Alexandra VonBehren MOT, OTRLAlex is a proud graduate of Michigan State University where she earned her B.S. in Kinesiology. She went on to obtain her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at Detroit’s Wayne State University. Alex joined the DHPT team to fulfill her dreams of moving west and becoming a certified hand therapist. Outside of work, Alex enjoys hiking, crafting, and journaling. This midwestern girl is loving the Arizona sun! Chandler Location
Alicia Austin PT, CSCS
Alicia graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Sciences. She earned her M.S. in Physical Therapy from the Arizona School of Health Sciences (AT Still University) in 2000. During her professional career, she has had the opportunity to work closely with orthopedic surgeons to gain extensive knowledge of post-surgical rehabilitation. Alicia is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She is also certified as a Mat I Pilates Instructor through PHI Pilates. She has had the honor of being a past presenter at the state Athletic Trainer’s Convention. Her presentation was about integrating Pilates into the athletic training room. Her most recent accomplishment has been becoming a Certified Kinesio® Taping Practitioner (CKTP) as well as becoming certified in Dry Needling through the American Dry Needling Institute. Alicia is a native of Arizona and enjoys spending time with her family. She has a young son and enjoys watching college basketball, reading, and golfing.
Allie Cammarata, OTR/LAlexandra graduated from Lasell College in 2009 with a B.A. in Psychology and Early Intervention. She received her Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy from Midwestern University in 2019. While in grad school, she traveled abroad on a medical mission trip to Guatemala to work with underserved populations with orthopedic conditions. Additionally, her love for art and science led to published anatomy illustrations in the latest orthotics textbook, Orthotic Design and Fabrication for the Upper Extremity: A Practical Guide. She found her passion for hand therapy during her advanced orthotics course and her clinical rotation at the Desert Hand & Physical Therapy location in Mesa. In her spare time, she enjoys being creative, discovering new hiking trails, staying active, and trying new recipes. Glendale Location
Allison Nickolaou, OTR/LAllison received her Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University in Health Sciences. She went on to earn her Decorate of Occupational Therapy from Northern Arizona University. Allison began working as a therapist at DHT in June 2019 and is working towards becoming a Certified Hand Therapist. In her free time, Allison loves spending time with family and friends, as well as hiking and camping with her two golden retrievers.
Anna Wan, MSOT, OTR/L
Anna received her Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University. She went on to earn her Master’s degree from A.T. Still University in 2016. She has a background working in inpatient rehabilitation, acute care, and outpatient lymphedema before pivoting into hand therapy. She joined the team in August 2021 and is working on becoming a Certified Hand Therapist. In her free time, she enjoys paddle boarding, playing tennis, and trying new recipes. She also loves to travel and has been to 29 countries.Chandler Location
Annette Berka, OTR/L, CHTAnnette received her B.S. Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Florida in 1985. She spent the next two years working in general rehabilitation and hand therapy in South Florida before moving to Arizona in 1988. She joined Desert Hand Therapy six months after its inception and worked as the clinical director for one of their busiest offices in the Valley. Annette ventured into independent practice for five years before returning to Desert Hand Therapy in 2014. She is passionate about patient care and building relationships with her patients and their medical team for the best outcomes. In addition to her clinical work with Desert Hand, she is an active member of ASHT. Peoria Location
Ashley Moody, MOTR/L
Ashley has been practicing hand therapy since 2017. After graduating with her bachelor's degree in kinesiology and exercise science from California State University Sacramento she moved to Tennessee. While living in Tennessee Ashley earned her Masters of Science in occupational therapy from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and discovered her passion for treating the hand and upper extremity. Immediately after graduating Ashley began working as a hand therapist in Las Vegas, Nevada, and joined the Desert Hand and Physical Therapy team in 2018; where she continues working towards her goal of becoming a certified hand therapist. Ashey’s hobbies outside of work include history, watching football, and hiking with her husband and two dogs.
Brittany is a proud Arizona native who loves the Cardinals and the Suns (when they are doing really well). She received her Bachelor of Public Health at Northern Arizona University. She went on to earn her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy from Northern Arizona University. Brittany began working as a therapist at DHPT in June 2021and is working towards becoming a Certified Hand Therapist. Chatting up with her patients and helping them return to the activities they love doing is her favorite part of being an OT. In her free time, Brittany loves shopping, drinking wine with friends, going on day trips, and playing with her puppy Boots.
