Occupational Therapists

Jyoti Bhalerao 

Jyoti Bhalerao, COTA is an Occupational Therapy Assistant who has worked at Wesley Woods Hospital since 1999.  Jyoti is a native of India and completed her Associates of Occupational Therapy Assistant at College of Du Page in Chicago, IL in 1994.  She completed her modality certification in 2007 and her professional interests include manual therapy, especially for shoulder and neck injuries and/or pain.

Sheila Brock

Sheila Brock, OTR/L  is the Occupational Therapy Coordinator at Emory University Hospital. She has been an OT for 30 years and at Emory for 26 years. She was a member of the 1st  Occupational Therapy graduating class-1978- at  the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Although she grew up in WI and PA, she considers herself a Mid-western Southern. She is a member of American Occupational Therapy Association and the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association. She enjoys playing the piano, exercising, including ballet, reading and hanging out with her teenage daughter. 

Beth Brown

Beth Brown, MS, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist at Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine.  Beth is a native of Maryland/ DC area and completed her Masters of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Barry University, FL in 2004.  This is a second career for Ms. Brown, her first in Health Care Management for 12 years. Beth is an Occupational Therapist on the Stroke Team and is a current member of the American Occupational Therapy Association. 

Ron Butler

Claire Cleaveland

Claire Cleaveland, MS, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist Coordinator at Wesley Woods Hospital.  Claire is a native of Louisiana.  She completed her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern Mississippi and received her Masters of Occupational Therapy from Texas Woman's University.  She is modalities certified and completed the executive certificate program in home modification from the University of Southern California, Ethel Percy Andrus Gerentology Center.   Her professional interests include low vision rehabilitation and home modification. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association. 

Kimberly Garcia

Carolyn Giera

Carolyn Giera, OTR/L  is a staff occupational therapist at Emory University Hospital where she works with the neurology and neurosurgery patients.  She obtained her Bachelor of Science in OT in 1976 from the University of Alabama Birmingham.  She has been practicing OT over 30 years , 10 years at Emory's Center for Rehabilitation Medicine and 10 years at Emory University Hospital  in the neuroscience dept.  Her professional interests include neuroscience and visual impairment.  She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association. 

Kara Gordon

Kara Gordon, MS, OTR/L is an occupational therapist at Emory University Hospital.  Kara is a native of Houston, Texas and completed her Bachelor degree in Biology from the University of Georgia in May of 2004.  Kara then received her Masters in Rehabilitation Sciences with an emphasis in Occupational Therapy from the Medical University of South Carolina in December of 2006. Kara has been practicing occupational therapy at Emory for 2 years.  Her professional interests include neurological disorders and traumatic brain injuries, and the use of interdisciplinary care to enhance treatment.

Megan Halligan

Megan Halligan, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapy Coordinator at Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine and joined Emory Healthcare in May 2001.  Megan is a native of Maitland, Florida and completed her Bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Florida in 1997.  Her professional interests include Brain Injury, Neuro Rehab, and clinical research.  She has her Physical Agent Modality Certification and is working towards her Certification as a Brain Injury Specialist.

Elisa Hedmann

Barbara Hewett

Gina Holecek

Gina Holecek, MPH, OTR/L is the occupational therapy supervisor at Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine.  She joined Emory Healthcare in 1998.  Gina is a native of Tennessee and completed her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Kentucky University in 1997.  She completed her Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Prevention Science from Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health in 2003.  Her professional interests include wellness and prevention, neurological rehabilitation, low vision, and driving rehabilitation. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association.  

Sara Ivey

Sara Ivey, OTR/L  is an Occupational Therapy Coordinator at Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine.  Sara has been working in stroke rehab since joining Emory Healthcare in January 2006.  Sara is a native of Louisiana and completed her Bachelor degree in Occupational Therapy from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport in 2002.  Her professional interests include shoulder rehab, hand therapy, visual-perceptual training, and  clinical research. 

Hyung Mi Kook

Hyung Mi Kook, OTR/L  is an Occupational Therapist at Emory University Hospital.  Hyung Mi completed her Occupational therapy degree at University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1999.  She has been working at Emory for about 5 1/2 years.  Her professional interests include orthopedics, staff education, and splinting.

Kate Lafonte

Kate Lafont, OTR/L is an occupational therapist who has worked at Wesley Woods Hospital since her graduation from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in 2003.    She is currently working towards her modality certification, and her professional interests include patient/family advocacy, seating and positioning evaluations for manual and power wheelchairs, and manual therapy.

Mary Kay Lodde

Mary Kay Lodde, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapy Coordinator at Wesley Woods Hospital. She received her OT Bachelor degree at Tufts University in 1985. Her professional interests and skills include geriatric rehabilitation and psychiatry, as well as hippotherapy. She has been working for Emory Healthcare since 1998. She is a member of the American Hippotherapy Association and she is fluent in French. 

Karen Maloney

Karen Maloney, OTR/L is the Rehabilitation Therapy Department Manager at Wesley Woods Hospital. Karen received her Master's of Arts degree in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University in 1987. Prior to accepting a position at Emory in 1994, Karen worked at a Veterans Administration Medical Center in Massachusetts, and the Toronto Hospital in Canada. Karen is certified in the use of physical agent modalities, and her professional interests include manual therapy to address shoulder and neck injuries and pain, wheelchair seating and positioning, and low vision. Karen speaks Spanish and enjoys working with Spanish-speaking patients and families. 

