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Hand Therapy Fellowship

Our Mission and Goals

The mission of the Duke Hand Therapy Fellowship is to develop and graduate practitioners who by virtue of their critical thinking ability, clinical skills, diagnostic competence and ethical standards are committed to promoting the optimum health and function of their clients and who will serve the profession and larger society through teaching, administration, and/or research.

The clinical fellowship program’s goals and objectives are directed toward a comprehensive experience in the rehabilitation of patients with upper extremity dysfunction across the lifespan. These goals and objectives are based on the four practice domains identified in the 2014 Hand Therapy Practice Analysis conducted by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission.

The goals of our fellowship include:

  • Advance the profession of occupational therapy through excellence in the practice of hand therapy.
  • Improve access for patients to highly qualified hand therapists.
  • Foster lifelong professional behaviors through the deliberate utilization of evidence-based practice in hand therapy.
  • Cultivate effective interprofessional communication and collaborative skills to foster partnerships that optimize patient care and outcomes in hand therapy.
  • Demonstrate scholarly inquiry through critical appraisal of current evidence within a clinical practice situation, service delivery opportunities, or professional issue.
  • Create an environment that celebrates and values diversity, equity, and inclusion, promoting cultural competency to enhance patient care and address healthcare disparities.

What Makes Our Program Unique

Our fellowship incorporates both didactic learning experiences and clinical mentoring to elevate the OT to the level of a master clinician. As part of a large teaching hospital, our program can offer a variety of unique learning experiences such as shadowing physicians, observing procedures and participating in research opportunities.

After successful completion of the curriculum, the fellow will be equipped with the expertise required to successfully manage a broad range of upper extremity conditions.

Highlights of Our Program

Throughout the year of your fellowship, you will receive direct 1:1 clinical mentoring in the upper extremity rehabilitation setting. There is also a weekly didactic curriculum focused on enhancing your knowledge of the upper extremity as well as opportunities to contribute to upper extremity research. The fellow will be a salaried 30 hour employee for the duration of the 52 weeks. 

In addition, you will have opportunities to work alongside Duke’s hand surgeons. These opportunities include clinic and surgery observation, attendance at hand surgery and indications conferences, and cadaver lab

How to Apply

All applicants must have graduated from an accredited OT program and be licensed or eligible for licensure in North Carolina. Applicants with at least one year of clinical experience in upper extremity rehabilitation are preferred. Less experienced applicants who have completed a level II fieldwork in hand therapy and can provide a letter of recommendation from their clinical instructor are also encouraged to apply.

Please send the following documents in a single Zip folder to Duke’s Residency and Fellowship Director Michael Schmidt by December 2, 2024.

  • 3 letters of recommendation from professionals familiar with your capacity to succeed as a fellow
  • Resume or CV and cover letter
  • Academic transcripts
  • Essay describing reasons for applying to the fellowship
  • Completed application – 2025 – 2026 OT Hand Fellowship Application
  • Qualified applicants will be contacted via email regarding an in-person interview by mid-December. Interviews are typically held in late January.