Nicolaas van den Heever, born in South Africa, obtained his Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town as the first male OT in South Africa. He decided early on in his career to develop professionally as a generalist and gained experience in a variety of settings – the military, rural communities in Africa and China (for the WHO), large psychiatric hospitals and industrial units, orphanages, substance abuse rehabilitation, out-patient rehabilitation, and in private practice – specializing in adult and pediatric neuro-rehabilitation.
He spent the last 40 years in the health care field as a clinician, consultant, rehabilitation director, hospital administrator, in business development and marketing, and as a university professor, department chair, founding program director of both master and doctoral programs, and dean. Besides his international engagements, he has practiced for the last 18 years here in the United States, mostly in leadership positions as director of rehab departments, multi-site hospital-based clinics, and hospital educator. During this time, he obtained his post-professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate from the University of St. Augustine. He has been an international, national, and local speaker on the topics of rehabilitation both for the adults and pediatric population, stroke prevention, stroke, and brain injury rehabilitation, which includes functional vision and cognitive rehabilitation, and return-to-driving rehabilitation for the disabled.
Besides his work as a consultant in the areas of quality improvement and licensing, accreditation, and survey preparation, he developed a lucrative practice in leadership development, customer service training, and developing high-functioning teams. In 2014, Dr. van den Heever was awarded the Occupational Therapy Practice Award by the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) “in recognition of significant contributions to the advancement of the practice of occupational therapy.”