Brittany Moya, OTR/L, CHTBrittany graduated from Saint Francis University with a Bachelor’s in Allied Health Sciences and Psychology in 2012 and a Master’s of Occupational Therapy in 2013. She began her career as a burn therapist and worked in a trauma and burn ICU for 2 years prior to transitioning to hand therapy. She is eligible to sit for the CHT exam in 2018. Brittany loves all areas of hand therapy but most enjoy diagnoses in wound care, neurologic rehabilitation, and crush injuries. Outside of work, Brittany enjoys marathon running, Cross Fit, hiking, and spending time with her husband and cockapoo, Flash. Goodyear Location & Laveen Location
Carlos Ramirez, COTA
Carlos moved from California to Arizona in 2005 and was hired at Desert Hand Therapy shortly thereafter. Prior to moving into therapy, Carlos was certified as a Licensed Massage Therapist in CA. While at DHT, Carlos earned his Associate degree in Applied Science for Occupational Therapy Assistant. Since then, he has dedicated his career to the treatment and rehabilitation of the upper extremity while being mentored by several Certified Hand Therapists. He has worked with therapists at our Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cofco, and Clarendon offices. He has a particular interest in tendon injuries and pursuing further continuing education in modalities, such as kinesiotaping. He is currently in the process of pursuing his Masters's Degree in Occupational Therapy. Carlos is actively involved in daily managerial duties at the Clarendon clinic when not treating patients.
Carlos, his wife, and 3 boys enjoy outdoor activities which include riding bicycles, soccer, football, and going to the zoo.
Casey Blaesing OTD, OTR/L, CKTPCasey is an occupational therapist at the Laveen and Goodyear DH&PT locations. She completed a Level II fieldwork rotation with the company in summer 2019 and returned to complete a pediatric hand therapy capstone project in spring 2020. In May 2021, she joined the team as an employee. Casey received her BA from the University of Iowa (Go Hawkeyes!) and pursued an OT clinical doctorate from NAU. While in college, she studied abroad in Spain to develop proficiency in Spanish. Prior to joining the team at DH&PT, she worked with kiddos with developmental delays in a sensory integration clinic. Casey is currently working towards becoming a certified hand therapist with a desire to ultimately specialize in pediatric hand therapy. She’s also considering pursuing a part-time path in education to teach OT students. Casey recently became a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner. In her free time, she enjoys reading, being outside, petting her cat Finnegan, and of course spending time with family.
Charlotte Reed, MOTR/L, CHTCharlotte grew up in Arlington Heights, Illinois. She graduated from Cornell College where she studied Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology. She completed her Master of Occupational Therapy degree at Midwestern University in Glendale. Charlotte rejoined Desert Hand & Physical Therapy team in April 2021. In her free time, Charlotte enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the outdoors. North Phoenix Location
Chris Reynolds, PT, MHS, CHTChris received his Bachelor of Applied Sciences Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Michigan in 1979. He moved to Phoenix one year later to begin his career in hand therapy and has been part of a growing profession ever since. He worked for a group of hand surgeons and hand therapists for 17 years and helped lay the groundwork for this burgeoning specialty. During this period Chris authored several chapters in Rehabilitation of the Hand and a number of other publications while giving over 100 talks and presentations nationally and locally. He became a Certified Hand Therapist in 1991 and received his Masters of Health Science Degree from the University of Indianapolis in 1994. In 1997 Chris started Desert Hand Therapy and has been the Director ever since, establishing 10 clinics in the Valley of the Sun. He continues to see a full caseload of patients finding immense joy in helping patients with injured upper extremities regain motion, strength, and function. He recently patented a continuous passive motion machine for the elbow and is working on a new brace/splint combination for injured hands and wrists. Through the years Chris has had the pleasure of mentoring individuals who have expressed an interest in entering the field of hand therapy. Chris served on the Board of the American Society of Hand Therapy and has been an item writer for the Certification examination. He is a member of the APTA, AZPTA, and ASHT. When Chris is not at work he enjoys his involvement with his church, participating in sports of all kinds, and spending time with his “little brother” through Valley Big Brothers and Sisters. He particularly enjoys family vacations with his wife Laure, daughter Jessica and son Chase. Central Phoenix Location
Christine is a Connecticut native who moved to Arizona in first grade. She received her Bachelor of Elementary Education at Arizona State University. She went on to earn her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from A. T. Still University. Christine began working as a therapist at DHPT in April 2021 as a full-body therapist. She has a passion to get her patients back on their feet. In her free time, Christine loves to spend time with her husband and goes to every Cardinal's home game. She also has a four-year-old son and enjoys building Lego sets together. She is excited to welcome a new baby girl to the world this year!
