With world-class medical facilities (many of which lie within the city’s “Medical Mile”), rigorous medical universities, and prestigious medical professionals, Grand Rapids is a leader in medical advancements.

The founding of medical-research facility Van Andel Institute in 1996 jump started a multi-billion dollar investment along Michigan Street just northwest of downtown known as Medical Mile.

This area is renowned as a world-class healthcare destination. The clinical, research and academic institutions that now line the Mile have attracted medical professionals from around the world. Their influx has spurred new retail and residential developments, transforming this neighborhood into a bustling center of activity.

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital is a division of Spectrum Health and is located within the Medical Mile.

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital is a division of Spectrum Health and is located within the Medical Mile.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Within the Mile is Spectrum Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 180 ambulatory and service sites; and 3,600 physicians and advanced practice providers. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 26,000 employees and also provided $434 million in community benefit during its 2018 fiscal year.  

Fact: Mary Free Bed is the fourth largest rehabilitation network in the world.

Fact: Mary Free Bed is the fourth largest rehabilitation network in the world.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Center is also a premiere medical facility in Grand Rapids that offers over 100 rehabilitation services and programs. With 167 patient beds, Mary Free Bed is the fifth largest rehabilitation hospital in the country and fourth largest rehabilitation network in the world. Mary Free Bed has expanded its presence to other Michigan communities, such as Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Lansing.

The area is highly accessible by foot or mobility device, making it an ideal spot for conferences as there are a multitude of restaurants and venues to pick from for outside of conference activities.

Medical Mile isn’t the only life sciences cluster in the city. Located in downtown Grand Rapids is Mercy Health St. Mary’s campus and the Mercy Health Hausenstein Neurosciences Center. Metro Health Village is the first of its kind 170-acre health care village, consisting of shops, restaurants, and support services in addition to Metro Health Hospital.

In addition to these centers of care, Grand Rapids is home to research facilities like the Van Andel Institute that are leading the search for treatment and cures for certain types of cancer, neurological disorders like Parkinson’s Disease, as well as other chronic diseases. Grand Rapids’ established presence in the medical field has been attracting international organizations and businesses to host their events for some time now.

The Phoenix World Burn Congress is the world’s largest gathering of burn survivors, their caregivers and loved ones, healthcare professionals, and fire service.

The Phoenix World Burn Congress is the world’s largest gathering of burn survivors, their caregivers and loved ones, healthcare professionals, and fire service.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors recently held their Phoenix World Burn Congress at the Amway Grand Plaza and DeVos Place Convention Center. The event is the world’s largest gathering of burn survivors, their caregivers and loved ones, healthcare professionals, and fire service.

“Grand Rapids was the perfect city for our conference. Affordable, energetic, and friendly. Our attendees had a great time exploring the city, walking along the river, and checking out the vibrant restaurant scene,” said Pam Peterson, Program Director for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors.

The event is often the first chance survivors have to meet another person with burn injuries.

Grand Rapids was the perfect city for our conference. Affordable, energetic, and friendly. Our attendees had a great time exploring the city, walking along the river, and checking out the vibrant restaurant scene.

The event is often the first chance survivors have to meet another person with burn injuries.

“Many of our attendees have visible scarring or amputations, but this community welcomed them with open arms,” said Peterson.

Whether conferences are medical-related, business-focused, or consumer-driven, the majority of Grand Rapids conference attendees agree that the proximity of the city’s convention center to downtown amenities is a great benefit.

“The area is highly accessible by foot or mobility device, making it an ideal spot for conferences as there are a multitude of restaurants and venues to pick from for outside of conference activities,” said Peterson.

Grand Rapids’ medical infrastructure and access to local expertise is making it an emerging midwest destination for the life science sector. Discover more resources and get connected to planning assistance by visiting the Medical Meetings page.