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Cristina L. Sadowsky, M.D.
Clinical Director, International Center for Spinal Cord Injury, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Expertise: Neuromyelitis Optica, Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury, Spinal Cord Dysfunction, Spinal Cord Injury, Spinal Cord Trauma, Transverse Myelitis, Traumatic and Non-traumatic Spinal Cord Injury ...read more
Research Interests: Efficacy of activity-based restoration therapies in helping individuals with long-term spinal cord injury and paralysis recover sensation, movement and independence; Prevention of complications in patients with paralysis ...read more
Kennedy Krieger Institute
Appointment Phone: 443-923-9230
801 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Dr. Cristina L. Sadowsky is an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her areas of clinical expertise include spinal cord injury and paralysis restoration.
Dr. Sadowsky is also a founder and the clinical director of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. This program was built on the philosophy that functional restoration is possible for a long time after an injury, utilizing structured medico-rehabilitative interventions through activity-based restorative therapies (ABRT).
She serves as a section editor for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Reports and is a recurrent invited reviewer for several peer-reviewed medical journals and government and privately funded competitive grant awards for spinal cord injury related research.
Dr. Sadowsky has organized numerous courses and seminars, and has been invited to lecture in different universities and at national and international meetings, such as the American Academy of PM&R, American Spinal Cord Injury Association, International Spinal Cord Society and many more. She has published several manuscripts in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals and chapters in prominent specialty books.
- Clinical Director, International Center for Spinal Cord Injury, Kennedy Krieger Institute
- Director, Paralysis Restoration Clinic, Kennedy Krieger Institute
- Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Centers & Institutes
Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 1997, Physical medicine and rehabilitation; Mediai Huron Hospital / Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, 1994, Internal medicine
Research & Publications
Dr. Sadowsky’s research focuses on prevention of complications in patients with paralysis and the efficacy of activity-based restoration therapies in helping individuals with long-term spinal cord injury and paralysis recover sensation, movement and independence.
Selected PublicationsView all on Pubmed
Cristina Sadowsky, John McDonald. Activity Based Restorative Therapies (ABRT); concepts and applications in spinal cord injury-related neurorehabilitation. Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews 15:112-116. 2009.
Choe AS, Belegu V, Yoshida S, Joel S, Sadowsky CL, Smith SA, van Zijl PC, Pekar JJ, McDonald JW. Extensive neurological recovery from a complete spinal cord injury: a case report and hypothesis on the role of cortical plasticity. Front Hum Neurosci. 2013 Jun 25; 7:290. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00290. eCollection 2013. PMID: 23805087
Sadowsky C, Hammond E, Stroll A, Commean P, Eby S, Damiano D, Wingert J, Bae K, McDonald J. Lower extremity functional electrical stimulation cycling promotes physical and functional recovery in chronic spinal cord injury. J Spinal Cord Med. 2013 Nov; 36(6):623-31.
Hammond E, Metcalf H, McDonald J, Sadowsky C. Bone Mass in Individuals with Chronic Spinal Cord Injury: Associations with Activity-Based Therapy, Functional and Neurologic Status, a Retrospective Study". Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014; 95:2342-9.
Mulcahey MJ, Calhoun Thielen C, Dent K, Sinko R, Sadowsky C, Martin R, Vogel LC, Davidson L, Taylor H, Bultman J, Gaighan J. Evaluation of the graded redefined assessment of strength, sensibility and prehension (GRASSP) in children with tetraplegia. Spinal Cord (2018); published online 2018-03-26. DOI: 10.1038/s41393-018-0084-0
Contact for Research Inquiries
Kennedy Krieger Institute
716 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Academic Affiliations & Courses
Courses and Syllabi
Program Director Spinal Cord Injury Medicine Fellowship
2007 - 2016
Activities & Honors
- Best Doctors in America, 2007 - 2018
- America's Top Physicians, 2009 - 2018
- Top Doctors in Baltimore, 2007
- Outstanding Performance Award from the Spinal Cord Injury Board, Washington University School of Medicine, 2000
- Best Teaching Attending of the Year, Washington University School of Medicine, 1999
- Best Resident of the Year in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Washington University School of Medicine, 1998
- Outstanding Resident Award in Medicine, Meridia Huron Hospital, 1995
- American Medical Association, 1991
- American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 1996
- American Paraplegia Society, 1999
- Association of Academic Physiatrists, 2000
- Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, 2000
- International Society for Clinical Densitometry, 2005
- Maryland State Medical Society Med Chi, 2005 - 2016
- American Spinal Cord Injury Association, 2011
- International Spinal Cord Association, 2011
- American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, 2013
- Section Editor Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Reports
- Reviewer, American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2001
- Reviewer, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2003
- Reviewer, Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 2006
- Co-chair, Pediatric Networking Group, American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, 2015
- Board member, Department of Veteran Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service (RR&D) Scientific Merit Review Board
Videos & Media
Bone Density and Rehabilitation Approaches for Paralysis
Understanding Activity-Based Rehabilitation
Recent News Articles and Media Coverage
Think Safety Before Diving In | Chicago Tribune (July 2009)
Bent Out of Shape: What About Contractures? | New Mobility (March 2015)
Two years after paralyzing accident, skydiver jumps again | Chicago Tribune (July 2016)
Aging with rare neuro-immune disorders, TMA Ask the Expert Podcast (May 1, 2018)
Patients with paralysis learn how to scuba dive at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. The Baltimore Sun (August 2017)
American doctor visits Geuko in Winschoten. RTV Westerwolde (June 2018)
Implant, intense rehab help 3 people paralyzed for years take steps. The Durango Herald (September 25, 2018)
Implant helps 3 paralyzed take steps. Clinton Herald (September 26, 2018)
Paralyzed Wisconsin man takes first steps in years with Mayo Clinic implant. Twin Cities Pioneer Press (September 25, 2018)
Family Grapples With Polio-Like Disease In Children Being Treated in Maryland. CBS Baltimore (October 2018)
Parents of children with AFM being treated in Baltimore warn about rare, scary polio-like condition. Washington Post (October 2018)
5 Possible Cases of polio-Like Illness or AFM in Maryland Children, CDC Investigating. CBS Baltimore (October 2018)