Boulder’s Spine West is a pioneer in high-quality, non-surgical orthopedics. Led by award-winning physiatrists and sports physicians, the independent facility has remained a trusted local resource for nearly two decades.
Dr. Cliff Gronseth and his team have built a no-hidden-fees operation that patients have come to count on for learning how to restore physical function and improve quality of life. “Our true differentiator is that we don’t have any ‘facility’ fees because everything we do is in-house. This approach manifests more each year,” says Spine West Office Manager Meg Chamberlain. “The team is constantly creating a sense of family through all of the people they work with and improving the medical practice at every turn.”
Diagnostics is Spine West’s backbone. Board-certified doctors know that healing any musculoskeletal issue requires getting to the root of the problem — and treating the “whole person.” Spine West’s expert physiatrists, many of them serious athletes, bring specialties in sports medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, pain medicine, electrodiagnostic medicine and more.
Spine West is known for leveraging powerful ultrasound and state-of-the-art techniques to clearly diagnosis nerve, muscle and bone issues before moving forward with a holistic lifestyle plan. The goal is to show patients the world of alternative treatments — including cutting-edge platelet rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapy — before surgery or as an alternative to more invasive procedures. It’s about treating the person, not just the problem.
NYAGI Project: Ultrasound for Underserved Mothers
With the innovative NYAGI Project, Spine West has taken its mission to promote health, hope and function much farther than the Boulder County community. NYAGI, which stands for “Now You Are the Group’s Interest,” is Spine West’s global nonprofit. It provides life-saving ultrasound services to pregnant women in rural areas of the world where childbirth complications often teeter on life or death.
Providing access to and education around diagnostics, the NYAGI Project teaches local healthcare workers in resource-poor areas how to identify health conditions through accelerated, low-cost ultrasound skills training.
Since 2013, the organization has implemented mobile ultrasound education in Haiti and Nepal and is looking for new places and partners to expand its highly scalable, sustainable solution. “We teach medical professionals around the world how to use ultrasound for diagnosing life-threatening conditions before they cause problems,” says Dr. Gronseth. “We are literally saving mothers’ lives with ultrasound.”
An ultrasound machine, along with an education system tied to software on an iPad, aids in-country workers in identifying pregnancy problems such as a low-lying placenta that could lead to a mother bleeding to death and the child dying as well. Sadly, every two minutes a woman dies from pregnancy or childbirth.
In places without medical resources, there is nothing you can do, Gronseth explains. Almost 300,000 die in pregnancy and childbirth every year. “That’s a statistic that should be attacked from all sides,” he says.
And that’s exactly what NYAGI Project is doing. “I fell in love with ultrasound — to look inside the body in real time and see things moving — 20 years ago. But it’s difficult to learn. The learning curve is very steep,” Gronseth says.
“We created software to overcome that. Our system is designed for learning that sticks.”
The integrated program can quickly roll out in countries in need. Dr. Gronseth and up-and-coming practitioners travel to rural partner areas to educate around ultrasound in a “train the trainer” format. The unique approach not only instructs on-the-ground healthcare workers in critical ultrasound diagnostics, but also teaches them how to teach others, creating a “multiplier effect” that exponentially increases access for women in need.
It’s experiential learning at its finest. “Students get hands on the ultrasound probe, scan right away, and with expert teachers learn what to look for,” Gronseth says. “They also get an independent study tool to help them grow and feel more confident. We circle back to make sure students are doing things correctly and move on in the learning curve so they can use ultrasound in different situations.”
NYAGI’s hands-on learning is combined with custom software built into a mobile tablet that doesn’t require Wi-Fi. Add direct feedback from Dr. Gronseth’s team and the project delivers a high quality ultrasound education that accelerates knowledge that can be passed forward.
“We leave tools behind to employ and deploy to other areas of the country,” Gronseth says.
Interested in supporting the NYAGI Project or learning more about Spine West’s local services and international efforts?
Dig in or donate an old iPad at nyagi.org. For a complete list of Spine West’s services, telemedicine options and COVID-19 protocol, visit spinewest.com.
Spine West Physiatry & Sports Physicians
5387 Manhattan Circle, Boulder