Desarae Johnson OTR/L, CHT
Desarae earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise and Wellness at ASU in 2013. In 2015, she graduated with her Masters in Occupational Therapy from Midwestern University in Glendale. She earned her Certified Hand Therapy certification in May of 2019. Desarae was inspired to become a hand therapist after being a patient herself. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and son.
Donna M. Gilbert, OTR/L, CHT
Donna attended Kearney State in Nebraska and the University of Nebraska in Omaha before obtaining her B.S. in Occupational Therapy at Loma Linda University in California in 1992. She has enjoyed working in the specialty field of Hand and Upper Extremity Rehabilitation for the past 23 years in Kansas City and Phoenix areas. She obtained her Hand Therapy Certification in 2001.
She joined the team at Desert Hand Therapy in 2001. She continues to treat patients daily as well as manage our North Phoenix, Glendale, and Estrella offices. She is an active member of AOTA, AriZota, NBCOT, and ASHT. Currently, she is the Legislative Co-chair for the Arizona Occupational Therapy Association.
Everet Barron, OTR/L, OTDEveret Barron, OTR/L and OTD, joined Desert Hand & Physical Therapy in Glendale after graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2021. Everet previously served 6-years of active duty in the United States Air Force before transitioning to a career in occupational therapy. Everet developed a passion for hand therapy during graduate school, and he was able to complete his doctoral capstone at the Air Force Academy and Fort Carson where he was able to shadow the hand surgeon of the Air Force for 16-weeks. Currently, Everet is participating in the mentorship program at Desert Hand and is working towards becoming a certified hand therapist. When not working, Everet enjoys staying active and getting outside. He just completed his first full marathon in January of 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Glendale
Gaury Alfaro, PT, DPT, CIDN
Gaury graduated from Indiana University where she studied Human Biology. She later completed her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Midwestern University in Glendale. In addition to working with patients, Gaury serves as adjunct faculty at Grand Canyon University teaching anatomy and physiology.
Gaury joined the Desert Hand & Physical Therapy team in 2021 but has years of experience in orthopedics and sports injuries, and is fluent in Spanish. In her free time, Gaury enjoys doing DIY projects, spending time with family & friends, anything that involves being outdoors, and traveling to as many places as she can.Avondale Location
Jake VanLeeuwen, OTR/L, CHT, CSCS
Jake received a B.S. in Physical Education from Northern Arizona University in 1991; aspiring to become part of the allied health profession, he worked as a physical therapy tech for the next several years at a sports medicine clinic in Phoenix and Sun City, AZ. During this period he was able to interact with a wide range of people including adolescents, athletes, working-class people, and retirees. Here, he honed his skills interacting with people on an interpersonal level. Jake became certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Urged by his dream of becoming an occupational therapist, he attended Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine Southwest Center in Phoenix, AZ. During this period, he was selected to the committee of students to be reviewed to credential this new program. Jake received a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 1998 and became a Certified Hand Therapist in 2005. Jake has since worked in Surprise, AZ for Desert Hand Therapy. Jake enjoys spending his weekends participating in outdoor activities with his son which includes fishing, camping, and bike riding.
John SchoutenJohn joined DHPT in June 2021. I graduated from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. I have spent most of my time in the field in outpatient orthopedics. I decided to become a PT because all of the anatomy and sports medicine classes I took in college were very interesting to me and PT was a way I could keep learning about those things after college. I also love seeing and talking to a bunch of different people throughout the day and helping them get better. In my free time, I love playing basketball. If I could have a superpower it would be the ability to fly. I would love to be able to fly wherever I want but I would also love the fact that I could basically go sky diving whenever I want. When I was a kid my dream was to be an NBA basketball player. Clarendon Location
Joy Ramsey, MS, PT
Joy graduated from Sanford University in 1989 and earned her Master’s in Physical Therapy from the University of Alabama Birmingham in 1991. For over 29 years, she has worked at in-house rehabs, outpatient clinics, school systems, and home health addressing a variety of diagnoses as it applies specifically to every age group. This includes patients with strokes, head and spinal injuries, work injuries, amputees, orthopedic procedures, sports weekend warrior injuries, back, shoulder & neck pain, TMJ issues, and developmental delays.
