Arthur Heinz


Ashley Heinze, Katie Hautman

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This life history is one of 29 life history interviews which are a part of a larger project, Life Histories of Individuals Who Have Been Influential in Developing Occupational Therapy (OT) in North Dakota and Wyoming. The purpose of the project is to gather information about the history and evolution of OT practice in North Dakota and Wyoming through life histories of individuals who have been influential in developing OT in these two states. It is anticipated that the life history process will be a powerful way to gather this information. This study is intended to provide current and future generations of occupational therapists a view of the history and how OT practice has evolved from its inception to current practice in North Dakota and Wyoming.

Art Heinze, 79-years old, has been a double-arm amputee for 59 years. In 1957, at the age of 18, Art was involved in a circular saw farm accident, which led him to become a double-arm amputee. He attended the University of North Dakota and graduated with his bachelor’s in OT in 1961. After one year of practice, he started the OT program in Thief River Falls, Minnesota in 1964, and was the only therapist in northwestern Minnesota. Throughout his career he completed many amputee consultations, creation of adaptive equipment, and participated in public speaking for disability awareness, the amputee coalition, and some American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and prosthetic conferences. He also made a video based off of his accident, which included what a therapist should know when working with an amputee. He retired in July of 2003 as the director of occupational therapy at Northwest Medical Center in Thief River Falls after 40 years in the profession and many recognizable accomplishments.

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