Bjorn W. Svendsen, DHSc, PT

Founding Fellow, American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy

Dr. Svendsen services as both a clinical and operational strategist for Health Connections Enterprises.  With a long standing history with the founder of Health Connections Enterprises, David M. Hatrel, PT, MTC, DPT, Bjorn has done much to shape the Vision and Mission of Health Connections Enterprises over the years.  Dr. Svendsen continues to mentor the Officers of HCE as well as assist in the development of our continuing education programs and our future clinical instructors.  Many of our strategic clinical sites take have taken advantage of onsite mentoring from Bjorn.

Bjorn was born in Tromsø, Norway in 1943.  He completed his physical therapy certificate at Skodsborg School of Physical Therapy (PT) in Skodsborg, Denmark in 1968 and his Manual Therapy (MT) certificate in Oslo, Norway in 1974.  He travelled to Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California in 1974, completing his Master of Public Health degree in 1978 and his Doctor of Health Science degree in 1982.

From 1987 – 1990 Bjorn held an assignment as an Associate Professor in the Andreas University, Berrien Springs, Michigan entry level physical therapist program.  Since the program was relatively new, he was fortunate to get requests from the School administration to help plan and conduct the program content in a variety of subject areas – such as human anatomy, functional exercise physiology and movement sciences.  He was asked to consult and teach clinical skills courses for patient examination and treatment for orthopedic diagnosis, industrial and personal injury conditions as well as sports injuries.

In 1990 Bjorn participated as a Founding Fellow, along with 7 other Fellows, in the formation of The American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapist (AAOMPT).  He established and operated The Great Lakes Institute of Manual Therapy 1990 – 2000, through which he conducted an advanced two year clinical specialty education and training program.  This program was approved by the AAOMPT.  The specialty level skills were examined and assessed by a panel of Fellow MT’s from the AAOMPT following each two year block of time for each individual group.  Bjorn did hold assignments as an examiner for other programs under the AAOMPT “umbrella”.

Bjorn was engaged by The Rehabiliteringssenteret Nord-Norges Kurbad (RNNK) in Tromsø, Northern Norway in 1999. The assignment was to plan, propose and complete a re-engineering of the physical therapy department at the RNNK.  This 100 bed hospital and 15 physical therapists were rendering services to patients after surgery and disability related to orthopedic conditions, neurological conditions and diagnosis and patients with health challenges following stroke and long term poorly controlled diabetes and obesity.  The physical therapy staff went through a 4 year re-engineering and upgrading of the physical therapist patient evaluation process, goal assessment for the patients, treatment and training of the patients with an emphasis to enable the patients to transfer to the home setting maintaining an effective self-care program.  This re-engineering process was completed with a self-perpetuating in house education and training program in place in 2005.  The evaluation and treatment program emphasized skills in the area of manual therapy and exercise therapy. Dr. Svendsen was the only manual therapist leading the rest of the physical therapy community to increase their effectiveness by utilizing manual therapy concepts and techniques in the evaluation and treatment processes. The hospital acquired an extensive selection of exercise equipment and 9 complete stations equipped with body weight support technology and treadmills in order to enable the physical therapists and patient population to be able the start the patient exercise program early without the risk of causing increased symptoms despite 2 + hours of exercise training per day.

In 2003 Bjorn acquired a private physical therapist clinic in Honefoss, Norway.  Here he treated personal and industrial injury patients on a fee for service basis until February 2011.  Bjorn is presently the lead physical therapist and manual therapy involved in the Salangen Township Health Services center in Northern Norway.  The patient load is largely work-related injuries and patients with pain and functional deficits following work related episodes, personal injuries and degenerative conditions.

Bjorn plans to relocate to the United States and reside in Tennessee with his family.  He will continue to take an ever expanding role in Health Connections Enterprises.