For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Margaret A. Finley, PT, PhD

Associate Professor Finley's research has strongly relied on biomechanical analyses of human dynamics in functional activities, translating scientific innovation into clinical practice. Her interest is primarily secondary conditions in persons with chronic impairments, activity and participation limitations. Her ongoing work will provide specific information on how pain, biological, psychological and social determinants impact community participation in individuals, specifically from the transition from the acute phase following newly acquired SCI throughout community re-integration. Employing quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods, she utilizes perspectives and identifies needs regarding physical activity and community engage of individuals with SCI. Currently her lab is developing accessible, inclusive physical activity programs to address psychological factors, social factors and activity engagement to mitigate the long-term adverse effects of inactivity in people with disabilities. She has been funded by the Department of Defense and is currently funded by the Craig H Neilsen Foundation.

Motion Analysis Laboratory & Biomechanical Analysis Lab

Principal Investigator

Margaret Finley, PT, PhD

Margaret A. Finley, PT, PhD
Associate Professor - Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science
View Faculty Profile

Doctoral Students

Liz-Euiler photo on a dock above water

PhD Student: Elizabeth Euiler, MS

Laura Baehr headshot standing in front of a wall indoors

PhD Student: Laura Baehr, PT, DPT

Research Collaborations

Internal Collaborators

  • Clare Milner, PhD, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
  • Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT, OCS, FNAP, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
  • Girija Kaimal, EdD, MA, Creative Arts Therapy
  • Michael Bruneau, Jr, PhD, ACSM, EP-C, NASM CPT, Health Sciences

External Collaborators

  • Shivayogi Hiremath, PhD - Temple University
  • Mary Schmidt-Read, PT, DT, MS- Spinal Cord Injury Program Director and Research Coordinator, Magee Rehabilitation Network, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Henry York, MD, Chief of the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI/D) Service at the VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS)
DoD team standing in front of a blue sky

Tele-exercise for Individuals with SCI: Physical, Psychological and Social Determinants (2023-2026)

Funded by PA Dept of Health Spinal Cord Injury Program

The objective of this mixed-methods study is to examine the efficacy of our participant-centered tele-health physical activity program (Tele Exercise to promote Empowered Movement with Spinal Cord Injury, TEEMS) for individuals with SCI on physical and personal determinants through a parallel mixed-methods design approach. This design will foster development of lifelong physical activity behaviors through addressing self-efficacy specifically as it pertains to exercise, providing expert knowledge translation with peer interaction and mentoring.

Role: Principal Investigator

Integrated tele-exercise for individuals with SCI: psychological and social responses (2022–2024)

Funded by CHNF Psychological Research Program

Our goals to engage individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) as informed stakeholders and implement a participant-centered health and wellness program that addresses specific needs for accessible, individualized, peer-oriented physical activity and considers psychological and social wellness of a diverse individuals with SCI, across the lifespan. Our project will examine the feasibility of a community-based telehealth and wellness program that integrates physical activity, social engagement with an emphasis on promoting psychosocial wellbeing in individuals with SCI.

Role: Principal Investigator

Movement Connection: Physical activity engagement in those aging with Spinal Cord Injury (2020–2021)

Funded by Cell2Society Aging Research Network Pilot Funding

We aimed to implement an integrated health and wellness physical activity program to mitigate secondary conditions from living with SCI, a chronic health condition. The results of the current pilot investigation determine feasibility metrics as well as limited efficacy guiding further program development. Our long-term goal is to improve current management of SCI, prevent the development of secondary illness and enhance. This project addressed concerns in order to create an inclusive environment for individuals with SCI as well as prevent the development of secondary conditions. The Movement Connection Project is designed to address the unique concerns identified in our research findings by implementing accessible physical activity classes in our local as well as the broader community

Role: Principal Investigator

Development of a Biopsychosocial Prospective Surveillance Model of Shoulder Pain in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (2017-2021)

Funded by s CDMRP Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (Award W81XWH-17-1-0476)

This study investigated the progression of musculoskeletal and psychosocial impairments for the first year following SCI, starting with inpatient rehabilitation, at 6 months, and at 1 year following injury. Our research is performed at two facilities: Drexel University (in collaboration with Magee Rehabilitation Hospital and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital) and the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute.

We aimed to identify sources of biopsychosocial shoulder pain to establish effective physical and cognitive-behavioral treatment to prevent loss of function and independence in individuals with SCI who depend on their arms for activities of daily living, transfers, and wheelchair propulsion. Early identification of problem areas may provide a method to refer a patient for treatment or to change ongoing intervention. Development of a biopsychosocial prospective surveillance model will provide a proactive approach to reduce the debilitating consequences of activity limitations and participation restrictions in individuals with SCI, reducing the burden currently experienced by military service members, veterans, and their families and caregivers.

Role: Principal Investigator

Engagement of stakeholder and community partners in a health and wellness program during community reintegration following Spinal Cord injury (2020-2021)

Funded by College of Nursing and Health Professions Accelerator Implementation Grant

Our purpose of this implementation accelerator grant was to engage stakeholders and community partners to identify specific needs, attitudes, perceptions and feasibility of physical activity (PA) interventions to individuals with new spinal cord injury (SCI). Magee Rehabilitation Hospital was the community partner. Through stakeholder focus groups we identified needs, attitudes, perceptions, barriers, facilitators and personal interest in participation in a community-based health and wellness program. Stakeholder groups were 1) individuals with newly acquired SCI; 2) caregivers/family members; and 3) wellness center personnel (to include rehabilitation therapists, wellness center trainers, administration.). Our long term objective is to determine if participation in a multidisciplinary community-based health and wellness program will improve biopsychosocial factors for individuals with SCI during the critical phase of transition to community living.

