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Fellowship Syllabus

Location: Online

Presenter: Mirella Deisher, OTD, MS, OTR/L, CHT

Target Audience: International Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, & Certified Hand Therapists

Educational Level: Intermediate 

Instructional Method: Online instruction




The content of this course addresses the ability of the fellow to perform efficient and effective examination and intervention procedures for the upper extremity and hand in a manner consistent with current evidence and best practice. Case studies and mentorship will provide an opportunity to hone critical thinking skills as we analyze specific cases to improve outcomes.  




Achievement of objectives depends on full participation which includes:

  • Completion of assigned readings

  • Utilize Mentorship Resources

  • Attending class or Tuesday evening case study discussions 

  • Completing post session quizzes

  • Completing end of term exams

  • Participating in VHSF Jounal Review

  • Attending VHSF Live Weekend Lab or similar hands-on learning

  • Seeking support to transition to a related practicesetting 


Upon successful completion of this program, the fellow will: 


Demonstrate advanced expertise in occupation-based examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and management of patients with upper extremity and hand impairment and disability as evidenced in a weekly quiz and case study participation and by completing exams.

Demonstrate leadership in the field who help bridge the gaps between practice patterns utilizing evidence-based practice and enhance interdisciplinary collaboration by doing a critical appraisal of journal articles.

Successfully perform and interpret tests and measures for the upper quarter to develop appropriate therapeutic interventions, and to identify red flags that necessitate referral to the appropriate professional, as evidenced in the weekly quiz and case study participation and completing exams.

Successfully perform and describe when to use preparatory and occupation-based interventions for the upper extremity and hand to improve patient outcomes as evidenced in weekly quiz and case study participation and completing exams.

Be able to explain occupation-based examination and intervention skills to student occupational therapists and colleagues as evidenced in case studies or passing rubric for a lecture delivered to hand fellows.

Describe the use of biopsychosocial and disablement models, evidence-based practice, the use and generation of knowledge, the influence of practice philosophy in clinical reasoning as evidenced in the weekly quiz and case study participation, and completing exams.

Apply clinical reasoning strategies regarding diagnostic and narrative reasoning strategies; develop a holistic diagnosis through clinical reasoning, and utilize effective management strategies as evidenced in the weekly quiz and case study participation and by completing exams.

Explain the principles of, and effectively utilize differential diagnosis as evidenced in the weekly quiz and case study participation and completing exams.

Apply clinical reasoning methods for expert clinicians as evidenced in the weekly quizzes and case study participation and completing exams.

Efficiently utilize a biomechanical screen and occupation-based assessment using the principles of evidence-based practice as evidenced in the weekly quiz and case study participation and completing exams.

Access professional website to locate guides to practice, code of ethics, position papers, standards, and other literature pertaining to the literature review and professional development as evidenced in preparing lectures, access journal articles to present to peers.

Demonstrate the ability to critically analyze research articles as evidenced in journal article appraisals.




Required Texts: 


Skirvin, Osterman, Fedorczyk, Amadio, Feldscher, and Shin (eds). Rehabilitation of the Hand and Upper Extremity. 7th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier, 2021. Proof of purchase will be required upon enrollment.


Supplemental readings and exercises will not be provided. For those with an ASHT membership, you have access to Journal of Hand Therapy and a discounted subscription to Journal of Hand Surgery is also available.


Recommended Memberships for US:


American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT)

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) or

American Physical Therapy Association 


International students are recommended to hold membership in their local professional organizations.

*VHSF holds no financial interests in the recommended memberships or purchase of required text.


The course provides a professional development and related evaluation in the following ways:

a.     Exams & Quizzes

             i.   Completion of the baseline exam, 3 exams at the end of each trimester or 4-month term, post fellowship assessment exam.

             ii.     Weekly quizzes

b.    Class Preparation

             i.  View recorded lecture and complete the quiz and/or case study in advance of Sunday live session.

c.     Course participation

             i.  Attend 1 live session per week.

             ii. Progression through content and completion of courses as scheduled.

                      If you fall behind, you can transfer to the asynchronous cohort.

                     Any extended time beyond 1 year requires extended access enrollment for $50.00/mo.

d.    Mentorship

                                      i.     Adherance to learnong contract and use of self assessments and mentorship resources.

                                    ii.     Mentorship based on identified need by the fellow or mentor.

                                  iii.     Attendance to one live session per week for mentorship support. 

e.     Course Completion

                                      i.     Completion of online curriculum

                                    ii.     Completion of quizzes, exams, and class participation for case study discussions.

                                  iii.     One written assignment:

                                                1.  Journal Article Review/Critical Appraisal (recorded) 

                                                2. Blog: Writing one blog on hand therapy topic with citation.

                                                       a. Topic must be approved (1-2 pages)


This program is delivered virtually using PowerPoint presentations and audio. Closed captioning is available if you choose to enable it. If you need special accommodations to improve accessibility contact Mirella Deisher at



  • The monthly program can be discontinued at any time by canceling your subscription.  

  • No refunds will be provided under any circumstances for the discounted trimester and annual enrollments. A credit for an alternate VHSF program or course may be offered at the discretion of VHSF. 



  • VHSF is an AOTA, CBOT, and CPTA-approved provider; 96 contact hours or 9.6 CEUs will be awarded upon completion of the full-year program.

  • An additional 14 contact hours or 1.4 CEUs will be provided for participation in the Live Weekend Lab event.

  • Contact hours are also available for guest speakers.



  • Mentorship is available throughout enrollment. Using the patient planner tool should guide your preparation to discuss questions you have related to patient care. Any recommendations should be vetted by your referral source to ensure progression by their preferred protocols. Mentorship will be limited by the accuracy and availability of the information provided. Any images or videos shared to support mentorship can be used by VHSF to support learning for all enrolled fellows. HIPPA must be maintained when seeking patient care mentorship or sharing images & and video content. 


  • Social media will be utilized for marketing and networking opportunities.  If you do not want your name or image posted, please send me written notice stating this.


  • The curriculum consists of (3) 15 week trimesters. It has been updated and will be provided upon enrollment. Details can be provided by attending an information session. 

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