Marcia Finlayson, PhD, OT Reg(Ont), OTR
Marcia Finlayson, PhD, OT Reg(Ont), OTR

Marcia Finlayson, PhD, OT Reg(Ont), OTR


Dr. Finlayson is Vice-Dean (Health Sciences), School of Rehabilitation Therapy, and Director, Professor, Occupational Therapy Program, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  "Dr. Finlayson's research program focuses on developing, implementing and evaluating self-management programs and rehabilitation services to enhance the health and well-being of people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). These people include individuals with the disease, their family members and caregivers. The ultimate goal of Dr. Finlayson's scholarship is to enable these groups to lead healthy, meaningful lives, and exert choice and control over their participation in daily activities at home and in the community. Within this context, Dr. Finlayson's specific topical interests include fatigue management, falls prevention, caregiver support, aging with MS, and health care service utilization."  (Retrieved on April 16, 2915 from https://rehab.queensu.ca/people/faculty/marcia_finlayson.)

From 2006-2011, Dr. Finlayson was the editor of the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, (Retrieved on April 16, 2015 from http://www.caot.ca/default.asp?pageid=6).  In 2013, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) awarded the Muriel Driver Memorial Lectureship to Dr. Finlayson.  This honor is bestowed on a CAOT member who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession through research, education and the practice of occupational therapy.  (Retrieved on April 16, 2915 from http://www.caot.ca/default.asp?pageid=1357)    

Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Organized, focused, driven

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
My research program is focused on developing, implementing and evaluating self-management and rehabilitation interventions that support the quality of life of people affected by multiple sclerosis; this includes people with the disease as well as family and friends.  If my research program is successful, people affected by MS will have choice over and control of the daily activities in which they engage, and the ways in which that engagement occurs.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Having a career in science and research requires a long term vision (what is the problem you are going to solve 10 years from now?) and the ability to break down this vision into a series of small manageable, sequential steps.  This type of career requires passion, patience and resilience because everywhere you turn there are people evaluating the quality of your work and making decisions about whether you should get funding or get an article published.  You have to remain focused and committed, and you have to be able to create networks and systems to get the support you need (scientifically, practically and personally) to be successful.

Beside your own areas of inquiry, what is one research priority that you believe is important for the future of occupational science and occupational therapy?
We need to evaluate the efficacy, effectiveness and costs of providing "standard" or "typical" occupational therapy services in hospitals, home care and nursing homes.  In other words, we need to build the evidence for the work that most clinically based occupational therapists are doing on a daily basis.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
I have had several mentors in my career.  The most important thing that each one of them did for me was to provide honest, constructive feedback about my written work (grants, manuscripts).

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Anything on the water - kayaking, canoeing and dragon boat racing are my favorites.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The most surprising aspect is having people recognize my name when I am traveling internationally.  The most rewarding is having people affected by MS tell me that what I am doing is important  and will make a difference in the lives of other people like them.

Selected References

Finlayson ML.  (2013). Muriel Driver Memorial Lecture 2013: Embracing our role as change agents. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 80, 205-214.

Asano, M & Finlayson, ML. (2014). Meta-analysis of three different types of fatigue management interventions for people with multiple sclerosis: exercise, education, and medication. Multiple Sclerosis International, 2014:798285. doi: 10.1155/2014/798285. Epub 2014 May 14. Review.

Finlayson, M, Cattaneo, D, Cameron, M, Coote, S, Matsuda, PN, Peterson E & Sosnoff, JJ.  (2014). Applying the RE-AIM framework to inform the development of a multiplesclerosis falls-prevention intervention. International Journal of Multiple Sclerosis Care, 16, 192-197.

Finlayson, M, Preissner K, & Cho C.  (2013). Impact of comorbidity on fatigue managementintervention outcomes among people with multiple sclerosis: an exploratory investigation.  International Journal of Multiple Sclerosis Care, 15, 21-26.

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