- Residency - Thomas Jefferson University (1987-1990), Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
- Internship - Thomas Jefferson University (1986-1987), Internal Medicine
- Medical School - University of Florida, College of Medicine (1982-1986)
Karen Kowalske, M.D.
- Charles and Peggy Galvin Professorship in Physical Medicine
- North Texas Burn Rehabilitation Model System
- Physical Medicine & Rehab
- Traumatic Brain Injury
Karen J. Kowalske, M.D., is the Charles and Peggy Galvin Professor in Physical Medicine in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
A physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, Dr. Kowalske has special expertise in treating patients with complicated catastrophic injuries, including burns and complex or non healing wounds.
She is certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation – with subspecialty certification in brain injury medicine
Named both a Texas Monthly Super Doctor and a D Magazine Best Doctor a number of times, Dr. Kowalske joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 1990.
The principal investigator for the renowned North Texas Burn Rehabilitation Model System, she has published more than 110 peer-reviewed publications and abstracts – many related to burn care and outcomes – and delivered 90-plus invited lectures.
Her other research interests include wound care, amputations, post-ICU cognitive decline, and patient outcomes.
Dr. Kowalske earned her medical degree at University of Florida College of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine training and a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Thomas Jefferson University.
Among her many professional activities, Dr. Kowalske served as a director on the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation from 2004 – 2016 and was Chair of the Board from 2013-2016, which allowed her to set the direction of the field on a national level.
She is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Burn Association, and Association of Academic Physiatrists, among other professional organizations. She also serves as a guest editor for Burns and the Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation.
Meet Dr. Kowalske
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist in Dallas
Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist Dr. Karen Kowalske has treated patients with virtually every type of injury and medical condition since she joined the UT Southwestern Medical Center faculty in 1990.
In addition, Dr. Kowalske is one of the region’s few physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists who treats recovered polio patients .
Dr. Kowalske is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation and has subspecialty certification in brain injury medicine.
Making Lives Better
Named both a Texas Monthly Super Doctor and a D Magazine Best Doctor many times, Dr. Kowalske finds her work very gratifying.
“Helping people recover, regain their quality of life, and move on with their lives after a life-altering medical event is incredibly rewarding,” she says.
“I enjoy spending time with my patients, listening to their concerns and challenges, and brainstorming with them to solve problems and make their lives better.”
- Texas Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- Texas Medical Association
- Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex PM&R Society
- Dallas County Medical Society
- Association of Academic Physiatrists
- American Medical Association
- American Burn Association
- American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- Top 100 Doctors in Dallas 1996-2007, Voted by physician colleagues
- Best Doctors in America, SW Region 1996-2007
- Who's Who Among US Physicians 1999-2002
- Who's Who Among America's Teachers 2002
- Best Doctors in Dallas 2008-2012
- Best Doctors in America 2009-2014
- Texas Super Doctor 2011
- Castle Connolly Top Doctors 2012
- Consumer's Guide to America's Top Physicians 2013
Handbook on Burns - Reconstruction and Rehabilitation (Volume 2 of 2) 1st ed
Suman OE, Kowalske K, McEntire SJ, Herndon DN(Ed.) (2011), Springer
The Diabetic Foot, 5th ed
Helm PA, Kowalske KJ(Ed.) (1992), St. Louis, CV Mosby
T Monga & M Grabois (eds) Pain Management in Rehabilitation
Kowalske KJ(Ed.) (2002), Demos Medical Publishing, Inc
Ed Garrison (ed) Handbook of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Basics, 2nd ed
Kowalske KJ, Helm PA(Ed.) (2003)
DeLisa and Gans (eds.), Rehabilitation Medicine Principles and Practice, 4th ed
Helm PA, Kowalske KJ(Ed.) (2003)
B.O. Young, M. Young, & S. Steins (Eds), Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Secrets, 3rd ed
Esselman PC, Gabriel V, Eldad A, Kowalske KJ(Ed.) (2008), Philadelphia, Mosby/Elsevier
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 4th ed
Braddom RL, Chan L, Harrast MA, Kowalske KJ, Matthews DJ, Ragnarsson KR, Stolp KA(Ed.) (2011), Saunders
- Handbook on Burns - Reconstruction and Rehabilitation (Volume 2 of 2) 1st ed
Spinal cord injury syndrome with motor sparing in the absence of all sensation.
Kowalske KJ, Herbison GJ, Ditunno JF, Graziani V Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 1991 Oct 72 11 932-4
Daily functioning of patients with an amputated lower extremity.
Pandian G, Kowalske K Clinical orthopaedics and related research 1999 Apr 361 91-7
Time off work and return to work rates after burns: systematic review of the literature and a large two-center series.
