I’m Jeff Russell, the founder of Artisanus. Artisanus is constructed of the word “Artist” and the Latin word for healthy, “sanus.” This combination is a vision I have strived for since I changed my career from sports medicine to performing arts medicine in 2002. Now I am working to expand my influence to make this happen more broadly.
Sometimes it seems that “artist” and “healthy” are mutually exclusive. I don’t believe that, though, and I have seen that it is untrue in so many of the wonderful dancers, musicians, and theater personnel I know. Yet, there still is much work to do to ensure that performing artists are accomplishing their wonderful craft with as high a wellness as possible and that they also have access to excellent, specialized healthcare.
In my world, “performing artist” includes anyone involved in some aspect of dance, music, and theater, including those who work on the technical side. I am an encourager, professor, and healthcare provider to performing artists with 34 years of experience in sports medicine, orthopaedics, and performing arts medicine.
MY PROFESSIONAL HISTORY
I hold a PhD in Dance Medicine and Science from the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom. I presently serve as Assistant Professor of Athletic Training and the Director of Science and Health in Artistic Performance (aka, SHAPe) at Ohio University. I began and continue to lead the SHAPe initiative there. This includes the SHAPe Clinic, a facility that provides healthcare to almost 700 performing arts students in dance, music, theater, and marching band. I also direct research and educational programs in performing arts health and wellness.
From 2008 to 2012, I was Assistant Professor of Dance Science at the University of California, Irvine. There I was given the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research Supervision for my work leading my Dance Medicine and Science Research Group.
Before my family and I moved to England for my PhD work in 2005, I founded and directed the Performing Arts Medicine Service at Belhaven University. I also was an Associate Professor of Sports Medicine and Exercise Science. My research there clearly demonstrated the expansive need for specialized healthcare for dancers.
Prior to Belhaven, I was the President and CEO of the Joe W. King Orthopedic Institute in Houston, Texas where I executed research for presentation at various professional societies and publication in a variety of orthopaedic journals. I also produced a wide range of conferences for physicians and allied health professionals.
HERE’S WHAT I DO NOW
Now I promote improving access to healthcare and health information for performing artists. For the past several years my research has focused on the demands placed on the body by performing arts. My doctoral research explored the ankle and foot in classical ballet using x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging, but I have expanded my research to encompass dance, music, theater, and marching band. I also am committed to educating performing artists, performing arts teachers, and performing arts parents about health and wellness.
I am active in the Performing Arts Medicine Association , the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Performing Arts Medicine Workgroup, and the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS), including serving on the IADMS Board of Directors and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science. I have many years of experience speaking to national and international audiences, along with numerous articles published in scientific journals.
Ultimately what I hope for is that the knowledge and experience I have gained in my career will benefit the artists who strive and toil for beauty, creativity, and perfection in their artistic disciplines.