Jessica Graning

Jessica Graning


Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education
Department of Physical Therapy
Phone: 828.227.2192
Office Address: HHSB 220


  • BA - Exercise and Sports Science - UNC Chapel Hill - 2000
  • DPT - Physical Therapy - Duke University - 2003


Dr. Jessica Graning joined the Department of Physical Therapy in spring 2011 as Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education and assistant professor in pediatrics and professional practice.  Prior to this appointment, she worked as a pediatric physical therapist at Mission Children’s Hospital (2003-2011).  Dr. Graning plays an active role in the Carolina Clinical Education Consortium serving on the organization’s Executive Council (secretary) and co-chair of the Clinical Faculty Advisory Board.  She also serves on the Mountain Area Probono Physical Therapy (MAPPT) Advisory Board, supervises students in the MAPPT clinic, and provides consultation for pediatric clients (in collaboration with other faculty members).  In addition, she has made several national presentations with faculty and students in the Department of Physical Therapy at NCPTA and APTA NEXT meetings.

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

Dr. Graning teaches Pediatric PT I (PT 926), Pediatric PT II (PT 927), Professional Practice I (PT 895), Professional Practice II (PT 896) and clinical education courses (Clinical Practicum I-IV).  She also co-directs a doctoral project (PT 899) in the Physical Therapy Department with Dr. Todd Watson.

Areas of Research Interest

Together with Dr. Watson, she has completed a recent study demonstrating improved performance on measures of dance, balance and muscle performance following an intensive 9-week core stability program. They are currently conducting a study examining incidence and prevalence rates of injuries affecting competitive collegiate dancers.  She is also collaborating with faculty at Winston-Salem State University Department of Physical Therapy on a study that examines student confidence and performance across acute care courses and various curricula.

Peer Reviewed Publications

Watson T, Graning J, McPherson S, Carter E, Edwards J, Melcher I, Burgess T. Dance, balance, and core muscle performance measures are improved following a nine-week core stabilization training program among competitive collegiate dancers. Int J Sports Phys Ther. Under Review.


  • Graning J, Watson T, Carter E, Edwards J, Burgess T, Melcher I. Does a nine-week core stabilization training program improve measures of balance and performance among competitive collegiate dancers? A single-blind, randomized controlled trial. Paper presented at APTA NEXT Conference; June 2016; Nashville, TN.  
  • Graning J, Watson T, Melcher I, Carter E, Edwards J, Burgess T, Allison A. Do collegiate dancers receiving transversus abdominis (TrA) activation training in standing immediately improve in single leg balance and pirouette ability? Paper presented at APTA NEXT Conference; June 2015; National Harbor, MD.  
  • Graning J, Watson T, McPherson S. Using ultrasound imaging to enhance physical performance in collegiate female dancers. Paper presented at 2nd International Conference on Radiology and Imaging; September 2014; Raleigh, NC.

Personal Category

Dr. Jessica Graning resides in Cullowhee with her husband Ben, and three sons. She also coaches the nationally ranked WCU Dance Team. 

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