Hand Therapy Fellowship

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The mission of the URI Hand Therapy Fellowship Program is to inspire and empower the Occupational or Physical Therapist with advanced knowledge, clinical reasoning and practice skills necessary to develop and implement a plan of care as a passionate, evidence-based clinical specialist in the field of Hand and Upper Extremity Rehabilitation. Ultimately, this clinician would earn the designation of Certified Hand Therapist (CHT).


The URI Hand Therapy Fellowship is a 12-month structured didactic and clinical mentoring program designed to empower the Occupational or Physical Therapist with the advanced knowledge, clinical reasoning and practice skills necessary for successful practice in the hand and upper limb rehabilitation specialty.  The program provides both a strong foundation and ultimately aims to prepare a clinician to earn the designation of a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). 

Program Goals

  • Provide a Fellowship program with a faculty-led curriculum that establishes advanced competencies consistent with the description of Hand and Upper Limb rehabilitation specialty practice.
  • Deliver high quality evidence-based Hand Therapy specialty education in a blended environment that prepares the clinician to become a Hand and Upper Extremity specialist and ultimately become a Certified Hand Therapist.
  • Provide consistent program delivery to Fellows across all clinical sites.
  • Provide a superior mentorship component that promotes clinical and professional development.
  • Provide opportunities for fellows to be active consumers and potentially contributors of scientific literature. 
  • Growth of clinicians that exhibit the highest standards of professionalism.

Program Director

Jennifer DeYoung, MOT, OTR/L, CHT



Locations are available around the country pending mentor availability with four required live two-day weekend labs based in Atlanta, GA. 

Program Structure & Plan of Study

Each fellow provides patient care at one of URI partners’ leading outpatient facilities.  

The program consists of blended learning content including the following:

Advanced Practice Concepts

Topics include use of program technology/online platform training, introduction to evidence informed practice, research statistics, clinical reasoning, outcomes, medical screening, conducting initial evaluations and initial treatment, pain neuroscience, building therapeutic alliance, tissue injury and healing, pharmacology general principles, imaging and electrophysiological evaluation in the hand.

 Hand and Upper Extremity Foundations and Interventions

This course provides the Fellow with a review in upper quarter anatomy, biomechanics, and assessments; UQ screening and manual therapy, therapeutic use of physical agent modalities commonly used in UE practice, proprioception, sensibility and functional dexterity testing, orthosis fabrication, neurodynamics and therapeutic exercise principles. The first of two weekend Orthosis Fabrication labs will occur during the course.

 Management of Upper Extremity Conditions I

This course reviews hand fractures and joint injuries, tendinopathies, neurogenic pain and compression neuropathies, peripheral nerve injuries, flexor and extensor tendon injury management, and wound, skin and soft tissue conditions. A weekend lab series in UQ management/UE manual therapy will begin during this course.

Management of Upper Extremity Conditions II

This course reviews edema, vascular and lymphatic disorders, common conditions of the wrist, elbow and shoulder, arthropathies, autoimmune disorders, and hand/UE pain conditions. Weekend labs will continue during this course.

Management of Upper Extremity Special Populations

This course addresses the nature and treatment of upper extremity disorders in special populations: complex traumatic conditions and psychosocial adjustment, the injured worker, industrial injuries and cumulative trauma disorders, ergonomics, the injured musician, athletes/sports injuries, post-stroke, hemiplegia and tetraplegia, and pediatric/congenital conditions. Weekend labs conclude and scholarly projects are completed. Finally, studies will culminate in a mock CHT-style exam.

Four live, two-day Weekend Labs

Orthosis Fabrication and Management Labs (2)

Biomechanical and fitting principles, material selection, and assessment principles challenge the clinical reasoning skills of the clinician in custom orthosis fabrication, as well as in the selection and fitting of prefabricated orthoses. The orthoses reviewed coordinates with common conditions studied throughout the program.

Upper Quarter Management/Manual Therapy Lab (2)

This lab series coordinates with didactic material covered in the program. Live, hands-on review of special tests, and joint and soft tissue mobilization techniques, combine with practical assessment skills to prepare the clinician to effectively screen the cervicothoracic region, and treat the shoulder complex through hand.

Capstone Projects

  • Case Study: Fellow will write and present a PowerPoint presentation case study via web presentation or live as determined by the Program Director per cohort.
  • Scholarly Project: Development and presentation of a web-based wrist and hand series continuing education topic, other instructional module, or research project promoting the practice of hand therapy as approved by the Program Director. This will be presented via webinar or live as determined by the Program Director per cohort.
  • Mock CHT Exam: Fellow will take a series of practice hand therapy examinations online and results will be reviewed with the Program Director.
  • ***Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) Examination: when eligible (three years of licensed OT/PT practice and 4,000 practice hours in a hand therapy caseload).



All participants receive 150 hours of 1:1 mentorship live with a CHT


Course Descriptions


URI is proud that 92% of our qualified Hand Therapy Fellowship graduates sitting for the Certified Hand Therapy Exam have passed the exam on their first attempt compared to the national pass rate of 54%.



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For years I had wanted to specialize in hand therapy, but I just couldn’t bridge the gap as a general orthopedic physical therapist. The URI Hand Fellowship equipped me with quality mentorship, learning tracks, and valuable orthotic workshops. Becoming a Certified Hand Therapist has enhanced my career in so many ways, and I couldn’t have done it without this program. Thank you URI Hand Fellowship!

– James L


For more information, please contact us at HandFellowship@upstreamrehabinstitute.com