Providers

Experience and Professionalism define our doctors and staff.

Physicians

H. Kirk Watson, M.D.

 Dr. Watson's CV

Dr. Watson received his medical degree from George Washington University and completed his residency at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. He is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon with fellowship training and a specialty board certification in hand surgery. He is a lifetime member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Dr. Watson has to his credit an extensive number of scientific peer review articles and publications. The “Watsonian” approach to postoperative care was introduced in the early seventies.

Dr. Watson is the founder and first president of the New England Hand Society. He is the founder and Director Emeritus of the University of Connecticut Hand Surgery Fellowship. Dr. Watson has trained over 170 hand surgeons since starting the fellowship program. Dr. Watson was the Orthopaedist of the Year in the Connecticut State Medical Society in 2000. He has been listed in Best Doctors of America, 1992-2004. He was listed in the Leading Physicians of the World, 2010-2011 by The International Association of Health Care Professionals.


Duffield Ashmead, M.D.

 Dr. Ashmead's CV

Dr. Ashmead is a board certified plastic surgeon with a certificate of added qualification in surgery of the hand. His practice is limited to the care of the hand, wrist, forearm and elbow. Congenital hand issues and other problems affecting children are of particular interest to him.

Originally from Philadelphia, Dr. Ashmead completed his undergraduate education at Princeton before attending Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. After preliminary general surgical training at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, Dr. Ashmead completed a one year fellowship in surgery of the hand with the Connecticut Combined Hand Surgery Fellowship at the University of Connecticut. He was a resident in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Massachusetts, Worcester. An additional eighteen months of fellowship training included six months at the Hospital for Sick Children, London, England. Dr. Ashmead has held teaching appointments at the University of Massachusetts and at Yale; he is currently the Program Director of the University of Connecticut Hand Surgery Fellowship and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Connecticut. Having published a variety of scientific articles and book chapters, he remains active in clinical research and the teaching of residents and postgraduate fellows.


Daniel J. Mastella, M.D.

 Dr. Mastella's CV

Dr. Mastella is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon with a certificate of added qualification in surgery of the hand. A Connecticut native, Dr. Mastella completed his undergraduate training at Georgetown University and attended medical school at the University of Connecticut. His postgraduate training was in Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut. A subspecialty fellowship in Hand Surgery at the Philadelphia Hand Center, working at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and the Shriner's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia followed his post graduate orthopaedic training.

Dr. Mastella is an Assistant Director of the University of Connecticut Hand Surgery Fellowship Program and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut. He is Director of the Hand Surgery Service at Hartford Hospital and Medical Director at the Glastonbury Surgery Center. Dr. Mastella has presented his research to the New England Hand Society, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), the New England Shoulder and Elbow Society and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is published in Hand Clinics, the Journal of Hand Surgery and various ASSH textbooks. His presentation and publications include research on nerve and tendon reconstruction and arthritis of the elbow, wrist and hand. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, a member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the Arthroscopy Association of North America, a member of the New England Hand Society and a founding member of the New England Shoulder and Elbow Society and the Hartford Hand Club.


Carl Nissen, M.D.

 Dr. Nissen's CV

Dr. Nissen is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon with a certificate of added qualification in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. Dr. Nissen completed his undergraduate training at Princeton University and attended medical school at the University of Connecticut. His postgraduate training was in Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut. His sports medicine fellowship was complete at Cincinnati Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center under Dr. Frank Noyes.

Dr. Nissen is a Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut and has worked extensively with orthopaedic residents and sports medicine fellows throughout his career earning Educator of the Year for his efforts twice. He is the team physician for several area high schools and colleges as well as Lead Team Physician for the US Lacrosse U-19 Women’s National Lacrosse team and is a consultant to Major League Lacrosse. Dr. Nissen is actively involved in research publishing over 50 articles and presents regularly at regional and national meetings. His presentations and publications include research on common athletic injuries seen in adolescent and young adult individuals with special interest in the treatment of osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury prevention and reconstructive techniques, and injuries to the arm in Overhead Athletes. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, a member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the Arthroscopy Association of North America, New England Shoulder and Elbow Society, the Research in Osteochondritis Dissecans group (ROCK, Inc.), Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) and the Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine (PRISM).


Christopher J. Dillon, PA-C

Christopher Dillon is a Connecticut licensed Physician Assistant. A graduate of Quinnipiac University with his Master of Health Science, Physician Assistant Program, Mr. Dillon had earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Vermont. Prior to beginning his post graduate studies, Mr. Dillon worked in a variety of health care organizations in roles that included research assistant, procurement technician, operating room technician and surgical technician.

Mr. Dillon has been published in “Neuropharmacology” and “Alcohol”. He has presented research at the Society for Neuroscience Conferences and the Connecticut Academy of Physician Assistants. He was the recipient of an Intramural Research Training Award from the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore, MD, the John Dewey Award for Excellence in Independent Research and was a grant recipient from the Hughes Endeavor for Life Sciences Excellence (HELiX). In addition, Mr. Dillon had been an active volunteer for several organizations including the National Kidney Foundation, the National Liver Foundation and Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES).