Brych SB, Engrav LH, Rivara FP, Ptacek JT, Lezotte DC, Esselman PC, Kowalske KJ, Gibran NS The Journal of burn care & rehabilitation 2001 Nov-Dec 22 6 401-5
Impairment after burns: a two-center, prospective report.
Costa BA, Engrav LH, Holavanahalli R, Lezotte DC, Patterson DR, Kowalske KJ, Esselman PC Burns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries 2003 Nov 29 7 671-5
Profile of patients lost to follow-up in the Burn Injury Rehabilitation Model Systems' longitudinal database.
Holavanahalli RK, Lezotte DC, Hayes MP, Minhajuddin A, Fauerbach JA, Engrav LH, Helm PA, Kowalske KJ Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association 2006 Sep-Oct 27 5 703-12
Cutaneous vasoconstriction during whole-body and local cooling in grafted skin five to nine months postsurgery.
Davis SL, Shibasaki M, Low DA, Cui J, Keller DM, Purdue GF, Hunt JL, Arnoldo BD, Kowalske KJ, Crandall CG Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association 2008 Jan-Feb 29 1 36-41
Heat acclimation of an adult female with a large surface area of grafted skin.
Wingo JE, Low DA, Keller DM, Davis SL, Kowalske KJ, Purdue GF, Hunt JL, Crandall CG Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association 2008 Sep-Oct 29 5 848-51
Long-term outcomes in patients surviving large burns: the skin.
Holavanahalli RK, Helm PA, Kowalske KJ Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association 2010 Jul-Aug 31 4 631-9
Select practices in management and rehabilitation of burns: a survey report.
Holavanahalli RK, Helm PA, Parry IS, Dolezal CA, Greenhalgh DG Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association 2011 Mar-Apr 32 2 210-23
The impact of comorbidities and complications on burn injury inpatient rehabilitation outcomes.
Schneider JC, Gerrard P, Goldstein R, Divita MA, Niewczyk P, Ryan CM, Kowalske K, Zafonte R PM & R : the journal of injury, function, and rehabilitation 2013 Feb 5 2 114-21
Validity and Reliability of the FIM® Instrument in the Inpatient Burn Rehabilitation Population.
Gerrard P, Goldstein R, Divita MA, Ryan CM, Mix J, Niewczyk P, Kazis L, Kowalske K, Zafonte R, Schneider JC Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 2013 Mar
Characteristics of marital improvement following obesity surgery.
Rand CS, Kowalske K, Kuldau JM Psychosomatics 1984 Mar 25 3 221-3, 226
Kowalske KJ Dallas Medical Journal 1994 459-463
Neuromuscular disease: rehabilitation and electrodiagnosis. 2. Nerve disease.
McDeavitt JT, Graziani V, Kowalske KJ, Hays RM Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 1995 May 76 5 Spec No S10-20
Neuromuscular disease: rehabilitation and electrodiagnosis. 3. Muscle disease.
Hays RM, Kowalske KJ Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 1995 May 76 5 Spec No S21-5
Burn Pain: Evaluation and Management
Kowalske KJ, Tanelian DL. Anesthesiology Clinics of North America 1997 15 2 269-283
Vocational reentry following TBI: an enablement model.
Kowalske K, Plenger PM, Lusby B, Hayden ME The Journal of head trauma rehabilitation 2000 Aug 15 4 989-99
Neuromuscular rehabilitation and electrodiagnosis. 3. Generalized peripheral neuropathy.
Kowalske KJ, Agre JC Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 2000 Mar 81 3 Suppl 1 S20-6; quiz S36-44
Neuromuscular rehabilitation and electrodiagnosis. 5. Myopathy.
Moore DP, Kowalske KJ Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 2000 Mar 81 3 Suppl 1 S32-5; quiz S36-44
Assessing resident clinical competence. Association of Academic Physiatrists.
Sliwa JA, Kowalske KJ American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation / Association of Academic Physiatrists 2000 Sep-Oct 79 5 468-73
The platform transfer splint: 2 case reports of a mobility aide for persons with arm injuries or conditions.
Kowalske KJ, Walsh KT, Ringler KV Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 2001 Feb 82 2 286-9
Barriers to employment among working-aged patients with major burn injury.
Fauerbach JA, Engrav L, Kowalske K, Brych S, Bryant A, Lawrence J, Li G, Munster A, de Lateur B The Journal of burn care & rehabilitation 2001 Jan-Feb 22 1 26-34
Community integration after burn injuries.
Esselman PC, Ptacek JT, Kowalske K, Cromes GF, deLateur BJ, Engrav LH The Journal of burn care & rehabilitation 2001 May-Jun 22 3 221-7
Neuropathy after burn injury.
