Upper Extremity Rehabilitation


Advance your health care practice.

Preparing occupational therapists and physical therapists for enhanced specialty care in upper extremity rehabilitation.

Offered fully online, with face-to-face clinical mentorship experiences, this interprofessional educational experience helps you develop clinical skills, research methodology, depth of knowledge, and the professional behaviours to assess and evaluate, and manage and rehabilitate complex upper extremity conditions. This unique program’s curriculum is mapped to the Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) exam.

Partners in Enhancing Patient Care

This program combines the academic, research and clinical expertise of Western University's Schools of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy with that of the Roth McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre, a world-renowned centre of excellence in education, research and the diagnosis, care and treatment of patients with complex conditions affecting hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders.

Interested in learning more about this program?

Complete the form below to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click below for answers to commonly asked questions related to program content, structure, partnerships and credentialing.

Video FAQs

Program Overview

Courses and Program Outline

Program Delivery/Timeline


Next Steps

Research Opportunities


About our Students

Expanding Expertise

Designed for practicing occupational and physical therapists in search of advanced-level knowledge and skills in upper extremity rehabilitation, this program helps you develop the skills and knowledge to provide enhanced patient care for upper extremity injuries and conditions and to seek advanced accreditation and recognition nationally and internationally. The ideal candidates for the program are:

  • Therapists who are interested in gaining initial experience and preparing for employment in upper extremity rehabilitation
  • Experienced therapists seeking to advance their practice in upper extremity rehabilitation
  • Those who have some direct practice experience in upper extremity rehabilitation who would like to prepare to challenge the Certified Hand Therapist Examination

Contributing Experts

Mike Szekeres, PhD, OT Reg (Ont), CHT

  • Field Leader and Assistant Professor, Advanced Health Care Practice Program in Upper Extremity Rehabilitation
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Hand Therapy
  • President, Hand Therapy Canada
  • Certified Hand Therapist

Joy MacDermid, PT, PhD

  • Editor, Journal of Hand Therapy Past
  • President, American Society of Hand Therapists
  • Co-director Clinical Research Lab, Roth | McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, London, ON
  • Distinguished University Professor, Physical Therapy and Orthopedic Surgery, University of Western Ontario
  • Dr. James Roth Chair in Musculoskeletal Measurement and Knowledge Translation.
  • Canada Research Chair in Musculoskeletal Health Outcomes and Knowledge Translation

Paul Parikh, PT, DPT, PhD, FCAMPT

  • Assistant Professor, School of Physical Therapy, Western University

Kristin Valdes, OTD, OT, CHT

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Hand Therapy
  • Past President, American Society of Hand Therapists Associate
  • Professor, Touro University
  • Certified Hand Therapist

Tara Packham, PhD, OT Reg (Ont)

  • Assistant Professor, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, McMaster University
  • Executive Editor, Pain Medicine

Christos Karagiannopoulos MPT, MEd, PhD, ATC, CHT

  • Associate Professor, DeSales University, DPT Program
  • Certified Hand Therapist
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Hand Therapy

Pat McKee, MSc, BSc(OT)

  • Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto
  • President, Anatomy Softwear International Inc.

Ann Porretto-Loehrke, PT, DPT, CHT, COMT, CMTPT

  • Clinical Development Coordinator
  • Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin, Appleton, Wisconsin

Ken Flowers, PT, CHT

  • Editor Emeritus, Journal of Hand Therapy
  • Certified Hand Therapist

Mike Cricchio MBA, OT/L, CHT

  • Site Manager, University of Florida Hand & Upper Extremity Centre
  • Certified Hand Therapist
  • Co-chair, Teton Hand and Upper Extremity Conference
  • Past Division Chair, Board of Directors, American Society of Hand Therapists

Joey Pipicelli, MScOT, CHT, OT Reg (Ont)

  • Occupational Therapist, Certified Hand Therapist
  • Division of Hand Therapy, Roth | McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre

Tracy Elliott, BPHE, BSc(Hons), BScPT

  • WSIB Specialty Shoulder Program
  • Division of Physical Therapy, Roth | McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre

Juliana Larocerie, OT Reg (Ont), MSc, CHT

  • Occupational Therapist, Certified Hand Therapist
  • Division of Hand Therapy, Roth | McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre

Graham JW King MD, MSc, FRCSC

  • Medical Director, Roth | McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre
  • Site Chief of Surgery, St. Joseph's Health Centre London
  • Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering Western University, London, ON

Kenneth J. Faber MD MHPE FRCSC

  • Professor of Surgery Western University

Vivian Dim OT Reg (Ont), HBSc, BHSc(OT), MClSc(WH)

  • Certified Hand Therapist
  • Complete Decongestive Therapist
  • International Interprofessional Wound Care Certification

Dave Walton PT, PhD

  • Associate Professor, School of Physical Therapy (cross Psychiatry)

Michael WC Payne, MD, MSc, FRCPC, CSCN Diplomate (EMG)

  • Associate Professor, Physiatrist, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University
  • Parkwood Institute, St. Joseph's Health Care

Alison Rushton, EdD

  • Director - School of Physical Therapy, Western University

Jayaprakash Raman, MPT, PhD

  • Clinical Mentorship Leader, AHCP, Upper Extremity Rehabilitation (UER) Field, School of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University

Armaghan Dabbagh, PT, MSc

  • PhD Candidate, Physical Therapy Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Western University

Emily Lalone, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Materials Engineering
  • Co-Director, Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Laboratory, Western University

Douglas C Ross, MD, MEd, FRCSC

  • Professor, Division of Plastic Surgery, Western University
  • Co-Director, The Peripheral Nerve Clinic Roth | McFarlane Hand & Upper Limb Centre

Nina Suh, MD, MSc

  • Assistant Professor Department of Orthopedic Surgery Emory University

James Andrew Johnson, BSc, BEng (Mech), PhD, PEng, FCAE

  • Professor, Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Surgery, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
  • Graham King Research Chair

Artur Wozniak, BSc, MD, FRCPC

  • Diagnostic Radiologist

Christopher Doherty, MD, MPH, FRCSC

  • Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of British Columbia

Admission and Applying/Tuition and Fees

General Admission Requirements

  • A minimum bachelor's degree from a recognized university and at least a (B) standing (or equivalent) over the final two years of the program
  • A current license to practice in Canada if seeking mentorship practice opportunity in Canada
    • Interested students who currently hold a provisional license will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis, and will be required to obtain a full license to practice prior to program completion
  • Physiotherapists/Occupational Therapists practicing outside of Canada must be licensed to practice in their country of residence
  • Advanced computer skills
  • Two references
    • Academic (if attended university within the last five years) and professional
  • Demonstrated English language proficiency, including both written and oral communication
    • See below for more information

English Language Profiency

  • Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS is recommended)
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 620 (paper-based), 105 (internet-based), 260 (computer-based) or an IELTS score of 7.5 is required
  • Students who, after admission, show an inadequate command of spoken or written English must improve their proficiency to the satisfaction of the Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Students may be asked to withdraw from the program if their command of English interferes with their ability to provide quality professional services
  • Students who are required to present evidence of proficiency in English must make their own arrangements to write the TOEFL and to have the official results sent directly to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • The English language proficiency requirements outlined above do not apply to students from Quebec

Applying to the Program

Have questions about applying?

Email ahcp@uwo.ca.

To apply to the Advanced Health Care Practice program, students should:

  • Visit the  online application website
  • Follow the instructions on that page to access the application
  • Select "Advanced Health Care Practice" from the program options in the application and select the appropriate field

Application Deadline

  • Applications will open November 1 and close August 1
  • Applications maybe accepted after that date if space is available
  • Offers of admission are sent out beginning in late April and continue until the program is filled

Tuition and Fees

The annual domestic tuition fee for this program is approximately $14,000 CAD including ancillary fees (plus $2,100 CAD mentor fee i.e. $700 CAD/term***) which is payable over three terms (September, January and May).

The annual international tuition fee for this program is approximately $37,000 CAD including ancillary fees (plus $2,100 CAD mentor fee i.e. $700 CAD/term***) which is payable over three terms (September, January and May).

