Special to Sierra Daily News, Written by Patty Clawson
In the treatment of hands and upper extremities, one might think that an occupational therapist would be the person helping you with rehabilitation needs. Although that’s somewhat true, there’s another type of therapist, who through advanced study and experience, is more qualified and specializes in hand therapy.
At EPHC’s Therapy & Wellness Center, that’s Jeanne Harper, our Certified Hand Therapist and one of only about 6,600 practicing Certified Hand Therapists in the United States. That’s a pretty big claim to fame given the strict requirements that limit the number of practicing Certified Hand Therapists (CHT).
For Jeanne, she was interested in hand therapy even before she graduated from college. She had considered getting her master’s degree in a combined PT/OT degree but did not have the finances at the time to pursue this avenue.
“My journey into the specialty of hands began during a phase in my career when I had a back injury at work and considered leaving the profession. While taking some post graduate classes, I was invited to attend a regional hand therapy study group that met monthly. I did some networking, more continuing ed, and after getting the work experience in many hand therapy clinics, and studying with a therapist who had experience in Pediatrics, I sat for the rigorous Hand Therapy Certification Exam, and passed on the first try”, said Jeanne Harper.
Jeanne has an impressive resume with a B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Certification in Hand Therapy from the Hand Therapy Certification committee (HTCC). She holds memberships with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), American Hand Therapy Society (ASHT), and the Hand Therapy Association of California (HTA-CA).