What started as a joke from her hand surgeon turned into a career for Alta Fried, MSOT ‘14
After suffering a hand injury, and subsequent reconstructive surgeries, Fried’s surgeon made a joke that she should become a hand therapist. That joke sparked her interest as she looked into pursuing the profession, and learned her next step would be to enroll in an Occupational Therapy (OT) program
She then applied to Salus, where she enrolled in the first OT class at the University, a decision she reflects upon very fondly. “I have only the fondest memories from my time at Salus,” she said. “There was always a lead staff member making sure I was getting the education I wanted to pursue my hand therapy dream. There was always someone looking out for students in general, but also for our specific interests.”
After graduating from Salus, Fried received her certification in hand therapy, which she uses in her current role as the director of hand therapy at Atlantic Physical Therapy (APT), where she started a hand-specific program around five years ago. Since the start of her hand therapy clinic, APT has expanded to five hand therapy clinics. And, she also co-founded an upper extremity amputation-specific clinic, which she runs with a trauma hand surgeon. Within these clinics, there are nine hand therapists, a psychologist and a prosthetist all available to patients.
For distinguishing herself in the OT profession, Fried was the inaugural recipient of the Salus University Alumni Association OT alumna of the year in 2020. She continues to give back to Salus, as a current adjunct lab assistant for the program while also giving back to her patients at APT.
Her practice recently had a research paper published in the Journal of Hand Surgery; The Combination of Fractional Tendon Lengthening and the Wide Awake, Local Anesthesia, No Tourniquet Technique for Secondary Tendon Reconstruction. She and her practice are looking forward to more publications on the development of their work, and how it continues to positively impact patients’ lives.
“I am very lucky to work with such kind-hearted and good people that care about others,” she said. “Having that mutual goal and mutual respect for patients is amazing. That’s what life is really all about.”