Pat McKee (Emerita)

P. McKee's PortraitAssociate Professor Emerita
Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
(416) 978-1817


School of Graduate Studies
  • Associate Member
Cross Appointments
  • Centre for Research in Education
  • Professional Practice Associate (Orthotics specialization), Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

Pat McKee has been a faculty member in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto since 1987, preceding that with 11 years on faculty at the University of Alberta in the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology.

She advocates for a client-centred, bio-occupational or biopsychosocial approach to orthotic intervention (splinting), incorporating a “less is more” guideline that addresses comfort, cosmesis and convenience. She is author of “Orthotics in Rehabilitation: Splinting the Hand and Body”, which has been translated into Japanese.

Pat is known internationally as an ergonomics and orthotics expert and has taught orthotic workshops across Canada, the US, Sweden and Trinidad. She has produced orthotic fabrication videos that are now used at several universities internationally.

Her current research focuses on the further development of the patent-pending Anatomy Glove Learning System (AKA Anatomy Softwear) with co-inventor Anne Agur which is now used in 22 institutions in 6 countries. In addition. publications address her Bio-Occupational approach and guidelines to orthotic intervention, innovative orthotic designs and the efficacy of a hybrid neoprene-thermoplastic orthosis for thumb carpometacarpal arthritis. Read about her orthotic research study, from U of T’s Newspage.


In 2013, Pat was recognized at the annual Philadelphia (Hand) Meeting of hand surgeons and therapists as one of two “honored hand therapists”, only the third Canadian to receive such an honor. She was also the keynote speaker at the West Coast Hand Therapy Association’s annual meeting in Harrison Hot Springs British Columbia, In 2012 her Orthotics hOT Topic was the #1 most accessed article on the CAOT Website.

Pat believes that good teachers are performers at heart, loving an audience, developing a relationship with it, and feeling energized and well-connected with it when it goes well. It is not unusual for Pat to take her guitar into the classroom to provide a light-hearted conclusion to a course by singing one of her compositions. Not only is she a performer in the classroom, but she is a “real” performer – a singer, guitarist and songwriter.


In 2007, Pat performed with her guitar, winning the People’s Choice Award for her “Mad Minute” presentation at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s Annual Research Day, singing “Too Many Hands”.


In 1981, Pat was able to blend two of her loves – occupational therapy and singing – when she wrote and recorded Look Beyond, Canada’s official song for the International Year of Disabled Persons. The message of song became the inspiration for an ongoing column in the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, titled “Look Beyond”.


Extensive radio and television interviews and school performances in Canada that year provided the unique opportunity for her to advocate for persons with disabilities and for occupational therapy. “Look Beyond was inspired by the lives of persons with disabilities that I had come to know and admire through my experiences as an occupational therapist. I wanted the song to be a vehicle to express the dreams and ambitions of persons with disabilities and to promote more positive attitudes toward them.” The lines at the end of the song speak to her commitment to Occupational Therapy in particular and to humanity in general.


I have composed the immortal concertos with ears that were silent and numb
I have touched the heart of a country across it on one leg I’ve run
I have led a nation of people from a chair under war-torn skies
I have seen the world through my fingers I can hear the world through my eyes
So look beyond what I am not and you will see just what I am
I’m a woman, I’m a child, I’m a man


Selected Recent Publications
  1. Hagemann, E., Williams, C. K., McKee, P., Stefanovich, A., & Carnahan, H. (in press) Using Model Hands for Learning Orthotic Fabrication American Journal of Occupational Therapy
  1. Stefanovich, A., Williams, C., McKee, P., Hagemann, E., & Carnahan, H. (2013) Development and Validation of Tools for Evaluation of Orthosis Fabrication. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 66(6), 739–746.
  2. McKee, P.,Hannah, S., and Priganc, V. (2012) Orthotic Considerations for Dense Connective Tissue and Articular Cartilage—The Need for Optimal Movement and Stress. Journal of Hand Therapy 25:233-243
  1. McKee, P. and Rivard, A. (2011) Biopsychosocial Approach to Orthotic Intervention. Journal of Hand Therapy 24:155-63
  1. McKee, P. and Rivard, A. (2011) Foundations of Orthotic Intervention. In Skirven, T., Osterman, L., Fedorczyk, J., and Amadio, P. Rehabilitation of the Hand and Upper Extremity (6th edition), Elsevier Inc.
  2. McKee, P. and Nguyen, C. (2007) Low-profile Dynamic Wrist-Finger-Thumb Assistive Extension Orthosis for High Radial Nerve Injury – Fabrication Instructions. Journal of Hand Therapy, 20, 70-72.
  3. McKee, P. and Rivard, A. (2004). Orthoses as enablers of occupation: client-centred splinting for better outcomes. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(5), 306-314.
  4. Ford, M., McKee, P. and Szilagyi, M. (2004). A Hybrid Thermoplastic and Neoprene Thumb Metacarpophalangeal Joint Orthosis. Journal of Hand Therapy, 17, 64 – 68.
  5. McKee, P. and Morgan, L. (1998). Orthotics in Rehabilitation: Splinting the Hand and Body. FA Davis Co., Philadelphia.
Research Interests
  • Enveloping Anatomy Learning System (patent pending)
  • Efficacy of orthotic intervention (splinting) for Thumb Carpometacarpal Osteoarthritis
  • Hybrid Thermoplastic/Neoprene Orthotic Designs
  • Bio-Occupational Framework for Orthotic Practice
Special Lectures / Keynote Speeches
  1. Neuro-musculoskeletal Physiology and a Physical Therapist’s Journey to the Paralympics (with a bit of help from an Occupational Therapist) (June 2013, UofT’s Med Youth Summer Program, Toronto, ON)
  2. Understanding the Extensor Mechanism Inside Out; Innovations in Orthotic Intervention; Exploring the Possibilities of Neoprene (May 2013, West Coast Hand Therapy Association, Harrison Hot Springs BC)
  3. The Neurologically Involved Wrist – A Client Story; Occupational Impact, Functional Adaptations and Orthotic Intervention for Generalized Instability; Connective Tissue Considerations for Distal Radius Fractures (April 2013, Philadelphia Hand Meeting, PA)
  4. Series of special invited orthotic and anatomy lectures at Lund University, Sweden, May 2011
  5. Understanding the Anatomical Basis of Arthritis Hand Deformities: An Experiential, Applied Anatomy Review (November 2010, Port of Spain, Trinidad)
  6. Understanding the Anatomical Basis of Hand Pathologies: An Experiential, Applied Anatomy Review. International Federation of the Societies of Hand Therapy, Orlando FL, June 2010
  7. Clinical and anatomical considerations for orthotic intervention of nerve-related conditions, tendon disorders and arthritic joint pathology. Presented at: Clinical Anatomy of the Hand: Surgical Procedures and Orthotic Intervention, American Association of Clinical Anatomists Toronto, ON, July 2008
  8. Orthotic Intervention for Arthritis – presented to therapists enrolled in ACPAC (Advanced Clinician Practitioner in Arthritis Care) Program, Toronto, ON, March 2008, 2009 and 2011