The Hand Center of Bienville maintains a staff of specially trained, experienced Certified Hand Therapists (CHT’s), occupational therapy assistants and technicians specializing in the treatment of problems and injuries of the hands and upper extremities. Certified Hand Therapists have a minimum of five years clinical practice, including 4,000 hours or more of direct practice in hand therapy. Additionally, our Certified Hand Therapists have successfully passed a voluntary comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory. The CHT credential is recognized by many professional organizations as a benchmark for excellence in advanced specialty credentialing in health care.
The intricate anatomy of the arm and hand frequently requires very delicate surgery. The technical complexity of these kinds of surgeries necessitates a high level of competence by therapists with advanced skills during the postoperative recovery. Therapists must be knowledgeable about these advanced surgical techniques and postoperative therapy to become a CHT.
Using specialized skills in assessment and treatment, hand therapists promote the goals of preventions of dysfunction, restoration of function, and/or reversal of progression of pathology in order to enhance participation in life situations for individuals with upper extremity injury and disease. We provide the best possible therapeutic treatment choosing from a full range of treatment approaches including custom splinting, wound care, scar management, heat, cold, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, range of motion and strengthening exercises, work conditioning and activities of daily living.
Hand Therapy is indicated for a variety of shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand problems including:
- Nerve injuries and compressions
- Tennis elbow
- Tendon repairs
- Joint contractures
Carolyn Callie Lawson, OTR/L, CHT, is a National Board Certified Occupational Therapist Registered and licensed to practice in the state of Mississippi (OTR/L) as well as a National Board Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). She attended Mississippi State University and majored in Kinesiology. Callie attended occupational therapy school in Jackson, MS at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Callie is a native to the gulf coast and returned home after completing occupational therapy school in 2014. Callie worked as an OT in a variety of settings including acute care, skilled nursing, and mixed outpatient until she joined Bienville Orthopaedic Specialists, LLC in September 2018. In November 2020, she met the Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC) requirements and became a National Board Certified Hand Therapist (CHT).
Clarissa “Casey” Picard, MSOT, OTR/L, CHT, is a National Board Certified Occupational Therapist Registered and licensed to practice in the state of Mississippi (OTR/L) and a National Board Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) with over 7 years of experience in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation. She attended the University of South Alabama, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Professional Health Sciences degree in 2012 and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) degree in 2013. In November 2020, she met the Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC) requirements and became a National Board Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). She has been employed with Bienville Orthopaedic Specialists, LLC since September of 2014. Casey is originally from Southwestern Pennsylvania and relocated to the coast in 1999. She enjoys the beach, traveling, and spending time with family.
Melissa Nolan Hartsfield, OTR/L, CHT is a National Board Certified Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR) and National Board Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) who is licensed to practice in the state of Mississippi. She has over 32 years of experience in Occupational Therapy and 30 years of experience in Hand and Upper Extremity Rehabilitation. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe, Louisiana in 1988. In 1992, she completed a three month hand therapy fellowship with Arizona Hand Therapy Specialists. In November 1994, she met the Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC) requirements and became a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). She has been employed as a Hand Therapist with Bienville Orthopaedic Specialists since September 1999.
Melissa has presented a variety of topics at the local and state level. She has attended over 30 continuing education courses related to treatment of treatment of the upper extremity. She is an active member in the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) and is currently an Annual Meeting Committee Member.
She is a native of Monroe, Louisiana but has lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast since graduating from college in 1988. In her free time, she enjoys working out, cooking and spending time with her husband and college-aged daughter.
Ophelia Abrahams, OTR/L, CHT graduated from the University of Durban-Westville in South Africa. She began practicing as an Occupational Therapist in 1994 and has been a Certified Hand Therapist since 2007. Ophelia joined the Hand Center of Bienville in July 2008. She is a member of the American Society of Hand Therapy and American Occupational Therapy Association and the Mississippi Occupational Therapy Association. Ophelia works primarily in the Orange Grove Clinic.
Samantha “Sam” Pierce, MOT, OTR/L, has a Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) degree, is National Board Certified in Occupational Therapy, and is licensed for practice in 3 states (OTR/L). Sam has over 3 years of occupational therapy experience in rural access, acute, skilled nursing, psychiatric, and outpatient settings. She re-joined our team in November 2020. She received her Bachelor of Radiologic Sciences degree from the University of South Alabama in 2009. She worked for Bienville as a Radiologic Technologist January 2010 to December 2014. In 2017, she received her Master of Occupational from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHC) in New Orleans. She has a special interest in expanding her skills in shoulder recovery and splinting. Sam is currently taking active steps to become a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT), which includes over 4,000 hours of direct practice experience in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation under the mentorship of our Certified Hand Therapists. She is eligible to take the National Board Certified Hand Therapy Examination in May 2023. She is a native of Gulfport and is glad to be back to serve the people of the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas. Sam loves being a dog mom to her Schnauzer. She enjoys festivals, hiking, farmer’s markets, crafting, traveling, LSU Tigers, Saints, New Orleans Mardi Gras.