Nancy was influenced by the growing trend of microsurgery and with Drs. Ralph Manktelow and Ron Zuker helped to create the city’s first replantation team. Her interest in microvascular surgery led to her performing the first penile replantation in Canada in 1980. Her interests in research and the pursuit of academia started early and remained an undying passion with Nancy. In that era, the concept of the Surgeon-Scientist was in its embryonic state and Nancy’s career trajectory is a testament to its importance in academic surgery.
Nancy started her staff appointment as the first divisional female member at the University of Toronto in 1979 and the sole staff plastic surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital for her career. She was promoted to full Professor in 1993. Her lab was focused on the physiology of skeletal muscle. In her typically idiosyncratic and creative manner, she has maintained several unique staff cross appointments in both the University of Toronto School of Physical and Health Education (since 1988) and the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo (since 1997). In this way, she has been able to expand the horizons of our specialty and develop collaborative and fruitful relationships with groups that don’t routinely cross the path of the Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon. Most notably she was integral in the success of several Surgeon-Scientist trainees including Dr. Bill Kuzon, Dr. Howard Clarke, and Dr. Joel Fish all of whom have risen to high levels of prominence in the academic arena of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Nancy’s contributions to the research profile of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery cannot be overstated. At a local level, for years she continued to run research supper clubs at her house allowing opportunities for the research community here at the University of Toronto to get together in a collaborative and collegial fashion. Nancy has been a lifelong supporter of the Plastic Surgery Research Council and brought this remarkable meeting to Toronto in 1992 where she was the Chair. She had an unprecedented track record of attending the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeon’s annual meetings.
Generous, collaborative, broad-minded, idiosyncratic, sensitive, innovative, loyal and dedicated. These are terms that come to mind when one reflects on Dr. Nancy McKee and her career. It is safe to say that her investments in the field of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery have enriched and fostered the specialty.
Nancy’s outstanding and remarkable career in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Toronto was recognized in 2016 with the Chair’s Lifetime Achievement Award and also by the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons with the Lifetime Achievement Award in at their annual meeting in 2017. Dr. McKee retired in 2016 after 37 years in clinical practice.