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Ode to Evelyn: What the Mother of Hand Therapy does for Drexel Students

April 12, 2013

Evelyn Mackin“Evelyn Mackin is a true pioneer in her commitment to returning hand surgery and hand injury patients to full function of rehabilitation,” said Gloria Donnelly, PhD, Dean of the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions. Mackin, now ninety years-old, is considered the “mother” of the hand therapy profession. She started the Hand Foundation, the peer-reviewed Journal of Hand Therapy, and the American Society of Hand Therapists. She was also instrumental in creating the International Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy. “Evelyn had her fingers in almost every important landmark event and organization that affects hand therapy. She has been a groundbreaking and important figure in the development of our profession,” said Terri Skirven, who replaced Evelyn Mackin as Director of the Hand Rehabilitation Foundation.

Reflecting on how the hand therapy field has evolved over the years, Mackin said, “We no longer practice a cook book method. It’s evidence-based practice now where we want to be sure of what we’re doing for the patient. I think that’s been the greatest improvement: the research. To increase the knowledge of therapists is a wonderful thing and I’m happy to be part of it.”

Evelyn Mackin is very much a part of it. “She is the individual for whom the Evelyn J. Mackin Endowed Scholarship is named, ” Donnelly said. “Her commitment to education is exemplified by her personal contribution to establishing the endowment of the scholarship, which provides financial support to students and ensures Evelyn’s legacy of academic excellence and compassionate patient care.” We are grateful to Evelyn J. Mackin, her colleagues, acquaintances, and to alumni for their support of the scholarship fund. Their generosity allows our students to pursue this program and be an extension of Evelyn’s important work in the field. This year’s recipient of the Evelyn J. Mackin Endowed Scholarship is Jen Manning, a student from the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.