In June 2015, Joy joined the Desert Hand & Physical Therapy team as a hand therapist, while also developing a full-body PT program at the Estrella office.
Her hobbies include golf, gardening, travel, and spending time with family. Joy is native to Nashville, TN. She has practiced PT in Birmingham AL, Naples FL, and Phoenix AZ for the last 20 years.
Lisa Austin, PT, CSCS
Lisa Austin is a native of Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Exercise and Sports Sciences. She continued her graduate studies at AT Still University for Physical Therapy. Lisa has been practicing for over 20 years. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and is Certified in Dry Needling. Lisa utilizes different treatment techniques to develop individual treatment programs based on the patient’s goals. Personally, Lisa enjoys watching college basketball, golfing, and baking. She enjoys reading and learning about the world around her. Lisa enjoys spending time with her husband, Amp, and their son, Aubry.
Matthew Figgins, OTR/LMatt received his Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona. He began working at DHT in February 2019 and is in the process of becoming a Certified Hand Therapist. In his spare time, Matt likes to play basketball, hike tall peaks, and work on DIY wood projects. Matt has been active his whole life and played various sports that have resulted in various injuries, from jammed fingers to dislocated shoulders. Matt's experience participating in therapy to rehabilitate from those injuries inspired him to become a therapist himself. He recognizes the important role that hands play in our everyday lives, and he wants to do all he can now to help others regain the strength and functionality in their own hands and arms. Chandler Location
Mia Graham, OTD, OTR/L Joined DHPT in 2022 School: I attended the University of Tampa for my undergraduate degree and Creighton University - Denver Program for my occupational therapy degree. Experience/Background to Highlight: I have experience in both outpatient hand therapy as well as the acute care hospital setting. I also had the pleasure of completing two clinical rotations with DHPT during my schooling. My favorite part of OT is helping patients get back to doing the things they love so they can return to enjoying activities at home and in the community. Career Goals: I am working to become a certified hand therapist and plan to work with a wide variety of patients. Professional Association: AOTA Enjoy doing in free time: I enjoy traveling, outdoor activities, trying different restaurants, and spending time with my friends and family. Favorite quote/life motto: My favorite quote to live by is: "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne
Rae Aaronson, MSOTR/L, CHT
Rae graduated Summa Cum Laude from Richard Stockton University of NJ, receiving a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. She completed affiliations in inpatient and outpatient pediatrics, as well as, sub-acute rehabilitation centers. She successfully passed her national certification board in occupational therapy in 2014 and her national certification in hand therapy in 2017. Rae has been working in hand therapy in New Jersey since 2014 and has joined Desert Hand Therapy in 2019. She is an active member of AOTA, NJOTA, and ASHT. Rae's interests include traveling and coaching gymnastics.
Richard Standage, PT, MPT, CHT
Richard has been practicing in the east valley for over 20 years. After graduating from ASU with his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, he attended NAU where he earned a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy, graduating with honors. He discovered his passion for treating the hand and upper extremity early in his post-graduate studies and started with Desert Hand Therapy as an intern in 1999.
Immediately upon graduating in 2000, he began practicing in the area he grew up. He has shared his experience with multiple other therapists, mentoring them to become Certified Hand Therapists.
Married almost 30 years, he and his wife, (Gayle) have 3 daughters. He loves vacationing with his family but also enjoys long motorcycle trips in the summers with his brother. His other interests include golf and playing ping pong.
Sarah Martin, PTA
Sarah graduated from San Diego State University where she studied Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Athletic Training. In 2011 she became a Certified Athletic Trainer and worked with a variety of high school and collegiate athletes. In 2014 she continued her education at Gateway Community College in Phoenix where she earned her certificate as a Physical Therapist Assistant.
