Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award recognizes an emerging leader in the health and rehabilitation professions whose record reflects his or her ongoing and exceptional growth in practice, research or service; demonstrated leadership and commitment to furthering his or her profession.
Michael Gans (Physical Therapy, DPT '06)

BS – University of Pittsburgh, Exercise Science, 2002
DPT – University of Pittsburgh, 2006


Since 2009, Michael Gans has worked as an orthopedic physical therapy certified specialist. He has also pursued additional training in orthopaedic manual physical therapy at Regis University and is a 2013 graduate of its Manual Therapy Fellowship Program. A fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy, he currently works as the site director for Hartford Hospital’s Spine and Wellness Center in Westport, Connecticut. He was founding director for the Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers Orthopedic Residency Program in Connecticut and previously an adjunct faculty member of Sacred Heart University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.


Gans is the immediate past-president of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Connecticut Chapter having served two terms. He has also served in many state positions including chair of the Orthopedic SIG, board of directors member, vice president, delegate and in his current role as chief delegate to the APTA House of Delegates. He teaches weekend continuing education courses in evidence-based orthopedic examination and treatment, has presented nationally at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting, the NEXT conference in 2018, where he was an invited speaker for the leadership development committee, and the NEXT conference in 2019 where he spoke on adaptations to manual therapy techniques for therapists and patients. His perspectives are known internationally, having lectured on the treatment of the foot and ankle at the Kenyan Medical Training College in Nairobi.


In recognition of his early career accomplishments, Gans was invited to be one of the first keynote speakers for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Professional Pledge Ceremony at Pitt SHRS in 2012. In selecting him as the keynote speaker, the faculty unanimously agreed that, as a young professional, he was a great role model to discuss fostering a professional identity for the future Physical Therapy graduates. Gans also assists in the professional development of Pitt students with an annual sponsorship of two student memberships to the American Physical Therapy Association. His donation of these memberships to each incoming class sparks them not only to become engaged APTA members but to also volunteer their time in the community.