources for Parents

August 30, 2012
(left to right) Haslett Athletic Director, Darin Ferguson, Co-Executive Director of Origami, Eric Hannah, and Haslett High School Football Coach, Charlie Otlewski hold a news conference on athlete concussions

Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center and Haslett High School Staff Explain Signs, Symptoms and Treatments as Concussion Epidemic Spreads

LANSING—Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center and Haslett High School today teamed-up to  help parents, coaches and students playing fall sports to better understand the signs and symptoms of concussions and to stay safe on the playing field or court.

“A concussion is a traumatic brain injury and should be taken seriously, especially when it comes to our children who participate in school sports,” said Eric Hannah, MSA, the Director of Program Operations at Lansing-area Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center.  “When it comes to concussions, when in doubt, coaches and parents should sit students out.  By knowing the signs and symptoms and treating concussions appropriately from the start, we can protect the brain and usually help students recover quickly.”

A concussion can cause serious symptoms that interfere with school, work, and social life.  According to recent studies, over 140,000 high school athletes suffer a concussion each year, nationwide.  While concussions occur most frequently in football, other sports follow closely behind, including girls lacrosse, girls soccer, boys lacrosse, wrestling and girls basketball.

All students who sustain a concussion should be evaluated by a health care professional who is familiar with sports concussions.  Parents are advised to contact their child’s physician and explain what has happened and to then follow the physician’s instructions. 

Common signs and symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Appearing dazed or stunned;
  • Confusion;
  • Moving clumsily;
  • Forgetting plays or unsure of game, score or opponent;
  • Sensitivity to light or noise;
  • Double or fuzzy vision;
  • Loss of consciousness; and
  • An inability to recall events before or after a hit or collision.

If a student is vomiting, has a severe headache or is having difficulty staying awake or answering simple questions following a collision, he or she should be taken to the emergency room immediately.

“As our understanding about concussions and their effect on student athletes grows we are taking many important steps to protect our players,” said Charles Otlewski, the Head Football Coach at Haslett High School.  “Athletics have the remarkable ability to teach our students countless lessons, from teamwork to responsibility and the importance of hard work.  By knowing the signs and symptoms of a concussion, training our coaches to spot them and using the latest technology and equipment we are taking huge steps towards keeping our athletes safe while they learn those lessons.”

Haslett High School recently purchased new cutting-edge football helmets to help lessen the risk of concussions on the gridiron.  The school, like others across the state and the nation, also regularly inspects equipment to ensure it is safe, trains coaches on how to spot concussions and requires baseline cognitive testing for incoming freshmen athletes to help better diagnose concussions in the future.

One Man's Journey of Recovery

April 13, 2012

In just moments, Ron Willson's life changed forever...this is his story of what he candidly calls "the unthinkable" and his remarkable journey of recovery.

Lansing Man Survives Traumatic Brain Injury and Speaks Out

March 8, 2012

Click here to link to the video.

March is recognized as National Brain Injury Awareness month. Every day, traumatic brain injuries happen to soldiers deployed overseas, and to people here at home as a result of car accidents, sports injuries, and falls. With a traumatic brain injury there's usually a loss of consciousness, even if it's a matter of a few seconds.

For one longtime Lansing resident, his successful recovery from a traumatic brain injury has inspired him to help others by sharing his story.

Ron Wilson and his wife Melodee have been married for almost 50 years, but their marriage was put to the test in March of 2010. While traveling to Arizona for vacation, they were in a serious car accident.

"We collided with another car, and our life changed totally forever," said Ron Wilson. "In a blink of an eye, which is what happens when people get a brain injury. It's totally unexpected."

Ron's traumatic brain injury left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak.

"To have a body that doesn't work, and a voice that doesn't work - that was my darkest day," Ron recalled.

But he refused to give up and worked hard to make a recovery, one he says would be impossible without the support of his wife.

"It's been a long haul for both of us," said Ron. "My wife has been with me every step of the way."

The Wilson's story is similar to other who have been impacted by traumatic brain injuries.

"Statistics show that 12,000 individuals in Michigan per year sustain a brain injury," said Tammy Hannah, the director of rehabilitation services at the Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center in Mason. "And 1.7 million Americans sustain a brain injury each year. That's a significant number."

And a significant problem - staff at Origami say it's important people know how to get help right away after brain trauma. Some signs of a brain injury include loss of memory, anxiety, headaches, depression, inability to think or speak, and trouble sleeping.

"The sooner you get the help after an injury, the better the recovery," said Hannah.

And Ron Wilson's recovery has left him thankful for a future with his wife and family.

"We're going to have a good life," said Ron. "We are having a good life at this point, and it's going to get nothing but better."

Lansing Area Origami Brain Injury Rehab Center Begins Treatment of Local Military Veteran Under New National Pilot Program

September 9, 2011

Origami, One of Only Twenty-One Facilities Nationwide Chosen by the Veterans Administration, Honored to Care for Injured Heroes

LANSING—Mid-Michigan’s Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center today announced that they have begun full-time residential treatment of the first local veteran accepted at the facility as part of a groundbreaking new Assisted Living for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Pilot Program recently launched by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.). Origami was one of only twenty-one facilities in the entire country chosen to participate in the V.A.’s pilot program.

The pilot program, the first of its kind for the V.A., helps veterans with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries who need long-term residential care by placing them in high-quality rehabilitation facilities like Origami that are closer to their homes and families, while avoiding institutional and hospital settings.  Before the pilot program, veterans with brain injuries would have to obtain treatment far from home at a V.A. facility.  Now, through treatment facilities like Origami, veterans are provided with more comfortable settings while still receiving access to a wide range of post-acute services and supports that will help them on the road to recovery.

