Cristina L.

Cristina Sadowsky
Clinical Director, International Center for Spinal Cord Injury (ICSCI)
Kennedy Krieger Institute

707 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

Centers & Programs


Dr. Sadowsky is the clinical director of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute. She is also an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


Born in Romania, Dr. Sadowsky attended the Institute of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest from 1983 to 1989. She completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Meridia Huron Hospital/Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH in 1994. She served as chief resident from July 1994 to June 1995. From there, she began a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. She was named chief resident of that program in April 1997. Immediately following the completion of her second residency, she began a fellowship in spinal cord injury medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University School of Medicine.

At the same time, she became a clinical instructor in the school's Department of Neurology and later assumed an assistant professorship in neurology in the Division of Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord Injury Unit. In October 2004, she moved to Baltimore, joining the Kennedy Krieger Institute as director of the paralysis restoration clinic in the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury. In March 2005, she became an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

She frequently serves as an invited clinical scientific peer reviewer for the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, Translational Research. She also serves as a section editor for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Reports.

Professional honors include receiving the Outstanding Resident Award in Medicine from Meridia Huron Hospital in 1995, being named Best Resident of the Year in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Washington University School of Medicine in 1998 and Best Teaching Attending of the Year in 1999, receiving the 2000 Outstanding Performance Award from the Spinal Cord Injury Board and being named one of Top Doctors in Baltimore in 2007, Best Doctors in America 2007 - present, and consistently named one of America's Top Physicians since 2008.


Dr. Sadowsky’s research interests center on the 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. 

Research Study

  • Children and Adults with Spinal Cord Injury

Related Links

Elsevier Fingerprint Engine Profile for Cristina Sadowsky

Research Publications

Selvarajah S, Haider AH, Schneider EB, Sadowsky CL, Becker D, Hammond ER (2015). Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury Emergency Service Triage Patterns and the Associated Emergency Department Outcomes. J Neurotrauma. 32(24), 2008-16. 

Ballard ED, Kalb LG, Vasa RA, Goldstein M, Wilcox HC (2015). Self-harm, Assault, and Undetermined Intent Injuries Among Pediatric Emergency Department Visits. Pediatr Emerg Care. 31(12), 813-8. 

Wang KY, Idowu O, Thompson CB, Orman G, Myers C, Riley LH 3rd, Carrino JA, Flammang A, Gilson W, Sadowsky CL, Izbudak I (2015). Tract-Specific Diffusion Tensor Imaging in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Before and After Decompressive Spinal Surgery: Preliminary Results. Clin Neuroradiol. , . 

Hammond ER, Recio ACSadowsky CL, Becker D (2015). Functional electrical stimulation as a component of activity-based restorative therapy may preserve function in persons with multiple sclerosis. J Spinal Cord Med. 38(1), 68-75. 

Hammond ER, Metcalf HM, McDonald JW, Sadowsky CL (2014). Bone mass in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury: associations with activity-based therapy, neurologic and functional status, a retrospective study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 95(12), 2342-9. 

Selvarajah S, Schneider EB, Becker D, Sadowsky CL, Haider AH, Hammond ER (2014). The epidemiology of childhood and adolescent traumatic spinal cord injury in the United States: 2007-2010. J Neurotrauma. 31(18), 1548-60. 

Sadowsky CL, Hammond ER, Strohl AB, Commean PK, Eby SA, Damiano DL, Wingert JR, Bae KT, McDonald JW 3rd (2013). Lower extremity functional electrical stimulation cycling promotes physical and functional recovery in chronic spinal cord injury. J Spinal Cord Med. 36(6), 623-31. 

Choe AS, Belegu V, Yoshida S, Joel S, Sadowsky CLSmith SAvan Zijl PCPekar JJ, McDonald JW (2013). Extensive neurological recovery from a complete spinal cord injury: a case report and hypothesis on the role of cortical plasticity. Front Hum Neurosci. 7, 290. 

McDonald JW 3rd, Sadowsky CL, Stampas A (2012). The changing field of rehabilitation: optimizing spontaneous regeneration and functional recovery. Handb Clin Neurol. 109, 317-36. 

Sadowsky CL, McDonald JW (2009). Activity-based restorative therapies: concepts and applications in spinal cord injury-related neurorehabilitation. Dev Disabil Res Rev. 15(2), 112-6. 

Other Publications

Review Articles

  1. Sadowsky CL, Margherita A. The cost of spinal cord injury care, State of the Art Reviews in Spine (STARS) 1999; 13(3): 593-606.
  2. Sadowsky CL. Electrical stimulation in spinal cord injury; NeuroRehabilitation  2001; 16(3): 164-169.
  3. McDonald JW, Sadowsky C. Spinal cord injury Seminar, Lancet. 2002; 359: 417-425.
  4. Sadowsky C, Volshteyn O, Schultz L, McDonald JW; Spinal Cord Injury; Disability and Rehabilitation. 2002; 24(13):680-687.
  5. Becker D, Sadowsky C, McDonald JW. Restoring function after spinal cord injury. The Neurologist. Jan 9(1):1-15. 2003.
  6. Sadowsky C, McDonald J. Activity Based Restorative Therapies (ABRT); concepts and applications in spinal cord injury-related neurorehabilitation. Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews 2009; (15):112-116.
  7. Sadowsky C, Becker D, Bosques G, Dean J, McDonald J, Recio A, Frohman E. Rehabilitation in Transverse Myelitis. Continuum Lifelong Learning in Neurology 2011; 17(4)816-830.
  8. Martin R, Sadowsky C, Obst K, Meyer B, McDonald J. Functional Electrical Stimulation in SCI: From Theory to Practice. Top Spinal Cord Inj Rehabil. 2012 Winter;18(1):28-33.
  9. Dolbow DR, Gorgey AS, Recio AC, Stiens SA, Curry AC, Sadowsky CL, Gater DR, Martin R, McDonald JW. Activity-Based Therapies after Spinal Cord Injury: Inter-institutional conceptions and perceptions. Aging and Disease. 2015 August. Volume 6, Number 4; 254-261.​ 
  10. Bosques G, Martin R, McGee L, Sadowsky C. Does therapeutic electrical stimulation improve function in children with disabilities? A comprehensive literature review. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine: An Interdisciplinary Approach 9 (2016);83–99

