Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH, is an epidemiologist and clinical trialist. Her research interests include:
She has led or participated in groundbreaking studies of various non-pharmacological therapies for chronic low back pain, including acupuncture, massage, meditation, and yoga.
Dr. Sherman has collaborated with investigators at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) and elsewhere across a range of disciplines, including clinical trials of CIH therapies for cancer, mood disorders, and menopause. Her work on building the evidence base for contextual factors related to care tries to find ways to bring greater healing into the primary care encounter. Dr. Sherman hopes her work will encourage more focus on the intricate connections between mind and body—and on helping patients seize the power of this connection to pursue better health and healing at all phases of life, including older age. Her work is rigorous, designed to answer practical questions, and intended to have impacts on the whole person.
Dr. Sherman is a senior scientific investigator at KPWHRI and an affiliate professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington (UW) School of Public Health. Her doctorate is in behavioral biology from Cornell University, and her MPH is in epidemiology from the UW. She has served as a reviewer for dozens of medical journals and granting institutions, and has sat on editorial boards for numerous CIH journals.
Utilization; role of complementary and alternative medicine in health care; acupuncture; massage; meditation; tai chi; yoga; fibromyalgia; menopause; back pain; neck pain; anxiety disorders
Chronic back pain; diabetes care; self-management
Alternative therapies for anxiety disorders
Alternative therapies for menopause
Communication; patient expectations; patient education
Suri P, Meier EN, Gold LS, Marcum ZA, Johnston SK, James KT, Bresnahan BW, O'Reilly M, Turner JA, Kallmes DF, Sherman KJ, Deyo RA, Luetmer PH, Avins AL, Griffith B, Heagerty PJ, Rundell SD, Jarvik JG, Friedly JL. Providing epidemiologic data in lumbar spine imaging reports did not affect subsequent utilization of spine procedures: secondary outcomes from a stepped-wedge randomized controlled trial. Pain Med. 2021 Feb 17:pnab065. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnab065. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Marcum ZA, Gold LS, James KT, Meier EN, Turner JA, Kallmes DF, Cherkin DC, Deyo RA, Sherman KJ, Luetmer PH, Avins AL, Griffith B, Friedly JL, Suri P, Heagerty PJ, Jarvik JG. Effects of including epidemiologic data in lumbar spine imaging reports on prescribing non-opioid medications for pain. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Feb 8. doi: 10.1007/s11606-021-06627-6. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Vickers AJ, Vertosick EA, Lewith G, MacPherson H, Foster NE, Sherman KJ, Irnich D, Witt CM, Linde K. Do the effects of acupuncture vary between acupuncturists? analysis of the acupuncture trialists' collaboration individual patient data meta-analysis. Acupunct Med. 2020 Dec 10:964528420959089. doi: 10.1177/0964528420959089. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Jarvik JG, Meier EN, James KT, Gold LS, Tan KW, Kessler LG, Suri P, Kallmes DF, Cherkin DC, Deyo RA, Sherman KJ, Halabi SS, Comstock BA, Luetmer PH, Avins AL, Rundell SD, Griffith B, Friedly JL, Lavallee DC, Stephens KA, Turner JA, Bresnahan BW, Heagerty PJ. The effect of including benchmark prevalence data of common imaging findings in spine image reports on health care utilization among adults undergoing spine imaging: a stepped-wedge randomized clinical trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Sep 1;3(9):e2015713. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.15713. PubMed
Roseen EJ, Gerloven H, Felson DT, Delitto A, Sherman KJ, Saper RB. Which chronic low back pain patients respond favorably to yoga, physical therapy, and a self-care book? responder analyses from a randomized controlled trial. Pain Med. 2020 Jul 14. pii: pnaa153. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnaa153. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Foster NE, Vertosick EA, Lewith G, Linde K, MacPherson H, Sherman KJ, Witt CM, Vickers AJ. Identifying patients with chronic pain who respond to acupuncture: results from an individual patient data meta-analysis. Acupunct Med. 2021 Apr;39(2):83-90. doi: 10.1177/0964528420920303. Epub 2020 Jun 22. PubMed
Berlowitz J, Hall DL, Joyce C, Fredman L, Sherman KJ, Saper RB, Roseen EJ. Changes in perceived stress after yoga, physical therapy, and education interventions for chronic low back pain: a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Pain Med. 2020 Jun 4:pnaa150. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnaa150. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Lee TL, Sherman KJ, Hawkes RJ, Phelan EA, Turner JA. The benefits of T'ai Chi for older adults with chronic back pain: a qualitative study. J Altern Complement Med. 2020 May 5. doi: 10.1089/acm.2019.0455. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Sherman KJ. The trials and tribulations of selecting comparison groups in randomized trials of nonpharmacological complementary and integrative health interventions. J Altern Complement Med. 2020 Mar 11. doi: 10.1089/acm.2019.0460. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Wellman RD, Hawkes RJ, Phelan EA, Lee T, Turner JA. T'ai Chi for chronic low back pain in older adults: a feasibility trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2020 Feb 3. doi: 10.1089/acm.2019.0438. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Health care is increasingly online—KPWHRI is studying telehealth options for opioid use disorder and chronic pain.
The latest on our research on chronic pain and opioids—and how the results influence health policy and clinical practice.
Drs. DeBar, Bradley, and Sherman lead projects in initiative to tackle opioid crisis.
Risk-reduction initiative for chronic opioid therapy sustains patient-doctor trust, Dr. Karen Sherman finds.
AARP, Feb. 6, 2020