Paul J. Kim,
DPM, MS, FACFAS
Dr. Kim's passion has led him to receive both intramural and extramural research grants in the areas of wound care, diabetic limb salvage, and tendon pathology.
About Dr. Kim
Paul J. Kim is the Medical Director of the Wound Program at University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, Texas. He has the rank of Professor in the Departments of Plastic Surgery and Orthopedic Surgery. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Dr. Kim received his Bachelor of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Psychology and Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1995 and his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in 2002 with multiple honors. Dr. Kim completed a surgical foot and ankle residency program in 2005 from Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. He also received a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Research Management from Arizona State University in 2012. Dr. Kim has received both intramural and extramural research grants in the areas of wound care, Diabetic limb salvage, and tendon pathology. He has chaired multiple committees related to research and Evidence Based Medicine and the Diabetic limb for various national and international organizations. Dr. Kim is also a national and international speaker and has authored over 150 basic science, clinical manuscripts, and book chapters on various topics in foot and ankle medicine and surgery with a specific interest in the Diabetic Limb.
Tell Us About Yourself
I am a professor in the Department of Plastic Surgery and Department of Orthopedic Surgery, as well as the Medical Director of the Wound Program here at University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. Prior to my arrival here, I was the Vice Chair for Research in Department of Plastic Surgery at Georgetown University Hospital for about 10 years. As a podiatric surgeon, my sole focus is on surgical and conservative wound care.
I am married with 2 teenaged children and a small, grumpy rescue terrier. I grew up in Colorado on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and I hope to retire there some day.
What was your path to wound care?
A family member of mine had a non-healing wound, and at the time I was working in a laboratory performing endocrine research on animal models and was considering entering into a PhD program. I shadowed a podiatrist who focused on wounds and found that it to be area that was diverse and challenging with many unanswered questions.
What’s the most challenge part of your job?
My current role is half-time clinical and half-time administrative. I was brought in to reorganize the wound services, as they were somewhat disjointed and lacked continuity of care. For instance, the inpatient services were not connected to the outpatient services. So for the past 2 ½ years, I have been working to better coordinate and unify the wound services provided by the UT Southwestern Health System. My focus has been on improving safety, quality, and efficiency.
How are you helping to change the field of wound care?
We all have a role to play and I try to do my part as best I can. The field of wound care is so diverse and complex with a wide variety of disciplines involved. There are many questions that require robust investigation. Early on in my career, my focus was on clinical research. This gave me the opportunity to contribute through my publications to the body of knowledge in the wound space. My new role in administration has helped me impact my community by providing quality wound care service throughout our health system. All along, I have been involved in education. This includes teaching students, residents, and fellows from many different disciplines. I have also had the opportunity to lecture at conferences and hands-on labs to my peers. I think if we don’t share our knowledge then it is wasted. There is no doubt I have learned more from people that I have taught then they have learned from me.
What does being a Difference Maker mean to you?
I’m not sure I’d call myself a difference maker, but I am doing my part for my community by educating others about the mistakes I have made as well as sharing what has worked for me. We all have the potential to be difference makers by making a difference in the lives of our patients. We need to never stop learning and remain flexible in both our approach and our thinking. This is how you become a difference maker.
What advice would you give someone pursuing wound care?
In this dynamic and challenging field, there will always be a need for wound care clinicians. Remain persistent, hold on to your passion, and search out a mentor who can help guide you along the way.
Tell us a story that reminds you why you pursued your career?
When I was considering a career in the field of wound care, I had a conversation with someone who was a practicing clinician. He said there was nothing more to learn about wound care and that everything had been answered. That exchange triggered my interest because I knew it not to be the case. And that led me to pursue this career.
What’s something innovative you’ve done to advance the field of wound care?
That’s an easy question to answer: Great mentors. Over the course of my career, I have had the privilege to be surrounded by individuals who took the time and interest to mentor me. Time is the most valuable gift you can give to another person. And I have had mentors who took the time to teach me, challenge me, and support me. Without them, I would not have had the opportunities that I have been given.