Valencia McCoy

Tamara Mills

Tamara L. Mills, OTR/L, ATP is an Occupational Therapist at Emory University Orthopaedic and Spine Hospital. Tamara has been an Emory Healthcare employee for almost four years, and an Occupational Therapist for 10 years. She completed her Bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and received a post-professional Master's degree in Occupational Therapy, along with a Certificate in Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology from the University of Pittsburgh. Additionally, she earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004. Tamara has also received the specialty credentials of Assistive Technology Professional (ATP). Her professional areas of interest include wheelchair seating-mobility interventions, clinical research on functional rehabilitation outcomes, assistive technology, teaching, and handwriting and sensory interventions for pediatric clients. 

Farheen Mohammed

Farheen Mohammed, MS, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist at Emory University Hospital.  Farheen grew up in Dalton, GA.  Farheen completed her Bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy from Medical College of Georgia in 2004.  She completed her Post-Graduate Masters in Health Science in Occupational Therapy from Medical College of Georgia in 2005.  She has been working at Emory University Hospital since 2006.   

Marie Opiela

Marie Opiela, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist at Emory University Hospital Midtown.  Marie is a native of Pennsylvania and completed her Bachelor degree in Biology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 1989.  She completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1992.  Her professional interests include hand therapy, and stroke rehab.  She is currently completing her modalities certification.

Nichole Patel

Nicole Patel, MS, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist at Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine and joined Emory in 2008.  Nichole is from Birmingham, Alabama.  She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in Psychology and her Master's in Occupational Therapy from UAB.  Her professional interest is in neurological rehabilitation. 

Breanne Patterson 

Breanne Patterson, MS, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist at Wesley Woods Hospital. Breanne completed her Bachelor of Science from Brenau University in 2003. She completed her Masters in Occupational Therapy at Brenau University in 2004.

Andrew Sever

Andrew Sever, MS, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist at Wesley Woods Hospital and has been a part of Emory Healthcare since 1997. Andrew received a Bachelor degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida in 1993 before earning a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1997.  Andrew's professional interests include home safety modifications and the aging population.

Rick Sharber

M. Ivory Shields

M. Ivory Shields, MS, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist at Emory University Hospital Midtown. Ivory is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and completed her Bachelor's degree in Speech Communications at Georgia State University in 2002. She completed her Master of Science Degree at the University of Alabama in Birmingham in 2006. Her professional interests include neurological related injuries and geriatric practice.  Ivory became certified to use Physical Agent Modalities in 2008.  She has been a part of the Emory Healthcare family since March 2007. Ivory is also a member of the Occupational Therapy Association. 

Helene Smith-Gabai

Helene Smith-Gabai, OTD, OTR/L, BCPR, has been a staff occupational therapist at Emory University Hospital for over 4 years. Originally from NYC, she completed her Masters degree in occupational therapy at Columbia University in 1981 and her clinical doctorate in occupational therapy at Nova Southeastern University (NSU)  in 2004. Helene is currently an OT PhD student at NSU.  Helene received board certification in physical rehabilitation in 2006. She is currently writing a book for AOTA Press on occupational therapy in acute care. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association.

Heather Stewart

Heather Stewart, MS, OTR/L, is an Occupational Therapist at Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine.  Heather joined Emory Healthcare in March, 2006.  Heather is a native of Atlanta and completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Anthropology at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.  Heather earned her Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in December, 2005.  Heather currently works on the general inpatient rehabilitation unit.

Judy Tennell

Judy Tennell, MOT, OTR/L,  is an Occupational Therapist at Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine since January, 2008.  She has lived in Ohio and Texas and is now proud to call Georgia home.  Judy graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Spanish in 1990, and she completed her Master of Occupational Therapy degree from Texas Woman's University in 1995.  Judy currently works on the general rehabilitation inpatient unit.

Melissa Tober

Melissa Tober, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapy Coordinator at Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine.  Melissa is a native of Florida and received her Bachelor of Health Science in Occupational Therapy in 1999 from the University of Florida.  Her professional interests include outpatient stroke, brain injury, ALS, muscular dystrophy, orthopedic injuries specific to shoulder and hand rehab, splinting and casting as well as clinical research.  She is modality certified and is a member of the Georgia Hand and Upper Extremity Special Interest Group. 

Jenny Vinson

Jenny Vinson, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, with over nine years of experience working with patients in an acute setting.  She attended North Georgia College and State University prior to graduating magna cum laude from the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta.  She began her tenure at Emory in 2000.  Her areas of professional interest include treating patients who have undergone cardio thoracic surgery, custom splinting, and participation in new-staff orientation training. 

Mary Woods

Mary Seitz Woods, OTR/L  is an Occupational Therapy Coordinator at Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine.  Mary completed her Bachelor degree in Occupational Therapy from East Carolina University in 1997.  Mary has been an occupational therapist at Emory Center for Rehabilitation Medicine since 2000.  Her professional interests include inpatient rehabilitation with focus on general medicine, orthopedics, and spinal cord injury.   

Palmer Lee Wren

Palmer Lee Wren, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist and the Rehabilitation  Manager at Emory University Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital. He has practiced occupational therapy for 15 years and received his degree from The Medical College of Georgia. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management from Georgia Tech. His interests include rehab management and acute care.  He is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association.