Carrie L. Kovarik, MD


  •  Professor of Dermatology | University of Pennsylvania
  •  Botswana | Guatemala | Malawi | Tanzania, United Republic of | Peru | Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
  •   Healthcare Access | HIV/AIDS | Informatics | Telemedicine

Languages: English (native), Spanish (basic)

Bio statement

Dr. Kovarik has a special interest in 1) global and community health, 2) infectious disease-related skin conditions, and 3) improving access to health care through innovation and technology, including telemedicine and augmented intelligence. She created the Penn Dermatology Global Health program, through which she works to provide clinical care and education in underserved communities. She has implemented numerous innovative programs with the goal of improving access to care and patient outcomes, using mobile phones, electronic medical records, open-source technology, and accessory medical devices.

Recent global health projects

1. In Botswana, as in much of the developing world, a shortage of dermatologists necessitates training general practitioners to analyze and describe skin lesions. This skill allows for improved utilization of clinical decision support tools and more accurate referrals to remote specialists. Perceptual and Adaptive Learning Modules (PALMs) are online image-based educational tools designed to enhance pattern recognition through systematic exposure to a large number of relevant examples. The PALMs adaptively sequence images based on the learner’s performance, tracking both classification accuracy and response time. We developed and tested the effectiveness of PALMs as a relevant educational tool for training University of Botswana (UB) medical students to characterize and diagnose the most common skin conditions affecting their community.

2. Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is among the three most common childhood malignancies in regions of Africa where human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8)/KS-associated herpesvirus are endemic. In contrast to adult disease, pediatric KS staging classifications, risk-stratification systems, and treatment paradigms remain poorly defined. Prior studies suggest that the clinical features associated with survival in childhood KS are distinct from those in adults. Based on evidence, we propose a pediatric-specific KS staging classification to potentially serve as a working risk-stratification platform for children with KS in sub-Saharan Africa.

Selected publications

Slaught C, Madu P, Chang AY, Williams VL, Kebaetse MB, Nkomazana O, Molefe-Baikai OJ, Bekele NA, Omech B, Kellman PJ, Krasne S, Kovarik CL. Novel Education Modules Addressing the Underrepresentation of Skin of Color in Dermatology Training. J Cutan Med Surg. 2021 Aug 2.

Silverstein A, Kamiyango W, Villiera J, Peckham-Gregory EC, McAtee CL, Scheurer ME, Cox CM, Kovarik CL, Campbell LR, Allen CE, Mehta PS, Kazembe PN, Ozuah NW, El-Mallawany NK. Long-term outcomes for children and adolescents with Kaposi sarcoma. HIV Med. 2021 Oct 11.

McMahon DE, Oyesiku L, Amerson E, Beltraminelli H, Chang AY, Forrestel A, Hay R, Knapp A, Kovarik C, Maurer T, Norton SA, Rehmus W, Van Hees C, Wanat KA, Williams VL, Fuller LC, Freeman EE. Identifying Gaps in Global Health Dermatology: A Survey of GLODERM Members. Br J Dermatol. 2021 Mar 3

Ha YP, Tesfalul MA, Littman-Quinn R, Antwi C, Green RS, Mapila TO, Bellamy SL, Ncube RT, Mugisha K, Ho-Foster AR, Luberti AA, Holmes JH, Steenhoff AP, Kovarik CL (2016). Evaluation of a Mobile Health Approach to Tuberculosis Contact Tracing in Botswana. J Health Commun. 2016 Oct;21(10):1115-21. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2016.1222035. 

El-Mallawany NK, Kamiyango W, Slone JS, Villiera J, Kovarik CL, Cox CM, Dittmer DP, Ahmed S, Schutze GE, Scheurer ME, Kazembe PN, Mehta PS (2016). Clinical Factors Associated with Long-Term Complete Remission versus Poor Response to Chemotherapy in HIV-Infected Children and Adolescents with Kaposi Sarcoma Receiving Bleomycin and Vincristine: A Retrospective Observational Study. PLoS One. 2016 Apr 15;11(4). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153335.

Last Updated: 08 March 2023