Joseph M. Furman, MD, PhD

Professor of Otolaryngology, Neurology, Physical Therapy and Bioengineering


  • Director, UPMC Division of Balance Disorders

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Furman’s clinical and research interests focus on the vestibular system including both peripheral and central control of balance.  His areas of interest include the assessment of the semicircular canals using whole-body rotation, and studies of sensorimotor integration in older persons. Collaborative activities with physical therapists are a major focus of Dr. Furman’s current clinical and research activities.

Education & Training

  • Post-Doctorate, UCLA and University of Toronto, Medicine
  • Resident, UCLA, Neurology
  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania, Bioengineering
  • MD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Specialized Areas of Clinical, Research and/or Educational Interests

  • Research: Vestibular Function; Balance Disorders; Sensorimotor Integration
  • Clinical: Balance Disorders
  • Education: Clinician-Scientist Career Development

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Professional Organization Membership

  • American Academy of Neurology
  • American Medical Association
  • Association for Research in Otolaryngology
  • Barany Society
  • The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery

Honors & Awards

  • Pittsburgh Best Doctors
  • Jean Louis Rheil Award for Research by a Resident in Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Mary Ellis Bell Prize, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • Phi Beta Kappa, University of Pennsylvania
  • Wolf Prize in Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania

Selected Recent Publications

Hoppes CW, Huppert TJ, Whitney SL, Dunlap PM, DiSalvio NL, Alshebber KM, Furman JM, Kwon YH, Rosso AL. Changes in Cortical Activation During Dual-Task Walking in Individuals With and Without Visual Vertigo. J Neurol Phys Ther. 2020 Apr;44(2):156-163. doi: 10.1097/NPT.0000000000000310. PMID: 32168158; PMCID: PMC7112165.

Alsubaie SF, Whitney SL, Furman JM, Marchetti GF, Sienko KH, Klatt BN, Sparto PJ. Reliability and Validity of Ratings of Perceived Difficulty During Performance of Static Standing Balance Exercises. Phys Ther. 2019 Oct 28;99(10):1381-1393. doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzz091. PMID: 31309968; PMCID: PMC6821262.

Alkathiry AA, Kontos AP, Furman JM, Whitney SL, Anson ER, Sparto PJ. Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex Function in Adolescents With Sport-Related Concussion: Preliminary Results. Sports Health. 2019 Nov/Dec;11(6):479-485. doi: 10.1177/1941738119865262. Epub 2019 Aug 14. PMID: 31411942; PMCID: PMC6822204.

Redfern MS, Chambers AJ, Sparto PJ, Furman JM, Jennings JR. Perceptual Inhibition Associated with Sensory Integration for Balance in Older Adults. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2018;46(5-6):266-274. doi: 10.1159/000493748. Epub 2018 Nov 7. PMID: 30404094.

Hoppes CW, Sparto PJ, Whitney SL, Furman JM, Huppert TJ. Changes in cerebral activation in individuals with and without visual vertigo during optic flow: A functional near-infrared spectroscopy study. Neuroimage Clin. 2018 Sep 5;20:655-663. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2018.08.034. PMID: 30211002; PMCID: PMC6129736.