John Thottakara, M.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

A specialist in neurological rehabilitation, Dr. Thottakara serves as Chief of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation service at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He is also Medical Director and Chief of Parkland’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Program.

He and his team also provide medical staffing for a local post-acute neurocognitive rehabilitation program.

Certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dr. Thottakara joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2009.

He was named a Super Doctors “Texas Rising Star” in 2014 and 2015 and recognized as the 2011 Teaching Faculty of the Year by the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Dr. Thottakara earned his medical degree at Wayne State University School of Medicine, where he also completed a three-year physical medicine and rehabilitation residency, serving as Chief Resident his final year. He then received advanced training in brain injury medicine through a fellowship at UT Southwestern.

He is a member of professional organizations that include the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

When he’s not working, Dr. Thottakara enjoys spending time with his wife and three young daughters.

Meet Dr. Thottakara

Neurorehabilitation Expert in Dallas

Rehabilitative care can make a big difference in helping many people regain function they’ve lost due to injuries, medical events, and illness. That’s what physical medicine and rehabilitation physician John Thottakara, M.D., appreciates most about his work.

“We get to see our patients’ function improve as the days, weeks, and months go on, and I really enjoy being a part of that,” he says.

As a specialist in neurological rehabilitation, Dr. Thottakara helps many people recover function they’ve lost due to strokes, brain and spinal cord injuries, neuromuscular and nervous system disorders, and other conditions that impact the brain and spine.

In addition to caring for “neuro rehab” patients in his UT Southwestern Medical Center practice, Dr. Thottakara leads the Brain Injury Clinic at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

He also serves as Chief of Parkland’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation service and as Medical Director and Chief of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Program. He was named a Super Doctors “Texas Rising Star” in 2014 and 2015.

At both locations, he serves patients who require all types of rehabilitative care – from people with brain and spinal cord injuries to those with traumatic injuries, joint replacements, amputations, and rare medical conditions.

In each of his roles, Dr. Thottakara coordinates the personalized, often multidisciplinary rehabilitative care of patients.

“Rehabilitation is a collaborative effort, and the goal is always to help patients recover as much function as possible,” he says.

“We work closely with our experienced colleagues in a number of different subspecialty and therapy services to help patients. Because UT Southwestern gives patients access to such a wide variety of subspecialty experts and services, they really get the comprehensive rehabilitative care they need.”

In some cases, rehabilitation can include medical therapies such as medications, injections, and devices.

A thorough evaluation of every patient is critical to maximizing – and personalizing – the rehabilitation process, Dr. Thottakara says.

“The experts at UT Southwestern do a great job of assessing patients to identify their functional deficits and to learn how those deficits impact what they do at home, at work, and in the community,” he says.

“Because we develop treatment plans aimed at correcting each patient’s unique deficits, the rehabilitative care we provide is highly individualized. It’s not a cookie-cutter approach.”

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Education & Training
  • Fellowship - Parkland Health & Hospital System (2008-2009), Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Residency - UT Southwestern - Post Graduate Ed. (2008-2009), Brain Injury Rehabilitation
  • Internship - St. Francis Hospital (2004-2005), Transitional Year
  • Medical School - Wayne State University School of Medicine (2000-2004)
  • Residency - Wayne State University School of Medicine (2005-2008), Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Honors & Awards
  • Transitional Year Resident of the Year 2005
  • PMR Faculty of the Year 2011
  • Traumatic brain injury outcomes

Clinical Focus

  • Concussion
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Neuro-Rehabilitation

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Q&A by Dr. Thottakara