BAXTER-It was all smiles at the open house in Baxter for Gillette Children's Speciality Healthcare, where distressed children are treated.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, Aug. 7, celebrated the recently remodeled and expanded Baxter Clinic with the public.

"What we do is orthotics, prosthetics and custom seating, and what I mean by 'custom seating' is it's not the wheelchair, but the customization to the wheelchair to fit the patient's needs," said Bradley Fisher, manager of the assistive technology department at the clinic.

The Baxter Clinic off Highway 371 offers convenient access to Gillette assistive technology services for families in central and northern Minnesota.

Assistive technology includes products, equipment and systems that enhance learning, working and daily living for the disabled, according to the Assistive Technology Industry Association.

"What we do in our Greater Minnesota model is we provide services in Greater Minnesota, so our patients do not have to drive all the way into the Cities for their sub-speciality care or for those types of services," Fisher said.

Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare cares for patients with some of the "most complex, rare and traumatic conditions" in pediatric medicine, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

"When it comes to working with kids, very often we have to have them come back on a regular basis because kids grow, so we have a very good fitting to start out with then eventually it needs adaptations for that growth," said Kathy Molina, a certified orthotist-prosthetist with Gillette.

"If that growth is beyond what we can do for adjustments, then what we do is we make new again ... following these kids throughout their lifetime and into their adulthood."

Tuesday's open house included tours of the facility, the chance to talk to Gillette experts and providers, and the opportunity to meet with Gillette families from the Brainerd and Baxter area in a relaxed sitting.

The Baxter Clinic at 15860 Audubon Way serves as a hub for assistive technology services at outreach sites in central and northern Minnesota; they service, for example, Alexandria, Baxter, Bemidji, Duluth, Mankato, Marshall, St. Cloud and Willmar.

"We've been providing assistive technology services in Greater Minnesota for over 20 years. ... We used to just do ATD services at this location," Fisher said. "What's really changed over that time is we've been bringing nurse practitioners and physicians also into these clinics."

Other nonprofit Gillette clinic locations in Greater Minnesota besides the Baxter Clinic include places such as Bemidji, Duluth, Mankato and Willmar.

"We're just trying to increase our footprint in the communities that we go to," Fisher said.

The Baxter Clinic offers appointments with physicians who specialize in rehabilitation medicine and manage care for patients who have neuromuscular conditions, and other complex conditions and injuries, according to officials.

"Baxter is one of out-growing locations that we have. I would say that we probably see a thousand appointments a year out of this location," Fisher said.

For more information about the Gillette Children's Speciality Healthcare Baxter Clinic, call 651-290-8707 or visit