Clinical & Fabrication Team
The orthotics and prosthetics profession has radically changed over the past ten years in so many ways. The advances in microprocessor technologies, the improvements in CAD/CAM and the enormous expansion in materials used in the creation of custom devices are just a few of the dramatic improvements for patients. The members of the Clinical and Fabrication Team at Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates are among the most well-trained, highly experienced clinicians and technicians in the O&P profession. Patients come from around the globe travel to our facilities to take advantage of the knowledge and skill that our team members have developed. Take a minute to meet our impressive team of practitioners and technicians.
Thomas Passero, CP, Founder and Clinical Advisor
Thomas Passero is a graduate of Northwestern University's Prosthetic and Orthotic Center, affiliated with the Northwestern University Medical School and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Prior to entering private practice, Tom was the senior staff prosthetist at Helen Hayes Hospital's Center for Rehabilitation Technology. Tom is also an Upper Extremity Prosthetic Specialist for Touch Bionics, the manufacturer of the iLIMB® hand and Pro-Digit® partial hand technology. He currently divides his time between private practice and speaking and writing on the topic of upper extremity prostheses. Tom presents educational seminars and workshops on this topic at professional organizations and prosthetic facilities all over the world.
Click here for more information about Tom.
Laura Katzenberger, CP, LP, Director of Clinical Services
Laura is an important part of the Handspring team. She works with patients primarily in the New York City and Middletown, NY clinics while also helping to educate therapists, physicians and case managers about the impact that successfully created upper limb prosthetics can have on the lives of patients. Laura continues to live in the Catskill Mountain region in New York where in her free time she is refining her skills on land and water through painting, hiking, biking, waterskiing and wakeboarding.
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Justin Horowitz, CPO
Throughout his teen and early adult life Justin developed a passion for antique cars. When he suffered a leg injury growing up in Connecticut, Justin combined his passion and skill for auto mechanics with his interest in his personal health issue and began his journey in the field of orthotics and prosthetics. Justin graduated with an Associates Degree from Cerritos College in Norwalk, California in 1977 and then continued at the University of Washington, School of Medicine, Division of Prosthetics and Orthotics. After graduating in 1981 and completing his residency requirements in Iowa, Justin joined M&M Prosthetic Associates in 1985. For the last 20 years plus, he has served the patient community of the Catskill / Hudson Valley Region and made his home in Ulster County. Click here for more information about Justin.
Dez Joseph, CPO
Since his graduation and certification, Dez has continued to grow his skills and experience to better care for his full range of both orthotic and prosthetic patients. He has become proficient in providing a full range of sophisticated technologies in orthotics and prosthetics including a variety of microprocessor knees and ankles, an assortment of different vacuum suspension options, and advanced orthotic bracing solutions. Over the past several years, Dez has specialized in helping a large number of upper limb prosthetic patients with a wide range of treatment options including myoelectric systems, partial hand solutions, and very unique socket technologies. In addition, Dez has worked in the past with Project Hope to help under privileged patients in Belize with their orthotic and prosthetic needs. Click here for more information about Dez.
Jason Silke, CPO
In 1994, Jason graduated from the State University of New York at Potsdam with a bachelor's degree in biology. He then directed his studies to the treatment of acute and chronic injuries in the allied health care field over the next four years. During this period, Jason gained a strong comprehension of the various aspects involved in rehabilitation. Working as a technician in the orthotic and prosthetic field has given Jason an understanding of the methods of fabrication of orthoses and prostheses. This experience, coupled with his desire to improve the quality of life for others, was the motivation to attend Northwestern University's curriculum in Orthotics and Prosthetics. He completed both programs in 1998 and 2001, respectively. Jason continues to develop his clinical and technical expertise by attending practitioner seminars throughout the country. Click here for more information about Jason.
Erik Tompkins, CP, BOCO
Born and raised in the Hudson Valley, Erik began his post-secondary education taking business and electronics courses at Ulster County Community College. After a friend who lost a limb in the Vietnam War introduced him to the prosthetics field, Erik was invited to join P&O Associates in 1992 as a technician. Just a few months into his new position, Erik knew that he wanted to take his career further and pursue becoming a clinician. Erik became a certified prosthetist in 1999 and with the exception of a 2 year stint in Texas and Louisiana, Erik has been serving the local community ever since. Erik has a passion for patient advocacy, actively leveraging his time to that end. He is involved at the local level through developing amputee support groups and the national level with the ACA (Amputee Coalition of America) and the PALS (Promoting Amputee Life Skills) program. Click here for more information about Erik.
Cassandra’s experience with the orthotic and prosthetic profession started long ago as a child growing up in Florida when her grandmother became a bilateral amputee. When a local physician suggested that Cass looking into the O&P field, she quickly became hooked on the idea. She did very well academically in receiving her degrees from the University of West Florida and Alabama State University before heading north to work through her two residency programs. Click here for more information about Cassandra. Click here for more information about Cassandra.
Debi Latour, M.Ed., OTR/L
Debi Latour has been an innovator from her earliest years. Debi wore her first prosthesis at the age of 14 months and then spent the years that followed working with the clinical team at Shriners Hospitals to improve upon their prosthetic designs. Debi decided that a career as an occupational therapist was just what she needed. Her career in occupational therapy has taken her around the world to present on topics related to successful patient care for upper limb prosthetic patients. Debi has been a featured speaker at events throughout the US, Canada, the UK and the Netherlands. Click here for more information about Debi.
Zachary Simmons, Technician & Prosthetic Assistant
Having grown up in Grahamsville, NY, Zack attended college near home at Sullivan Community College and Ithaca College. He joined Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates in 2009 after being introduced to the field by Tom Passero. Zack has used his aptitude for math and engineering concepts to become the lead technician who guides the creation of the many complex prosthetic and orthotic devices created at POA. He has recently begun to play a more direct role in working with patients as he works with the clinical team as a Prosthetic Assistant. Outside of work, Zack enjoys spending time with his wife and young daughter as well as participating in martial arts, reading and watching movies.