Lieutenant Colonel Bill Fenn (United States Air Force, Retired), a Kalamazoo resident, recently became the first veteran to receive full-time residential rehabilitation care at Origami.  Lt. Col. Fenn, a veteran who helped protect the nation for two decades including deployments to the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm, suffered a life-changing traumatic brain injury last year when he fell eight feet onto a concrete floor. 

 “I know that my husband is in the best place possible as he recovers from his traumatic brain injury,” said Lt. Col. Fenn’s wife, Glyni Fenn.  “We are incredibly thankful to have Bill so close to home during the rehabilitation process and for the V.A. and the great people at Origami who have dedicated their lives to helping people like us put our lives back together.” 

 Origami’s Director of Rehabilitation Services Tammy Hannah, OTRL, CBIS said: “It was an honor to be chosen to participate in this pilot program but the real honor is having the opportunity to work with heroes from our armed forces like Bill.  He and Glyni sacrificed so much as he defended our nation and our freedom for twenty years.  Everyone at Origami is excited about the chance to give something back by helping him recover from this traumatic brain injury.”

To learn more about participation in the V.A.’s pilot program at Origami, veterans or their families can call (517) 455-0264

Origami One of 21 Facilities Nationwide to Serve Veterans with TBI

September 9, 2011

Alaiedon Township brain rehab facility to treat local veterans

Written by:
Kevin Grasha
Lansing State Journal

August 11, 2011

A local brain injury rehabilitation facility is one of 21 nationwide selected to treat veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury, currently considered the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center in Alaiedon Township announced this week that it will work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to treat veterans who suffer from moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, or TBI, which typically requires intensive, long-term care. More.

For more information about Veterans Services at Origami, please click here.

2010 Annual Award Recipients

December 20, 2010
2010 Award Winners (left to right): David Trudell - Operations Team Member of the Year, Cassie Ledger - Residential Serivce Award the Year, Kara Seehase - Employee of the Year, Arika Hill - Madhav Kulkarni Award of Clinical Excellence

Origami Achieved 3 Year CARF Accreditation

November 3, 2010

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) Survey Results - 2010

Origami Achieved 3 Year Accreditation in:

  • Residential Rehabilitation Programs: Brain Injury Program (Adults)
  • Interdisciplinary Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Programs: Brain Injury Program (Adults)
  • Interdisciplinary Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Programs: Brain Injury Program (Children & Adolescents)
  • Home and Community Based Programs: Brain Injury Program (Adults)
  • Vocational Services: Brain Injury Program (Adults)

Comments From CARF Survey - 2010

Origami has strengths in the following areas:

  • Origami is located on a beautiful property that provides a variety of well-maintained outdoor spaces, including a courtyard, a deck, and extensive walking trails, that provide excellent settings for leisure pursuits as well as a calming environment for persons with behavioral issues such as agitation, aggression, and poor frustration tolerance related to their brain injuries.
  • The organization is led by an experienced and respected team that values its employees and the persons served. The staff is enthusiastic, qualified, and highly committed to providing optimum rehabilitation services.
  • Dignity and respect are accorded to all persons served and staff members. Quality of life is at the forefront of all treatment for persons served. This is consistently demonstrated in the interactions between staff members and the persons served.
  • Effective Communication among staff members and the operational leadership cultivates a well-informed and motivated staff. Evidence of communication and the activities of the programs are reaffirmed by staff members.
  • An excellent and well-deserved reputation for the provision of quality rehabilitation services is enjoyed by the organization. This is reflected in the tributes paid to the organization by the persons served, families, and external stakeholders.
  • The technology program is comprehensive, supporting not only staff members' needs but needs of the persons served. The organization is quickly moving to a completely electronic medical record. All aspects of the business functions are currently addressed or are considered in future programming.
  • The program and rehabilitation directors are experienced and motivated to provide services that optimize outcomes for persons served in each program.
  • The organization is commended on the comprehensive 2009 White Paper developed to address the future needs of the organization.
  • Origami's residential and supported independent facilities are aesthetically pleasing, carefully maintained, and well designed. The needs of the persons served clearly were the driving force in decision about the recent redesign of the residential program. Feedback from persons served and living skills staff was actively pursued, and suggestions were implemented.
  • The continuum of vocational services is designed to help persons served choose, obtain, and maintain meaningful employment in both supportive and competitive settings.
  • Origami's affiliation with Peckham, Inc., provides the opportunity for persons served to engage in a wide array of work opportunities in a realistic industrial environment. Peckham is a nonprofit organization that provides job training and competitive employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Regarding the affiliation with Origami, Peckham is creatively associated with the Michigan State University Health Team.
  • Staff members are actively engaged in the treatment process, and they create a casual, upbeat, and caring environment.
  • The family support system is well integrated into the outpatient rehabilitation program. Families are encouraged to attend therapy, have frequent contact with care coordinators, and be involved in regular team conferences.
  • Origami does an excellent job of providing opportunities for persons served to express themselves and share their talent. Self-expression activities are encouraged and regularly incorporated into the rehabilitation program. These include speech night, Art from the Heart, and a book of poetry authored by a person served.
  • The driving program at Origami utilizes a realistic but safe series of internal trails and a custom vehicle to evaluate and train driving skills.
  • Origami has added a culinary specialist to the residential team. This addition has enhanced provision of high quality meals and the ability to meet specific dietary requirements related to health needs, religious practices, and personal preferences.