Baehr, L., Kaimal, G, Bruneau, M, Finley, MA. Feasibility of a synchronous group tele-exercise class for individuals with spinal cord injury: A mixed methods study, Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy. Accepted for publication.

Baehr, L., Fisher, K., Finley, M. (2022) Perspectives on health with spinal cord injury now and in the future: a qualitative descriptive study. Physical Therapy, pzad011, doi:10.1093/ptj/pzad011

Baehr LA, Kaimal G, Hiremath SV, Trost Z, Finley M (2022) Staying active after rehab: Physical activity perspectives with a spinal cord injury beyond functional gains. PLOS ONE 17(3): e0265807. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265807.

Euiler, E., Finley, MA. (2022) Reliability of upper extremity muscle activity and kinematics during adaptive rowing: A pilot study. Sport Rehabilitation. Apr 27;1-7. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2021-0266. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35477897.

Finley, M., Baehr, L., Bruneau, M., Kaimal, G. (2022) Group Tele-exercise for Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury: A Mixed Methods Pilot Study. Journal of Physical Activity Research, 7(1), 10-17. doi:10.12691/jpar-7-1-3.

Baehr, LA, Frey-Law, LA, Finley, M. Quantitative sensory changes related to physical activity in adult populations: A scoping review. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001883. PMID: 34508062

Finley, M., Euiler, E., Gracely, E., Baehr, L., Brownsberger, M. Schmidt-Read, M., Frye, SK., Kallins, M., Summers, A., York, H. Geigle, PR. Relationship of psychosocial factors and musculoskeletal pain among individuals with newly acquired spinal cord injury (2021) Spinal Cord Series and Cases ,7(1), 62. doi: 10.1038/s41394-021-00415-4.

Alizadeh, M., Manmatharayan, AR., Johnston, T., Finley M., Detloff, M., Sharan, A., Newburg, A., Krisa, L Mohamed, FB. Graph Theoretical Structural-Functional Connectome Analyses in Patients with Chronic Spinal Cord Injury: Preliminary Investigation. (2021) Spinal Cord Series and Cases, 7(1), 60. doi: 10.1038/s41394-021-00424-3

Finley, M., Euiler, E., Trojian, T., Gracely, E., Schmidt-Read, M., Frye, SK., Kallins, M., Summers, A., York, H. Geigle, PR. Shoulder impairment and pain of individuals with newly acquired spinal cord injury compared to uninjured peers (2020) Spinal Cord Series and Cases, 6(1).68. doi: 10.1038/s41394-020-0318-1

Finley, MA, Euiler, E., Hiremath, SV, Sarver, J. Movement coordination during humeral elevation in individuals with newly acquired spinal cord injury. (2020) Technical Note, Journal of Applied Biomechanics. 36(5), 345-350. doi.10.1123.jab.2019-0387.

Canori, A, Amiri, AM, Thapa-Chhetry, B, Finley, MA, Schmidt-Read, M, Lamboy, MR, Intille, SS, Hiremath, SV. Relationship between pain, fatigue, and physical activity levels during a technology-based physical activity intervention. (2020) Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 2020 Jun:1-8. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2020.1766889

Ebaugh, D.E., Pollen, T, Mohring, J., Gerrity, K., Goodstadt, N., Finley, MA. (2019) Pectoralis minor muscle elongation and scapulothoracic motion do not differ in individuals with short versus typical resting pectoralis minor muscle length: a cross-sectional study. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, 22(6):519-526

Finley M.A., Ebaugh, D., Trojian, T. (2018) Agreement of musculoskeletal ultrasound and clinical assessment of shoulder impairment in manual wheelchair users with various duration of spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 99 (4): 615-622. doi:10.1016/j.ampr.2017.12.015

Ebaugh, D., Finley, M., Goodstadt, N. (2017)Resting pectoralis minor muscle length, an accurate way to determine if the muscle is shortened? Journal Hand Therapy. (2017) Journal Hand Therapy, 30(4):e9.

Wright, H. O’Brien, V., Valdes, K., Koczan, B., MacDermid, J., Moore, E., Finley, MA. (2017) Relationship of the patient specific functional scale to commonly used clinical measures in hand osteoarthritis. Journal Hand Therapy. 30(4):538-545.

Finley, MA & Ebaugh, DD. (2017) Association of pectoralis minor extensibility, shoulder mobility and duration of manual wheelchair use. Archives Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 98(10), 2028-2033

Finley, MA, Goodstadt, N., Soler, D., Somerville, K., Friedman, Z., Ebaugh, D. (2017) Reliability and Validity of a Novel Technique for Active and Passive Pectoralis Minor Muscle Length Measures. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, 21(3): 212-218.

Margaret A. Finley, PT, PhD

Associate Professor
Drexel University
Dept of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science
Health Sciences Building
HSB 11W49
Office 754
Philadelphia, PA 19104