About Dr. Stephanie Greenspan

photo 1.jpg

For a long time…

...I wanted to keep my professional life as a physical therapist separate from my life as a dancer and circus artist. I didn’t get to fully explore these artistic passions until I was an adult, and I wanted to protect my time to be an artist. As I began coaching aerialists, I naturally integrated my knowledge of biomechanics and exercise with my own students, but this experience drove a desire to gain a deeper understanding of circus training and the relationship with injuries. As coaches and physical therapists, we rely on experience and research from non-circus arts and sports to guide our coaching or rehabilitation, but research specific to circus is almost non-existent. My transition from a physical therapy clinician to an assistant professor teaching future Doctors of Physical Therapy has allowed me to pursue research to answer my questions about movement biomechanics and injury risk factors in circus artists. By enhancing our understanding of healthy movement and injury risk factors in circus artists, we can develop circus-specific, evidenced-based injury prevention programs to keep circus artists doing what they love.

Stephanie Greenspan, PT, DPT, OCS, NCS

Physical Therapist and Aerial Artist



Dr. Greenspan earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California. Her post-graduate training included residencies in orthopaedic and neurologic physical therapy and a fellowship in orthopaedic manual therapy. She is a board-certified specialist in both orthopaedic and neurologic physical therapy. Her teaching experience includes entry-level and post-professional physical therapy education in the United States as well as in Kenya and Vietnam. She currently teaches in the Samuel Merritt University Doctor of Physical Therapy program in Oakland, CA, where she is the principal investigator for ongoing research about injuries in circus artists and also biomechanics of aerial movement.

Samuel Merritt University Faculty Bio