Meet Our Therapists

Daniel Acker, OTR, CHT

Daniel is the Clinical Coordinator for the therapy department. He graduated in 1992 from Eastern Kentucky University and received his Certification in Hand Therapy in 1998. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgia Tech University in the Dept. of Applied Physiology, teaching anatomy, kinesiology and orthosis fitting principles related to the upper extremity. He authored a chapter regarding flexor and extensor tendon injuries in the 2010 ASSH/ASHT book Advanced Concepts of Hand Pathology and Surgery: Application to Hand Therapy Practice. He contributed to the flexor tendon chapter of the 6th and 7th edition of Greens Manual of UE Surgery, and was an author and reviewer for the flexor tendon chapter in the 2012 CHT Exam Prep Book.

Laurie Johnson, OTR/L, CHT

Laurie graduated in 2009 from the Medical College of Georgia with a Master of Health Science in Occupational Therapy and received her Certification in Hand Therapy in 2014. She spent the first 6 years after school practicing in both hand therapy and a skilled nursing facility in Knoxville, TN, before returning home to Atlanta to join GHSE. Laurie enjoys treating all upper extremity injuries, but her significant interest is in wrist disorders. She is currently a member of the Georgia Hand and Upper Extremity Special Interest Group.

Hannah Beaman OTR/L, CHT

Hannah graduated in 2011 with a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Touro University Nevada. She spent her first 2 years after graduation working in hand therapy in her home state of Michigan before moving to Atlanta to join the GHSE team. Hannah became a Certified Hand Therapist in November of 2016. She is a member of the Georgia Hand and Upper Extremity Special Interest Group and The American Society for Hand Therapists.

Jamie Empert, OTR/L, CHT

Jamie graduated from Brenau University in 2005 with a combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and received her Certification in Hand Therapy in 2012. Jamie also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia. She is a member of the Georgia Hand and Upper Extremity Special Interest Group.

Kelli Wolfman, OTR/L, CHT

Kelli received her Occupational Therapy degree from The Medical College of Georgia in 1993 and received her Certification in Hand Therapy in 1999. She has been with GHSE for 5 years and enjoys treating the wide variety of injuries/ conditions here at GHSE with a special interest in the thumb and elbow. She has served at the local and state level of the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association (GOTA) and is currently a member of GOTA, American Society of Hand Therapists and the Georgia Hand and Upper Extremity Special Interest Group.

Ashley Brooks MOT, OTR/L, BCPR, CHT

Ashley graduated from the University of Florida in 2012 with her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. She practiced exclusively in outpatient upper extremity care for several years prior to pursuing a post professional fellowship program at OrthoCarolina in Charlotte, North Carolina. She became a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) in 2018 and obtained board certification in physical rehabilitation (BCPR) in 2019 through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Ashley has a special interest in Occupational Therapy education and research. She served as a faculty member for her prior fellowship program, adjunct professor and community board member at the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Central Piedmont Community College, fieldwork educator, and has co-authored a book chapter and collaborated on research projects. Ashley is also an active member in the Georgia Hand and Upper Extremity Special Interest Group (GHUESIG), American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT), and AOTA. As a lifelong learning enthusiast, Ashley loves to educate students and patients alike and feels that the key to successful rehabilitation is understanding the “where, how, and why” of upper extremity injuries.

Rachael Verrett, OTR/L CHT

Rachael completed her undergraduate studies in Kinesiology at Louisiana State University. She attended the University of South Alabama and graduated in 2015 with a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy.

She spent the first 5 years after school working in hand therapy in Louisiana and received her Certification in Hand Therapy in 2021. She moved to Atlanta and joined the GHSE team in February 2022. She is currently a member of the Georgia Hand and Upper Extremity Special Interest Group.

Maria Norris, OTR/R

Maria graduated in 2019 from Seton Hall University with a Master of Health Science in Occupational Therapy. Her Bachelor’s Degree is in Health and Exercise Science from The College of New Jersey. Since graduating and moving to Atlanta, Maria has worked in Acute Care, Neonatal Intensive Care, and with an Orthopedic and Neurological rehab clinic.

She is a member of the Georgia Hand and Upper Extremity Special Interest Group and the American Society of Hand Therapy.

Ben Cox, MSR OTR/L CHT,

Ben has worked for more than 22 years in a hand therapy setting in South Carolina, Connecticut, Virginia, and Georgia. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Biology from the College of Charleston and a master of science degree in Rehabilitation Science from the Medical University of South Carolina.

In addition, Ben completed a certification in the Advanced Practice of Hand and Upper Quarter Rehabilitation from Drexel University. He also spent 8 years in the U.S. Navy as a submariner. In his spare time, he enjoys scuba diving and volunteers with the Shepherd Hospital Adaptive Diving Program to help those with disabilities dive as well.

Shannon Hanson OTR/L, CHT, CKTP

Shannon received her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College and her Master of Occupational Therapy from Brenau University. She is a Certified Hand Therapist and a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, she has lived in Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, New York City, New England, and Houston before choosing to settle in Atlanta, Georgia. She has worked in upper extremity rehabilitation since 2017 and joined Georgia Hand Shoulder Elbow in 2022.

She is a member of the American Society of Hand Therapists and the Georgia Hand and Upper Extremity Special Interest Group. She enjoys seeing her patients get back on the golf course, and the tennis court, and do the activities they enjoy. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her dog, ice-skating, and traveling.

Erica Sartorio, MS, OTR/L, CHT, CEAS

Erica graduated from The Medical College of Georgia in 2008 with a Master in Science in Occupational Therapy and became a Certified Hand Therapist in 2013. She served as the Student Fieldwork Coordinator for GHSE from 2009-2014 and co-president of the Georgia Hand and Upper Extremity Special Interest Group from 2013-2014. Erica has served as chair of the Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow national conferences from 2011- 2019.

She is a current member of The America Society of Hand Therapists and Georgia Hand and Upper Extremity Special Interest Group. In 2020 she earned an additional certification in ergonomic assessments and is a CEAS. Erica has been a member of the GHSE team since 2008.

Lauren Simanski, OTR/L, CHT

Lauren graduated in 2016 from Brenau University with a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. She has worked in the hand therapy specialty since graduation and completed a year-long residency in the BRI Hand Residency Program in 2018. She received her Certification in Hand Therapy in 2021.

She is a current member of The American Society of Hand Therapists and Georgia Hand & Upper Extremity Special Interest Group.