Evelyn Jean Mackin, Norristown Native and ‘Mother of Hand Therapy,’ Died aged 97

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Evelyn Jean Mackin, a Norristown native and physical therapist who pioneered the field of hand therapy, died on February 19 at age 97. Image via Inquirer.com.

Evelyn Jean Mackin, a Norristown native and physical therapist who pioneered the field of hand therapy, died on February 19 aged 97, writes Bonnie L. Cook for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Mackin started working as a physical therapist in the sixties at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. While caring for patients with post-operative hand injuries, she realized there was a need for an organized approach to the care.

So she put all her efforts into the organization, education, and promotion of what we know today as the specialty of hand therapy.

“Evelyn was a teacher and mentor during the infancy of our specialty practice, when few educational resources were available,” wrote the American Society of Hand Therapists.

In 1972, Mackin and two Philadelphia surgeons, James M. Hunter and Lawrence H. Schneider, founded the Hand Rehabilitation Center in Philadelphia.

Today known as Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center, the facility was one of the first to integrate hand surgery and therapy.

Mackin was also a founding member of the American Society of Hand Therapists and the Journal of Hand Therapy’s first editor. Her peers often referred to her as the “mother of hand therapy.”

Read more about Mackin at The Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.

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