Julie Forster, PA-C

Julie Forster is a Connecticut licensed Physician Assistant. Ms. Forster earned her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, CT. She had earlier earned a Certification in Surgical Technology from the Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University ofConnecticut with some course work at the Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Prior to beginning her post graduate studies at the University of Bridgeport, Ms. Foster worked for about eight years as a Certified Surgical Technologist at three outpatient surgery centers in the New Haven and greater Hartford areas and at the Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven, CT.

Ms. Forster’s professional affiliations include the New England Hand Society and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).Ms. Forster had been a volunteer for the National Kidney Foundation, Black Rock Food Pantry and the Manchester Blood Drive.

Therapists

Peter DaSilva ORT/L

Peter DaSilva, a Certified Occupational Therapist, joined The Hand Center in 2017. He earned his Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of New England in Portland, Maine.

Mr. DaSilva is a published co-author of the Intervention Planning and Program Development chapter in Occupational Therapy Essentials for Clinical Competence 3rd ed Slack (2017) and the article Combatting Disease: Incorporating an Epidemiological Model of Disease Causation into OT Practice in OT Practice Magazine (July 10, 2017).

An avid golfer, Mr. DaSilva also enjoys watching the Celtics and playing board games with friends.


Roxanne Dunwoody, PT, CHT

Roxanne Dunwoody, a Certified Hand Therapist, has been with The Hand Center for over 20 years. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. Areas of particular interest to Ms. Dunwoody include manual edema mobilization and postural re-education.

Ms. Dunwoody has presented to professionals on a regional level on provocative testing of the wrist. Prior clinical experience includes treatment of patients in a general outpatient orthopedic setting.


Dawn Lesinski, COTA/L

Dawn Lesinski, a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, joined The Hand Center in 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut and an Associates in Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Manchester Community College. Prior professional experience includes yoga instruction in university and private settings, Assistant Director of Athletics and Fitness at the college level, personal training in a physical therapy and fitness facility and job coaching.

Ms. Lesinski earned her Pet Therapy Dog Handler Certification and has worked with horses. She is a 2nd degree Black Belt Taekwondo, 200 hour Kripalu Yoga Instructor and volunteers for a number of school and community activities.


Joshua McAuliffe, OTR/L

Josh McAuliffe, a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, earned an Occupational Therapy Assistant Associate of Applied Science degree from Lincoln College of New England in Southington, Connecticut. Areas of particular interest to him include activity adaptation, work conditioning and job modification and analysis. Prior experience includes treatment of geriatric patients within a skilled nursing facility environment. Josh is currently accepted into a Master’s Degree program in Occupational Therapy at the New England Institute of Technology.


Christine Pereira, OTR/L, CHT

Christine Pereira, a Certified Hand Therapist, has been with The Hand Center for over 10 years. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Connecticut and a Master of Science degree in Education from the University of New Haven in New Haven, Connecticut. Specific areas of interest include carpometacarpal (CMC) arthritis, computer-related ergonomics and rheumatoid arthritis.

Ms. Pereira is a published co-author of a journal article on hand therapy management of the rheumatoid wrist. She has also presented to professionals on a regional level on treatment of CMC arthritis of the thumb, and to the geriatric community on hand problems and treatment. She is multilingual, speaking Polish fluently, and is able to communicate effectively in Spanish. Prior clinical experience includes treatment of patients with upper extremity conditions in an outpatient setting, as well as pediatric therapy services within a school setting.


Khadijah Scharborough, COTA/L

Khadijah Scharborough, a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, joined The Hand Center in 2017. Prior professional experience includes providing personal care to disabled individuals, improving overall quality of life. Ms. Scharborough earned her Associate of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Manchester Community College.

In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.


Tina Simpson, OTR/L

Tina Simpson, an Occupational Therapist, joined The Hand Center in 2017. Her prior clinical experience includes treatment and rehabilitation of patients in outpatient settings. Ms. Simpson earned her Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. Ms. Simpson is interested in therapy research and rerating connective tissue conditions.

Ms. Simpson, an avid dog lover, also enjoys spending time with her family and cheering for the University of Kentucky.


Jan Soares, OTR/L, CHT

Jan Soares, a Certified Hand Therapist, has been with The Hand Center since 2006. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy, with a minor in Psychology, from the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut. Areas of particular interest to Ms. Soares include extensor tendon rehabilitation, treatment for mallet finger, complex trauma and nerve injuries.

Ms. Soares has taught splinting (orthotics) at Baypath College. She is a published co-author of a paper on the management of ulnar sided wrist pain and distal radioulnar joint arthritis, and has presented to professionals on a regional level on treatment post revascularization and mallet finger. She is able to communicate effectively in Spanish. Prior experience includes treatment of upper extremity conditions in an outpatient setting.


Pamela Wilson, OTR/L, CHT

Pamela Wilson, a Certified Hand Therapist, has been with The Hand Center for over 25 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Connecticut and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire. Areas of particular interest to Ms. Wilson include ergonomics, on-site industrial consultation, and wrist and forearm conditions.

Ms. Wilson has taught several therapy-related courses in Connecticut, including Work-Related Programming at the University of Hartford and Anatomy at Quinnipiac College. She is a published author of journal articles related to cumulative trauma, exercise and job modification in industry, served on the Editorial Review Board for “Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation,” and was the Connecticut Occupational Therapy Association’s Work Programs Liaison to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Ms. Wilson has also presented at professional conferences on a regional and national level on industrial rehabilitation and prevention programs, and to the local community on wellness and prevention of upper extremity injury.