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This webpage is intended to serve as an accessible format to address parent concerns and anxieties when raising their children with CHD. The “We” used throughout the website refers to opinions and perspectives gained through research, clinical experiences, and lived experiences of Sarah and Michelle.

Sarah Tuberty, OTD Candidate

Hello! My name is Sarah Tuberty, and I have a lived experience of a congenital hand difference. I am a graduate of Shriner’s Hospital for Children — Northern California with Dr. James as my hand surgeon. After earning a BS in Biology from Saint Mary’s College of California, I became an AmeriCorps volunteer, and then a flight attendant. In volunteering at the Philadelphia Shriner’s Hospital and my work on the Planning Team with Camp Winning Hands, I discovered the profession of Occupational Therapy. My life has been a journey of adaptation and understanding of the disability experience. These have been incredible assets to my professional education. Now, I am a Doctorate of Occupational Therapy candidate at Boston University. This website is my final capstone project, it is a culmination of three years of graduate-level studies with a personal emphasis on congenital hand differences.

My particular interests surround the social and emotional aspects of growing up with physical differences. My work includes co-hosting Disarming Disability, a podcast on deconstructing the social construct on disability. I am an author of Super-Abled Comics, featuring 6 short stories of superheroes with limb differences written by authors who have limb differences. I am a training aerialist with an emphasis on adaptive aerial arts. I have presented at multiple events on topics around inclusion, disability stigma, and lived experience with CHD. I am undoubtedly grateful for those who mentored me, and those who have taken the time to share their journey. For questions, comments, and connection, my email is stuberty@bu.edu.

Dr. Michelle A James

Dr. Michelle James

Hello! I am a pediatric hand surgeon, and I serve as Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California in Sacramento, CA; Division Chief of Pediatric Orthopaedics at University of California Davis Medical Center, and Professor of Clinical Orthopaedic Surgery at UC Davis and UC San Francisco Medical Schools.

I was born and raised in San Francisco and trained in the UC system (BA from UC Berkeley, MD from UC San Diego, and orthopedic surgery residency at UCSF) until hand surgery fellowship at the Indiana Hand Center. I started working at Shriners Hospital for Children — Northern California in 1989.

I care for children with problems with hand function associated with congenital hand differences, post-traumatic acquired differences including burns, and neuromuscular conditions. I focus on the child’s function and performance, especially from their own perspective. My greatest professional joy is learning from a child or their parent that my intervention has improved their ability to accomplish a task that is important to them. I have served as Principal Investigator for seven funded studies (5 multi-center, 2 single sites) of children’s hand and upper extremity function, all of which have impacted practice. I have published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and recently served as Editor, with Dr. Michael Chapman, for the 4th Edition of Chapman’s Comprehensive Orthopaedic Surgery, and I am a Deputy Editor for The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. I train students, orthopedic residents, hand surgery fellows, and pediatric hand fellows. I am an Honorary Professor at La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua, Managua, Nicaragua.

Although I love my work at Shriners, my most fulfilling professional work occurs at a pediatric hospital in Managua, Nicaragua, where I have traveled twice per year for the past 10 years along with multiple friends and colleagues, caring for hundreds of children and successfully training a local orthopaedist to become a pediatric hand surgeon. Helping Sarah to develop a website for people with CHD, and attending Camp Winning Hands each year, have also been incredibly fulfilling – and fun!

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For questions, comments, or concerns please email ncl.chd@shrinenet.org

Last revised on August 22, 2019

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