Sean M. Collins

Professor of Physical Therapy
Office Location: Samuel Read Hall Rm 211
Office Phone: (603) 535-2891
Mail Stop: MSC 68
Department: Physical Therapy

Academia Profile (
ResearchGate Profile (

BS, MS, ScD, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Dr. Collins joined Plymouth State University in June 2015 as the founding Program Director to develop and implement the DPT program. He was previously on faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (1998 – 2015), having served as Chair of the PT Department (2008 – 2013) and Program Director of the DPT program (2008 – 2012). In the Fall of 2020, after PSU-DPT program earned initial accreditation, Dr. Collins began the process of relinquishing his administrative role in the DPT program in order to return to a focus on teaching and scholarship.

His clinical experience focused on general and cardiopulmonary physical therapy. His dissertation on “Job Strain and its Electrocardiographically Assessed Pathophysiological Correlates” in 2003 required computational modeling as well as bio-statistical analysis and led to several publications, national and international presentations and speaking opportunities. The multi-scale approach to data integration and analysis developed during this dissertation in the consideration of exposure, human health, performance and disease continues to influence Dr. Collins’ teaching and scholarship.

Dr. Collins has over 50 publications and presentations in peer-reviewed journals; has presented at local, national, and international conferences and is the author of a Cardiac System chapter in the Acute Care Handbook for Physical Therapists, edited by Jaime Paz and Michelle Panik; and a chapter on Cardiopulmonary Anatomy for Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy, a text edited by William DeTurk and Lawrence Cahalin. He serves as an Associate Editor for the Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal, and is a peer reviewer for the journals: Hypertension; Safety and Health at Work; Computers in Biology and Medicine; and Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Dr. Collins is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, including the Cardiopulmonary and Education Sections; the Philosophy of Science Association, American Physiological Society and the Society for Neuroscience.

Dr. Collins’ primary scholarly interests include clinical epistemology and reasoning, particularly the dynamic use of three modes of inference in practice (inductive, deductive and abductive). This interest includes reasoning about the causal structure of knowledge that underlies practice, particularly the hierarchy of adaptation and how adaptive levels interact, influence each other and inform action based on our belief’s regarding causation and possible worlds. This primary interest provides Dr. Collins with the flexibility to engage and collaborate with physical therapists across the full range of practice specialties and settings. He maintains a blog on his research: Cause, Models and Inference in Physical Therapy.

Selected Peer Reviewed Publication (from >50)

Collins SM. Dias K. Heart Failure: Stability, Decompensation and Readmission. Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal. 2016; 26: 58-72.

Collins SM. Dynamic Inference in Cardiopulmonary PT Practice Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal. 2015; 25(4), p118-119.

Medina-Mirapeix F, DelBano-Aledo ME , Escolar-Reina P, Montilla-Herrador J, Collins SM. Relevant patient perceptions and experiences for evaluating quality of interaction with physiotherapists during outpatient rehabilitation: a qualitative study. 2015; Physiotherapy, 100(2014)73-79

Medina-Mirapeix F, Navarro EN, Escolar-Reina P, Montilla-Herrador J, Valera-Garrido F, Collins SM. Mobility activities measurement for outpatient rehabilitation settings. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 92(4): 632-639 doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2010.11.025 .

Collins SM, Karasek R. Reduced Vagal Cardiac Control Variance in Exhausted and High Strain Job Subjects. International Journal of Occupational Medicine & Environmental Health, 2010; 23(3):1–15; DOI 10.2478/v10001-010-0029-0

Collins SM. Occupational Factors, Fatigue and Cardiovascular Disease. Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal. 2009, 20(2):28-31.

Awards and Distinctions

Dufault Lecture (Invited) University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Fatigue: A symptom of morbidity, a sign of life, 20102
Teaching Award, Department of Physical Therapy & Exercise Physiology, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 2010
Teaching Excellence Award, UMass Student Government Association, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 2008
Teaching Excellence Award, UMass Student Government Association, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 2006
Third Place Recognition for Scientific Communication, National Conference of Fisioterepia, Madrid, Spain, 2005
Teaching Award, Department of Physical Therapy & Exercise Physiology, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 2004
Teaching Excellence Award, UMass Student Government Association, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 2004
Clinical Excellence Award, Physical Therapy, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 1994

Associations, Boards, and Committees

Editorial Board, Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal, 2008 – Present
American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), 1992 – Present
APTA Cardiopulmonary Section, 1996 – Present
APTA Education Section, 2008 – Present
APTA Neurology Section, 2015 – Present
Philosophy of Science Association, 2006 – Present
American Physiological Society, 2012 – Present
Society of Neuroscience, 2015 – Present
American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, 2000 – 2010