Doris Ann Slack Endowment Fund

The American Hand Therapy Foundation is thrilled to announce the establishment of the Doris Ann Slack Upper Extremity Education and Research Innovation Fund


Through a generous donation from Doris Ann Slack, the fund is established to support the mission of the American Hand Therapy Foundation to fund clinical and scientific research and education to advance the practice of hand therapy and quality of patient care throughout the world.  The purpose of this fund is to encourage and support clinical innovations and education in the field of upper extremity rehabilitation, in perpetuity.

Each year, the AHTF Board of Directors will designate proceeds from the Doris Ann Slack Fund toward one of the following areas:

  • Additional funding of one of the AHTF existing grants to promote innovation in clinical innovation
  • Additional funding of one of the AHTF existing grants to promote innovation in clinical research
  • Support of an educational program in conjunction with national upper extremity professional organizations (ie ASSH, ASHT, AAHS) to disseminate evidence based clinical innovation to therapists, which is deemed to directly enhance patient care.  
  • The Burkhalter Grant will receive additional support in 2021

About Doris Ann Slack:

Doris Ann Slack, a master clinician and educator whose life-long reverence for the hand and upper extremity profoundly benefited and equally inspired her patients and students. As both a physical and occupational therapist with numerous contributions to victims of polio and cerebral palsy, her competitive spirit and military training thrived in both clinical and academic environments.

Serving during World War II in the Women’s Army Corps, she earned a certificate in Physical Therapy in the 1940’s followed by certification in Occupational Therapy in 1957. Her career spanned several decades featured by the creation of a series of films of exercises for the prone patient as well as a series of slides of the ADL adaptions for the arthritic homemaker. She was lead author in the chapter on “Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation” writing on splinting of the wrist for the textbook Rheumatoid Arthritis: Etiology-Diagnosis-Management published in 1985.

In addition to an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in physical education, Doris returned to campus earning her Master of Public Health degree in 1965 in Health Behavior and Health Management. She is known as an avid sports fan and enjoyed wearing a variety of outlandish hats. Retiring in Wilmington, North Carolina, she celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family in 2020.

Her dedicated service to others is epitomized by this legacy gift to the American Hand Therapy Foundation. The Doris Ann Slack Fund is the bedrock that sustains the pre-existing AHTF grants, just as a teacher imparts the foundational knowledge that prepares future generations for research and advance practice.

Doris’ selection of AHTF for this generous endowment is a genuine reflection of her desire to improve patient outcomes by promoting evidence-based practice. Simply stated, it is a perpetuation of her life’s work and her admiration for the miraculous design and competence of the upper extremity.

Have Questions?

For inquiries, contact April Cowan, OTR, OTD, CHT at


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