2011-2012 Officers

2011-2012 Officers, thank you for all your hard work and dedication!
President – Merritt McKenzie, MHSA, OTR/L, CHT, CPAM

Merritt has been a GHUESIG member and Vice President since 2008. As President for the 2011 – 2012 term, Merritt is focused on extending membership and educational opportunities to more hand therapists across Georgia. He has launched initiatives including outreach to therapists, technology-based learning (webinars, podcasts, etc.) and development of our group’s official website.

Merritt currently serves as Director of State Operations for BenchMark Rehabilitation Partners (BRP) of Atlanta, which includes Rehab South, BenchMark Physical Therapy, & Pro Therapy. He leads the team of hand therapists within the Hand to Shoulder Rehab Group and provides business development for worker’s compensation services.

Previously, Merritt was regional director of an Atlanta-based outpatient rehab company. Before moving to Atlanta, he worked in South Florida and Fort Worth, Texas for two of the nation’s largest rehabilitation companies. In various leadership positions, Merritt was responsible for the overall growth and success of numerous outpatient physical rehabilitation clinics.

Merritt attended Florida International University in Miami, FL, where in 1994 he earned a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy and in 2000 he received a Masters of Health Services Administration (MHSA). Merritt has been practicing hand therapy since 1995 and he became a certified hand therapist (CHT) in 2002. He also holds a certification in physical agent modalities (CPAM).

Merritt is a member of the American Society of Hand Therapists, the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association and the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is published in Occupational Therapy Weekly and is a frequent guest speaker at local universities as well as local and national industry conferences.

One of Merritt’s greatest talents is listening. That makes him the ideal person to contact with your comments and thoughts on how to keep GHUESIG moving ahead.

Merritt can be contacted via email at merritt001@gmail.com or call 770-639-6691.

Vice President – Sharon Hennigan, MA, OTR/L, CHT

Sharon joined GHUESIG after serving in different roles within the Texas Occupational Therapy Association and the North Texas area hand interest group. She recently served as Vice President of the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association.

As the Vice Chair for GHUESIG, Sharon wants to identify methods for helping therapists connect. These methods may include web-based networks and internet learning experiences as well as the group’s traditional weeknight and weekend meetings.

Additionally, Sharon wants to reach out to other therapists who are interested in learning how to conduct research within their clinics, and create a support group to help interested colleagues obtain the tools and assistance to participate in research.

Sharon works at Pinnacle Orthopedics in Austell. Her experience has been gained mostly with corporate rehabilitation companies where she has held management positions for multiple outpatient clinics. She served Texas Instruments as a member of the Safety and Ergonomics team.

Sharon attended The University of Texas Medical Branch, where she received her occupational therapy degree. She also completed a master’s degree in healthcare management at Texas Woman’s University. Recent activities include authoring a chapter in a book for acute-care therapists and being selected as a grant reviewer for the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

Please contact Sharon to share your ideas about ways we can share our experiences and begin exploring how to conduct research with your clinics at skhennigan@bellsouth.net or 817-707-9616.

Treasurer – Lisa Smith, OTR/L, CHT

Lisa has been a GHUESIG member since 2001. She served as the newsletter rep in 2005-2006 and has been our treasurer since 2009. Lisa is excited about this year’s initiative to grow membership statewide and provide educational and networking opportunities to therapists who have not been involved with the group in the past.

After practicing in the metro Atlanta area for ten years, Lisa recently relocated to Savannah, where she is a staff hand therapist at Southeastern Orthopedic Center. While in Atlanta, Lisa served as a hand therapist at two of the nation’s largest rehab providers and most recently was a clinic manager.

Lisa attended Saint Louis University where she received her BS in OT in1998. She has been practicing hand therapy since 1998 and became a CHT in 2003. Lisa is a member of ASHT and GOTA.

Please feel free to contact Lisa regarding any questions you may have about membership or an interest in joining the group. Contact Lisa at lpopeot@bellsouth.net or call 770-265-3221

Secretary — Missy Cathcart Thurlow, MBA, OTR/L, CHT

Missy has been a member of GHUESIG since its beginning and served as vice-chair for several years. A 1981 graduate of the University of Texas Medical Branch, Missy has 30 years of occupational therapy experience.

She worked in a large general hospital in Baton Rouge and became a burn specialist before moving to Atlanta in 1986. She was involved in the startup of Cobb General’s Rehab Department and gained NDT certification for treatment of hemiplegia patients. She worked for several Atlanta-area hand clinics before joining her current employer, Peachtree Orthopedics.

Missy has been active on the Board of Directors of ASHT, most recently as Secretary/Treasurer. She previously served on the NBCOT Test Development Committee and enjoyed several years as an item writer for NBCOT and HTCC. Missy received her CHT in 1992, and in 1993 she earned an MBA. Contact Missy at missy58cat@hotmail.com or call 770-617-9678

Newsletter Rep – Sheri Roberts, OTR/L, CHT

Sheri Roberts graduated from the University of Florida in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy. Her primary employment has been with Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, where she is now completing her 21st year. She has developed and taught anatomy classes and has given hand therapy lectures for the DeRoyal Orthotics Company, Georgia Occupational Therapy Association and the American Society of Hand Therapists.

Sheri has worked in acute care, outpatient arthritis and pain management, acute rehabilitation, and hand therapy. She has dedicated 13 years to treatment of the upper extremity. She has worked closely with the Denoyer Geppert Science Company in the development of the muscle threader teaching tool, the desktop hand reference and her most recent book, Everyday Upper Extremity Anatomy, a clinical guide reference and interactive workbook.

Sheri’s website, handinmind.com, provides information on basic hand therapy skills, free power points, and information on her children’s book that features an OT as the heroine of the story. She received her specialized hand therapy certification in December of 2002 and took on the role of chair of GHUESIG in 2009. Contact Sheri at scottsheri83@bellsouth.net or call 404-434-5700