Hand Therapy Specialists

What is a Certified Hand Therapist?

A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is an occupational/ physical therapist who specializes in the treatment of hands.

They must have a minimum of 5 years postgraduate experience with at least 4,000 hours in hand therapy and have successfully challenged the Hand Therapy Certification Commission exam in order to obtain these credentials. CHT’s are dedicated professionals who have a commitment to meet the highest standards of their profession. The hand and arm have extremely intricate anatomy and complexity. Rehabilitation of the hand and arm requires in-depth knowledge and up-to-date techniques. Certified Hand Therapists have the highest level of competence in the rehabilitation of upper extremity injuries.

Certified Hand Therapists are able to initiate treatment immediately following surgery often while stitches are still in place. Early referral to a hand therapist is effective in preventing further surgeries and obtaining an optimal outcome.

Lauren Piekarski, OTR/L

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Lauren graduated from Clemson University in 2014 with Bachelor's degree in Psychology, Bachelor's degree in Food Science- Nutrition and Dietetics, and a minor in chemistry. She went on to receive her Master's in Occupational Therapy from the New England Institute of Technology. Lauren has experience working in a variety of settings such as skilled nursing facilities, home health, hospitals, and hand therapy. When she is not in our clinic, you can find Lauren working at INOVA with patients who have experienced a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or spinal cord injury. Her goal is to help her patients be able to participate in activities that are meaningful to them. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with friends, and working out. 
 
 

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Brett Birkbeck, OTR/L, CLT

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Brett graduated from New York University with a Master’s Degree in Occupational therapy in 2019. He has been working in outpatient hand therapy from the beginning of his career and is working towards becoming a Certified Hand Therapist. Brett earned his certification in lymphedema therapy in 2020. In his spare time, Brett enjoys traveling, hiking, practicing martial arts, playing guitar, and spending time with his friends/family. His overall goal is to help patients perform meaningful activities to the best of their ability.

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Kevin Kisiedu, OTR/L

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Kevin received his Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hampton University in 2015. He then went on to Trinity Washington University where he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy in 2021. Kevin enjoys helping patients reach their full potential. In his free time, Kevin likes to spend time with his family, reading books, and playing flag football with his friends. 

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Kathryn Trizna, OTR/L

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Katie joined Alliance in 2017. She graduated from University of Virginia in 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. She then served two years of AmeriCorps before returning to school to complete a Master's program in Occupational Therapy at Virginia Commonwealth University. Among her fieldwork placements, Katie worked with a skilled occupational therapist at The VA outpatient clinic in D.C. There, Katie worked with Veterans who presented with cognitive challenges, injuries to their upper extremities, and those with adaptive equipment needs. She enjoys treating patients with all upper extremity conditions, post-op cases, and fitting patients with customized splints. She is an active member of ASHT and AOTA. In her free time, Katie likes to spend time with her family and dog, go to the movies, read, and volunteer.

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Kimberly Hartman, OTR/L , CHT

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Kim is a Certified Hand Therapist and Occupational Therapist specializing in Hand Therapy since 1995. In 1995, she received a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Towson University in Towson, MD. She began her career in an acute care hospital where she worked in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. Here she received a broad perspective of Occupational Therapy, to include: acute trauma, post-surgical care, stroke rehab, pediatric developmental delays, wound care, lymphedema management and hand therapy. Later, she went on to attend one of the premiere schools in the nation for Hand Therapy, Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA., where she received a post-graduate level certificate in Hand and Upper Quarter Rehabilitation. She earned the prestigious Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) certification in 2005.Kim has assisted with implementing and developing Hand Therapy programs in various outpatient therapy practices in Northern Virginia. She has extensive upper extremity experience with treating both children and adults with complex hand injuries. Currently, she works directly with Hand Surgeons locally that specialize in orthopedic upper extremity injuries of the upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. Kim is an active member of the American Society of Hand Therapists and also has been trained in and is a provider of the Graston technique. Kim is a lifelong learner and she attends continuing education courses regularly so that she can provide the highest level of services to the patient’s she treats. She excels at the challenge of working with a variety of complex injuries and diagnoses and is extremely skilled in splinting and modalities. In her free time, Kim enjoys spending time with her husband and son, traveling, reading and outdoor activities.

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Sydney Chervenic, OTR/L

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Sydney graduated from Radford University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Recreation Therapy. She later went on to obtain her Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy at Towson University in Maryland. She has a passion for hand therapy and understands the importance that the upper extremity has on function and quality of life. As a former collegiate athlete, Sydney understands the difficulties of the rehabilitation process and aims to guide/support her patients safely towards better health and wellness. She also completed one of her fieldwork rotations with Alliance Physical Therapy and is excited to return as a practicing clinician! She is a native of Northern Virginia and spends her free time playing soccer, exercising, exploring the latest food hot spots, and cuddling with her 2 cats and dog, Vinnie.
 

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