Kowalske K, Holavanahalli R, Helm P The Journal of burn care & rehabilitation 2001 Sep-Oct 22 5 353-7; discussion 352
Predictors of quality of life as measured by the Burn Specific Health Scale in persons with major burn injury.
Cromes GF, Holavanahalli R, Kowalske K, Helm P The Journal of burn care & rehabilitation 2002 May-Jun 23 3 229-34
Contractures in burn injury: defining the problem.
Schneider JC, Holavanahalli R, Helm P, Goldstein R, Kowalske K Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association 2006 Jul-Aug 27 4 508-14
Outcomes after deep full-thickness hand burns.
Holavanahalli RK, Helm PA, Gorman AR, Kowalske KJ Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 2007 Dec 88 12 Suppl 2 S30-5
Kowalske KJ, Greenhalgh DG, Ward SR Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association 2007 Jul-Aug 28 4 607-10
The WeeFIM [R] instrument--a paediatric measure of functional independence to predict longitudinal recovery of paediatric burn patients.
Serghiou MH, Rose MW, Pidcock FS, Esselman PC, Engrav LH, Kowalske KJ, Lezotte DC Developmental neurorehabilitation 2008 Jan-Mar 11 1 39-50
Contractures in burn injury part II: investigating joints of the hand.
Schneider JC, Holavanahalli R, Helm P, O'Neil C, Goldstein R, Kowalske K Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association 2008 Jul-Aug 29 4 606-13
A clarion to recommit and reaffirm burn rehabilitation.
Richard RL, Hedman TL, Quick CD, Barillo DJ, Cancio LC, Renz EM, Chapman TT, Dewey WS, Dougherty ME, Esselman PC, Forbes-Duchart L, Franzen BJ, Hunter H, Kowalske K, Moore ML, Nakamura DY, Nedelec B, Niszczak J, Parry I, Serghiou M, Ward RS, Holcomb JB, Wolf SE Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association 2008 May-Jun 29 3 425-32
Assessment of recovery from burn-related neuropathy by electrodiagnostic testing.
Gabriel V, Kowalske KJ, Holavanahalli RK Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association 2009 Jul-Aug 30 4 668-74
Providing access to specialty care for severely disabled institutional residents: an academic health center telemedicine model.
Morrow JB, Goetz LL, Marcee AK, Snell LE, Kowalske KJ, Roaten SP Journal of health care for the poor and underserved 2009 May 20 2 415-22
Outcome assessment after hand burns.
Kowalske K Hand clinics 2009 Nov 25 4 557-61
Treatment effect versus pretreatment recovery in persons with traumatic brain injury: a study regarding the effectiveness of postacute rehabilitation.
Hayden ME, Plenger P, Bison K, Kowalske K, Masel B, Qualls D PM & R : the journal of injury, function, and rehabilitation 2013 Apr 5 4 319-27; quiz 327
American burn association consensus statements.
Gibran NS, Wiechman S, Meyer W, Edelman L, Fauerbach J, Gibbons L, Holavanahalli R, Hunt C, Keller K, Kirk E, Laird J, Lewis G, Moses S, Sproul J, Wilkinson G, Wolf S, Young A, Yovino S, Mosier MJ, Cancio LC, Amani H, Blayney C, Cullinane J, Haith L, Jeng JC, Kardos P, Kramer G, Lawless MB, Serio-Melvin ML, Miller S, Moran K, Novakovic R, Potenza B, Rinewalt A, Schultz J, Smith H, Dylewski M, Wibbenmeyer L, Bessey PQ, Carter J, Gamelli R, Goodwin C, Graves T, Hollowed K, Holmes J, Noordenbas J, Nordlund M, Savetamal A, Simpson P, Traber D, Traber L, Nedelec B, Donelan M, Baryza MJ, Bhavsar D, Blome-Eberwein S, Carrougher GJ, Hickerson W, Joe V, Jordan M, Kowalske K, Murray D, Murray VK, Parry I, Peck M, Reilly D, Schneider JC, Ware L, Singer AJ, Boyce ST, Ahrenholz DH, Chang P, Clark RA, Fey R, Fidler P, Garner W, Greenhalgh D, Honari S, Jones L, Kagan R, Kirby J, Leggett J, Meyer N, Reigart C, Richey K, Rosenberg L, Weber J, Wiggins B Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association 2013 Jul-Aug 34 4 361-85
- Spinal cord injury syndrome with motor sparing in the absence of all sensation.
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Burns and Wound Care
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Trauma Rehabilitation
- Burn Rehabilitation & Wound Management
Q&A by Dr. Kowalske
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