Dr Patricia Rigby retired from the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto on June 30, 2017, and was appointed Associate Professor Emerita effective July 1. Dr Rigby worked part-time as a faculty member throughout her 23-year career at University of Toronto, and was Graduate Coordinator from 2001 to 2008. She also worked as a Scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, retiring from there in 2012.
Dr Rigby’s passion was children’s rehabilitation. She conducted research to develop and evaluate assistive technologies for children and youth to examine the influence of environments on children’s play and participation, and to develop outcome measurement to evaluate rehabilitation services for children and their families. She was also a member of a team of occupational therapy (OT) academics who developed the Person-Environment-Occupation (PEO) Model to guide OT practice. This
model is widely used by OTs around the world and has been cited extensively in the international OT literature. The PEO model places greater emphasis on the role of the environment within OT practice. Dr. Rigby published the book, Using Environments to Enable Occupational Performance (Letts, Rigby & Stewart, 2003), and contributed numerous chapters to prominent OT textbooks about OT and the environment.
Dr Rigby was a popular educator; she taught primarily about OT with children and the application of theory to OT practice. Dr. Rigby says that what she will miss the most is student contact through teaching, research supervision, advising, and mentoring. In fact, many former students have described how valuable her mentorship was, during the program and after they graduated.
During the past several years, Dr Rigby has established a formal connection with our alumni through the PT-OT Alumni Association, and the development of the alumni section of our website to bring recognition to alumni achievements, with the assistance of work-study students. Dr Rigby will continue in her Departmental role with alumni into her retirement.
In recognition of Dr Rigby’s retirement, members of the Department and Alumni have contributed donations towards the new Patty Rigby and John Wedge Scholarship in Science and Technology, which Dr Rigby and her husband created through the Faculty of Medicine to support occupational therapists in the doctoral stream program of the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute. Please contact Katie Rock, Senior Development Officer, at Katie.Rock@utoronto.ca to donate to this scholarship.