Meet Dr. Christine JohnsonNeurorehabilitation and Wound Care Specialist
Christine Johnson, M.D., wears several professional hats as a physician. In her role as an Associate Professor in UT Southwestern’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), she develops programs to increase endurance and mobility for patients and trains future doctors in the art. Dr. Johnson works with a variety of patients, including those who have suffered a stroke, concussion, or any traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Another of her roles is serving as a member of the UT Southwestern Wound Care & Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy team, where she often sees patients with chronic wounds that result from diabetes, trauma, and many other medical conditions.
The common denominator of her duties, she says, is helping people recover.
“I meet patients every day who are dealing with health difficulties of varying degrees. Sometimes they’ve come upon their injuries quite suddenly, while others are experiencing long-term health conditions,” she says.
“We have people all the time who were functioning and doing well in life and then who suddenly were not – and that can be for all kinds of reasons, from chronic wounds to burns to traumatic brain injuries. Helping them resume their lives is what’s rewarding to me,” says Dr. Johnson.
One aspect of her work is defining comprehensive strategies to help her patients recover. This can include coordinating care with therapists – whether it’s a speech therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, or psychiatric counselor – as well as determining the appropriate medications to help stimulate the recovery of the patient’s skills.
She is a key member of UT Southwestern’s multidisciplinary wound care team, whose expertise includes salvaging limbs, even when patients have been told elsewhere that saving them isn’t possible. Depending on the patient’s needs, care can include leading-edge nonsurgical treatments along with highly advanced rehabilitation and patient education to restore function and support long-term success in the care of venous wounds, arterial wounds, non-healing surgical wounds, all variety of diabetic and pressure ulcers, extremity wounds, and wounds from traumatic injuries.
Dr. Johnson notes that any injury can be life affecting.
“It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as facing the loss of a limb; it can be that because of their injury they’ve lost their job or their ability to speak or think and concentrate, and they can’t go back to their job as a principal or lawyer or bus driver or physician. We figure out which treatments and medicines work best to help them concentrate better and organize their lives, and when they’re successful at doing that, it’s exciting.”
She also works with burn and brain injury victims at Parkland Memorial Hospital and serves as Medical Director for a community-based post-acute brain injury program in Irving, Texas.
In addition, Dr. Johnson participates in brain injury research designed to improve cognitive functioning of TBI patients.