Hand Therapy Fellowship

Mission Statement:

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 Program include:

  • Advancement of the professions of occupational therapy and physical therapy through excellence in the practice of hand therapy
  • Improved of access for patients to highly qualified hand therapists
  • Development of professional behaviors, specifically in terms of lifelong learning, participation in development and use of evidence to support this practice as well as through thoughtful application of hand therapy principles

Overview of Curriculum

  • Direct 1:1 clinical mentoring in upper extremity rehabilitation settings
  • Opportunities to contribute to research and present at conferences
  • Physician Clinic & Surgery Observation opportunities
  • Fresh Cadaver Lab Observation Opportunities
  • Hand Surgery Conference and Indications
  • Weekly Didactic Curriculum


Program Structure

  • The program is a full-time, post-professional educational program spanning 12 months. The Fellow-in-Training becomes an employee of Duke and is employed at a reduced salary (with full benefits) while participating in the Fellowship.
  • The program includes 32 hours per week of patient care (including 1:1 mentoring and clinical practice) and approximately 20 hours a week of didactic coursework, case reports, testing, etc.
  • The fellowship incorporates both didactic learning experiences and clinical mentoring to elevate the OT or PT to the level of “master clinician.” As a 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-in-Training will be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to successfully manage a broad range of upper extremity conditions.


Curricular Content

  • Foundational Knowledge
    • Evidence Based Practice
    • Anatomy and Physiology
    • Biomechanics and Kinesiology
    • Psychosocial Effects of UE Dysfunction
    • Pain Management
    • Wound Care
    • Orthotic Principles
    • Understanding Diagnostic Imaging
  • Clinical Examination
    • Top-Down Approach
    • Goniometry and Manual Muscle Testing
    • Provocative Testing
    • Sensibility Testing
    • Functional Tests
    • Differential Diagnoses
  • Common Conditions
    • Skin and Soft Tissue
    • Sprains and Strains
    • Dislocations
    • Fractures and Joint Injuries
    • Nerve Compressions
    • Nerve Lacerations
    • Tendon Injuries and Tendinopathies
    • Edema and Vascular Disorders
  • Special Techniques
    • Orthotic Intervention
    • Physical Agent Modalities
    • Nerve Glides and Mobilization
    • Elastic Taping
    • Manual Therapy
  • Special Populations
    • Complex Trauma
    • Injured Workers
    • Instrumental Musicians
    • Congenital or Traumatic
    • The Injured Athlete
    • Patients with Hemiplegia/Tetraplegia


Admission criteria:

Application Requirements:

Completed Application
Curriculum Vitae and Cover Letter
Essay describing reasons for applying to the Fellowship Program
3 letters of recommendation from professionals familiar with your capacity to succeed as a fellow
Licensed or eligible for licensure in North Carolina as an OT or PT
Minimum of 2 years clinical experience with an emphasis on upper extremity rehabilitation

Selected Candidates:

Will be invited for a campus interview which includes a practical clinical exam with a mock patient.

Clinical Faculty

Program Director
Joshua Blevins, OTRL, CHT, CPAM
Office Phone Number: (919) 668-1396

Jason Boucher, OTRL, CHT (co-director)
Theresa Hallenen, OTRL, CHT (co-director)
Julie Lunich, OTRL, CHT
Christine Khelfa, OTRL, CHT
Thomas Murdy, OTL, CHT
Jessie Poteat, OTRL
Ashley Gaudino, OTRL
Erik Carvalho, PT, DPT, MHA

2022 2023 OT and PT Hand Fellowship App

Mail together completed application, essays, transcripts, recommendations and twenty-five dollar application fee made out to the Duke Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy in one envelope to the following address:

Mike Schmidt, PT, DPT, GCS, OCS, FAAOMPT

Hand Therapist Occupational Therapist and Physical Therapist Fellowship Program
Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy,
Duke University Medical Center, DUMC 3965, Durham NC 27710
919 668-1323


For August 1, 2022-July 31, 2023 Fellowship