These fees are subject to change and are set by Western University. Instructions for students paying tuition from a Canadian bank are available from the Office of the Registrar.

***Please note all fees including mentorship fees and course fees are currently under review and are subject to change and adjustment***

OSAP Eligible

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Program Structure and Course Offerings

With courses offered fully online, through synchronous and asynchronous virtual learning environments, this program allows students to achieve their learning goals while balancing the demands of their professional and personal lives.

The curriculum and course offerings of this program are built around the idea that specialized rehabilitation of the upper extremity reflects a synthesis of occupational therapy and physical therapy theory and practice that combines comprehensive knowledge of the structure of the upper limb with function and activity to inform evidenced-based rehabilitation.

Exposure to specialized practice will position graduates of the program to effectively manage the complexity of clinical presentations and enable best practice in upper extremity rehabilitation.

Advanced Standing

Advanced standing is available to clinicians holding the Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) designation. Depending on your clinical experience and learning needs, advanced standing may be granted for the following courses:

  • ACHP 9681 | Foundations in Upper Extremity Rehabilitation
  • AHCP 9682 | Rehabilitation of Hand Conditions
  • AHCP 9683 | Rehabilitation of Shoulder & Elbow Conditions

In addition, if you're granted advanced standing, you won’t be required to complete the ACHP 9620 Clinical Mentorship component.

***Please note that advanced standing does not affect your tuition.


Fall Term (September-December)

  • Research Methods
  • Foundations of Upper Extremity Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Mentorship
  • Research Experience

Winter Term (February-April)

  • Advanced Professional Practice
  • Rehabilitation of Hand Conditions
  • Clinical Mentorship (continued)
  • Research Experience (continued)

Spring Term (May-August)

  • Rehabilitation of Shoulder and Elbow Conditions
  • Clinical Mentorship (continued)
  • Research Experience (continued)
    • Includes Research Day

About Clinical Mentorship

Through a Continuing Professional Development framework, this course facilitates the synthesis of the theoretical and practical aspects of a student’s development through a period of mentorship within the work-based/practice environment and documented with a professional portfolio. Students will have the opportunity to work within a variety of settings to enable development of existing knowledge and skills and advanced practice in upper extremity rehabilitation. The Clinical Mentor(s) will enable a student’s development through a partnership of teaching; researching; managing; observing and discussing with innovative practice being encouraged within the framework of safe, legal, and ethical practice as made explicit in any applicable published standards (e.g. professional registration body, specialist competencies etc). Clinical mentorship for this field would come from hand therapists/upper extremity therapists who are willing to act as mentors.

The student will undertake pre-mentorship preparation through an online half-day study day, and online preparatory study. Students will undertake a minimum of 150 hours of experience in a work -based/practice environment. Learning needs may necessitate a range of environments as part of the mentored experience to ensure that all outcomes are achieved. The selection of the work-based environment is negotiated by the student in collaboration with the field leader, dependent upon their individual learning needs and their program field and any specialist requirements. A variety of patterns of delivery of the 150 hours experience are possible, encompassing part-time and full-time modes as well as a variety of models of experience e.g. clinical practice, observation of practice, case analysis, situational online clinical reasoning, telehealth, e-mentoring, FTF mentoring etc. Current registration with appropriate professional/regulatory bodies is required as appropriate to the negotiated mentored practice.

Students are responsible for securing their own clinical mentor(s).

Learning Outcomes

Upon successfully completing the program, students should have the ability to:

  • Critically analyze and integrate the principles underpinning upper extremity rehabilitation to inform interventions across the lifespan
  • Evaluate clinical history and examination findings to inform individualized client-centred rehabilitation within a biopsychosocial and interdisciplinary framework
  • Implement and justify evidence-informed rehabilitation interventions to optimize clinical outcomes
  • Synthesize knowledge, skills and attributes to demonstrate advanced practice in upper extremity rehabilitation
  • Develop research skills enabling active participation and competency in clinical research
  • Communicate and apply ethical principles and practices in patient care and research activities
  • Develop communication strategies that foster therapeutic alliance and shared decision-making with the client
  • Develop iterative self-reflection skills and continued life-long learning