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Orthopaedic Specialties

Physical & Occupational Therapy Bios

Ryan Hemelt DPT, MOTR/L

Ryan graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. He completed his Master’s degree at the University of St. Augustine in Occupational Therapy with a concentration in hand therapy. Following this, he completed a Doctorate in Physical therapy with a focus in manual therapy. He has remained dually credentialed in both Physical and Occupational therapy and has been practicing at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine for the past 14 years. Ryan has brought injury prevention programs to Flagler College and the local high schools reducing the incidence of knee injuries in athletes. As Director of the Rehabilitation Department, Ryan oversees all physical therapy, occupational therapy, athletic training, and sports medicine outreach programs. Besides his clinical and managerial duties at OASA, Ryan has taught classes at the University of St. Augustine, and St. Johns River St. College.  In addition to the above responsibilities and accomplishments, he has  been voted one of the Best Physical Therapists in St. Augustine.

Joshua Lasoff DPT

Josh graduated from Florida State University in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. He then continued graduate work at University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences and received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy in December 2014. In between, Josh served as a Physical Therapist Assistant for 10 years in a variety of settings, including outpatient therapy, home health care and skilled nursing facilities. As a DPT, Josh’s primary field of care is orthopedics and post surgical therapy including joint replacements, rotator cuff repairs and sports related injuries. Josh has been recognized as St. Augustine’s Best Physical Therapist of 2017 and remains devoted to quality patient care and positive rehabilitation outcomes. Josh is a TPI Certified Medical Professional and has worked with recreational and professional golfers on swing evaluations and treatment plans to promote greater mechanics and play on the course. Josh resides in St. Augustine with his wife and 2 kids, along with their 2 dogs, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Kayla Fessler PT, DPT, EP-C

Kayla earned her Bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 2016 from the University of North Florida while playing volleyball there. She then continued her graduate work one hour from where she grew up in Upstate New York at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY and received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in May of 2020.

Kayla’s favorite part about being a Physical Therapist is being able to help people return to doing things they love without pain.

Outside of work Kayla can be found cheering on the Buffalo Bills, taking an exercise class, or spending time at the beach.

Alison Alba DPT

Alison Alba, DPT has 15 years of experience working in outpatient orthopedic physical therapy settings with emphasis on manual therapy. She enjoys working closely with her patients to develop individualized treatment plans that decrease pain and restore function efficiently. Alison has completed continuing education courses focused on manual therapy, functional movement training, and vestibular rehab. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Slippery Rock University. In her free time, Alison enjoys outdoor fun activities and spending time with her family.

Amy Piazza OTR/L, CHT

Amy graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of science degree majoring in Occupational therapy.  She is an Occupational Therapist and a Certified Hand Therapist who began her outpatient hand therapy career in 1995 where she worked closely with hand surgeons in Northern NJ to obtain the requirements needed to sit for the hand therapy certification examination.  Once Amy became a CHT, she continued working directly with hand surgeons in the NJ / PA corridor most recently coming from a hospital based orthopedic outpatient clinic.  

Over the years, Amy has found that working closely with the physician and the patient has been most productive in achieving optimal patient outcomes by providing an individualized treatment approach.  The goal for independence in all aspects of the patient’s life is first and foremost.  Customized fabrications of orthotics/splints for her patients are also utilized as needed to enhance functional use of the hand or arm.

In Amy’s free time, she enjoys being outside either on her motorcycle or in the water, participating in yoga practice and spending time with her husband and their dogs.  These activities brought Amy and her husband to Florida from the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania to allow more time outside in the fresh sea air.

A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who has minimum of five years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy.  In addition, the Certified Hand Therapist has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation.  Because of changes in the profession, every CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every five years.

Valerie Faul MOT

Valerie is a licensed Occupational Therapist who is a native Floridian, originally from Lakeland.  She received her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in 2005 from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USA).  Her Master’s degree was preceded by a Bachelor’s degree specializing in Exercise Science from Carson Newman University, where she attended on both an academic and athletic soccer scholarship. Over the course of her career as an OT, Valerie has widened her experience working in a variety of settings including outpatient therapy, home health, and skilled nursing facilities.  This experience has only increased her knowledge in treating over the age spectrum.  Valerie’s expertise is in treating diagnoses of the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder, both surgical and nonsurgical in nature, as well as creating customized orthotics for stability and mobility.  She is dedicated to providing an individualized treatment approach to maximize the functional independence and quality of life of all her patients. Valerie and her family have recently relocated back to the St. Augustine area and she is thrilled to have joined the OASA team. She and her husband, who is an OT/PT as well, are so excited to be practicing back on the coast and looking forward to introducing their two sons to the coastal way of life.

Clay VanDenBerg COTA/L

Clay graduated from William Paterson University of New Jersey in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He then went on to assist individuals with developmental and behavioral disabilities in several settings while furthering his education at Daytona State College, pursuing a certification as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Clay developed a passion for orthopedic care during his coursework, ultimately obtaining a clinical rotation at OASA. He graduated from Daytona State College in May 2018. In his free time, Clay enjoys lifting weights and competing as a powerlifter.

Mike Milek PTA, ATC

Mike graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science and a concentration in Athletic Training. He has been a nationally certified athletic trainer since 1998 and has been working in central and northeast Florida since then. Mike specializes in working with athletes of all levels including amateur, college, and professional. He has worked in almost every sport imaginable including but not limited to hockey, skateboarding, motocross, and the more traditional sports. Mike also graduated from Florida State Community College – Jacksonville in August 2012 and recently completed and passed the National Board Exam to become a licensed Physical Therapy Assistant. Mike is currently certified as an instructor for Sportsmetrics®, an ACL injury prevention program offered by OASA.

Michelle Ping PTA

Michelle graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Biology. She has been a certified Physical Therapist Assistant since 2011, after earning her AS degree from Florida State College at Jacksonville. Prior to joining Orthopaedic Associates, she was American Red Cross Health and Safety Instructor in her native New Jersey. Outside of work, Michelle enjoys distance running and surfing.

Sarah Braddock PT, DPT

Sarah Braddock graduated from the University of North Florida in 2011 with a Bachelors degree in Exercise Science. She then went on to earn her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from the University of South Florida in 2015. She has been practicing in her home town of St. Augustine for her entire career. Though most of her career has focused on working with patients with orthopedic and neuromuscular conditions in the outpatient setting, she has also practiced in other settings including home healthcare and prescribed pediatric extended care. Her continuing education focus has been primarily on manual therapy. Prior to entering the physical therapy profession, Sarah worked as a TaeKwonDo instructor at a local martial arts studio. Sarah enjoys outdoor activities, photography, and spending time with her family.