Case Reports

  1. Rotondo K, Greenemeier S, Martin R, Sadowsky C. Aquatic locomotor training improves over-ground gait in patient with tetraplegia. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. 2013:  36(5): 557-558.
  2. Olegario-Nebel M, Sadowsky C. “Safety and Effectiveness of Functional Electrical Stimulation-Driven Stepping in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury”, presented at the AAPM&R Annual Conference, Saturday, November 17, 2012.

Book Chapters, Monographs

  1. Trovato M, Pidcock F, Sadowsky C, Brandys E, Suskauer S, Salorio C, Christensen J. Rehabilitation of Children with Critical Illness. Spinal Cord Injury. Rogers Textbook of Pediatric Intensive Care. 4th Edition. 2006; 166-179.
  2. Sadowsky C, Aquired Spinal Cord Dysfunction. Pasquale J (ed). Capute & Accardo's Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Infancy and Childhood,  Neurodevelopmental Diagnosis and Treatment;  2007. Third Edition. Volume I:639-650.
  3. Sadowsky C. Into the Wilderness; trauma, hospitalization, and acute care. Palmer S, Kriegsman K, Palmer J (ed). Spinal Cord Injury; A Guide for Living. 2nd Edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 2008; 5-36.
  4. McDonald J, Sadowsky C. The Next Frontier: Spinal Cord Injury Research. Palmer S, Kriegsman K, Palmer J (eds). Spinal Cord Injury; A Guide for Living. 2nd Edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 2008; 237-282.
  5. McDonald  J,  Sadowsky C. Spasticity and spinal cord disorders. Johnston and Gross (eds). Contemporary Neurology Series. Principles of Drug Therapy in Neurology. 2nd Edition. 2008; 273-290.
  6. McDonald J, Sadowsky C, Stampas A. The changing field of rehabilitation: Optimizing spontaneous regeneration and functional recovery. Handb Clin Neurol. 2012; 109:317-36.

Other Publications
Proceedings Reports

  1. Sadowsky C, Whiting H, Pai J, Recio A, Becker D, Houdayer T, Al-Adawi S. Prevalence and Risk Factors for Osteoporosis in Individuals with Paralysis. Journal of Clinical Densitometry 2009; 12(3):388-389.
  2. Sadowsky C. Activity-Based restorative Therapy in Pediatric Transverse Myelitis: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation. 2013; 19(2): 176-177.
  3. Sadowsky C, Martin R, McDonald J. Effect of Activity-Based Restorative Therapies on Multiple Neurological, Day to Day and Quality of Life Outcomes in a Large Cohort of Individuals with Chronic Paralysis Related to Spinal Cord Disease. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation. 2013; 19(5): 53-54.

Media Releases or Interviews

  1. “Record-Breaking 2008 Walk-a-thon Benefits Reeve Foundation”, Foxcroft School, 2008.
  2. “Think Safety Before Diving In” Chicago Tribune, July 2, 2009
  3. “Hope”  1 Comment/in Education & Awareness Events, In Their own Words, by The TMA. June 7, 2014.
  4. “Bent Out of Shape: What About Contractures?” By Allen Rucker, New Mobility, March 1st, 2015​
  5. “Man Uses His Brain to Pick Up Items With a Bionic Hand: The 56-year-old man, whose right hand was amputated, used a high-tech prosthetic hand attached to his stump to grasp a water bottle and a credit card”,  Rose Ellen O’Connor,  Not Impossible Now, April 22, 2015.
  6. “The Way Forward: The judge helped a quadriplegic man become a lawyer. Could he help her recover from a catastrophic fall?” Expose on patient Josh Basile. July 7, 2015.
  7. “Two years after paralyzing accident, skydiver jumps again”. By Matthew McCall, Chicago Tribune, July 12th, 2016.

Other Media (Videos, Websites, Blogs, Social Media, etc.)

  1. “Bone Density and Rehabilitation Approaches for Paralysis”. Presented at the 2006 Rare Neuroimmunologic Disorders Symposium Sponsored by The Transverse Myelitis Association & Johns Hopkins Project RESTORE Uploaded on May 11, 2011 and presented in July, 2006 in Baltimore, MD
  2. “Understanding Activity-Based Rehabilitation”. Published on Dec 17, 2013 and presented at the Rare Neuroimmunologic Disorders Symposium: Repair and Recovery, Today and in the Future, at Southwestern University, Dallas, TX.
  3. “Prevalence of Bone Modifying Drugs in Cohort of Chronic Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)”. Published on Nov 11, 2015 and presented at the 2016 AAP Annual Meeting, February 2016, Sacramento, CA.​