Lending a hand in superior education

Progressive, prestigious and evidence-based are just a few words former fellows of the Hand Therapy Fellowship Program at the Roth McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre use to describe their fellowship experience at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Hand therapy fellows

Pictured above: Hand Thearpy Fellows (left to right) Laura Yurkowski, Chelsea Barker and Kristen Macdonald.

The program was developed in 2011 to assist interested and motivated occupational or physical therapists who have a keen interest in developing the necessary skillset to be proficient in providing hand therapy.

Currently the fellowship program offers a comprehensive 600 hour hand and upper extremity rehabilitation fellowship designed for both entry level or experienced occupational or physical therapists. Emphasis is placed on learning anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, pathology, functional utilization of the upper extremity and research methodology. 

At a recent hand and upper limb symposium on Nov. 13 2015, three former fellows returned and shared their thoughts on the program.

Kristen MacDonaldKristen MacDonald was a fellow two years ago and uses the skills and knowledge she gained from the program daily. Currently a hand-therapist in Kitchener at the symposium she reflected on her past in the fellowship. “It was beyond what I expected. The staff were passionate, knowledgeable, and extremely supportive. I was able to learn different skills and applications and present my research. The program encompassed so much that I use today.”

Laura Yurkowski completed her fellowship in 2014 and is currently living in Winnipeg and works in outpatient hand therapy and a private clinic. “My experience at St. Joseph’s included involvement in treatment and research. It was incredible watching the teams work together. They were always helpful.”

Chelsea BarkerChelsea Barker was the program’s first fellow and now works in Philadelphia as a hand therapist. “During the program I was able to participate in clinical research rounds with plastic and orthopedic residents, I observed surgeries and was able to present my research at conferences. I was exposed to many different types of injuries and saw new techniques and surgeries. My experience there was second-to-none.”

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