Sarah enjoys giving back to her profession and serves as a Clinical Instructor for Physical Therapist Assistant students. She is also a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and is looking forward to expanding her skill set and knowledge through their Advance Proficiency Pathway (APP) program. In her spare time, she enjoys backpacking, camping, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Shad Bennett, OTR/L
Shad was raised in Green River, Wyoming. In 2014, Shad began Occupational Therapy school at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. There, he became fascinated with the complexity of the upper extremity and established a goal to become a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). Upon graduation, he moved to St. George Utah where he practiced as a therapist in a skilled nursing facility for 2 ½ years. In December of 2019 Shad joined the Desert Hand and Physical Therapy team to pursue his goal of becoming a CHT.
Shad has been married for 8 years and has 2 boys and 2 girls. He enjoys spending time with his family, swimming, listening to audiobooks, and watching action movies.
Shelby Johnson PT, DPT, CSCSJoined DHPT in 2022 School: I attended the University of Wyoming for my undergraduate degree and Midwestern University in Glendale, AZ for my Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Experience/Background to Highlight: I have PT experience in outpatient ortho and acute care settings. I also had a 12-week clinical rotation with DHPT as a physical therapy student. My favorite part of PT is getting to meet new people and helping them achieve their personal goals. I enjoy the challenge of creating unique exercise programs to optimize each patient’s specific needs. Career Goals: I plan to continue treating full body and become dry needling certified in the near future. Professional Association: APTA Enjoy doing in free time: I enjoy hiking, weightlifting, playing outdoor sports, and taking my dog for long walks. Favorite quote/life motto: “Don't sweat the small stuff...and it's all small stuff.” ― Richard Carlson, Ph.D
Tom Conklin COTA/L
Tom Conklin is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. Tom received an Associate’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 1994. Prior to this, he worked as a therapy tech. This is where he developed an interest in helping people regain their physical health. Following graduation, Tom worked 13 years for an outpatient orthopedic clinic, where he specialized in upper extremity rehabilitation, with the last 5 years as a clinic manager. Tom then spent 4 years working in a rehab hospital, helping patients improve life skills, strength, and overall function. Tom joined Desert Hand Therapy in 2011, where he has been at the Surprise office. In his leisure time, Tom enjoys woodworking, working out, and spending time with family.
Troy GeigerA native of Arizona, Troy received his degree in Exercise and Wellness from Arizona State University. He then continued his graduate studies at Northern Arizona University where he received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Before his continued education in physical therapy, Troy was a Licensed Massage Therapist for 6 years. He utilizes the manual techniques that he learned as a massage therapist along with his physical therapy training to assist patients in their road to recovery and physical health goals. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, and following the local sports teams. Arcadia Location
Vaughn Burgeson, OTR/L, CHT
Vaughn graduated from the University of North Dakota with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy in 1989. He moved to northwestern Ohio and explored a variety of treatment settings including psychiatric rehabilitation, skilled nursing, and home health prior to developing an interest in hand therapy. Upon becoming a Certified Hand Therapist in 2001, Vaughn supervised the hand therapy division of an outpatient physical rehabilitation company in Toledo, OH. While working closely with area hand surgeons, Vaughn specialized in tendon rehabilitation, custom splinting, and general upper extremity rehabilitation. Vaughn joined our Desert Hand Therapy team in 2014 and welcomes the opportunity to serve the hand therapy needs of the residents of Mesa.
Wanda Barth-Lindblom, PT, CHTJoined DHT Nov. 2006 Graduated from the University of Alberta, Canada with a Bachelors in Physical Education (BPE) in 1989 and a Bachelors of Science Physical Therapy, (BScPT) in 1991. Worked in Canada as a physical therapist before moving to the great state of Arizona. Practiced full-body therapy until finding her love of hand therapy and obtained her CHT certification. Free time is spent with family who is now all grown up, working on fitness goals, and the latest hobby of quilting. Always working on some type of artistic project outside of work. Fitness adventures include the gym, hiking, paddle boarding, and some kind of obstacle event. The therapy motto is: If you feel nothing, we are doing nothing. All good things come to those who work for them Life motto.... Enjoy today, tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Will Martin, MOTR/L
Born and raised in Vermont, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology at Carroll College in MT and his Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at the University of Mary in ND. Will enjoys all aspects of hand therapy but he most enjoys treating individuals with shoulder and elbow injuries as well as traumatic hand injuries. Will is currently working toward becoming a certified hand therapist (CHT). Outside of work Will enjoys spending time camping, playing sports, biking, hiking, kayaking, and spending time with his family, pets, and friends.