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
Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Kahn J, Erro JH, Deyo RA, Haneuse SJ, Cook AJ. Effectiveness of focused structural massage and relaxation massage for chronic low back pain: protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2009;10(1):96. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Ichikawa L, Avins AL, Barlow WE, Khalsa PS, Deyo RA. Characteristics of patients with chronic back pain who benefit from acupuncture. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2009;10(1):114. PubMed
Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Avins AL, Erro JH, Ichikawa L, Barlow WE, Delaney K, Hawkes R, Hamilton L, Pressman A, Khalsa PS, Deyo RA. A randomized trial comparing acupuncture, simulated acupuncture, and usual care for chronic low back pain. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(9):858-66. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Coeytaux RR. Acupuncture for improving chronic back pain, osteoarthritis and headache. J Clin Outcomes Manag. 2009;16:224-230.
Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Hawkes R, Miglioretti DL, Deyo RA. Randomized trial of therapeutic massage for chronic neck pain. Clin J Pain. 2009;25(3):233-8. PubMed
Greenlee H, Kwan ML, Ergas IJ, Sherman KJ, Krathwohl SE, Bonnell C, Lee MM, Kushi LH. Complementary and alternative therapy use before and after breast cancer diagnosis: the Pathways Study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009;117(3):653-65. Epub 2009 Jan 31. PubMed
Hsu C, Phillips WR, Sherman KJ, Hawkes R, Cherkin DC. Healing in primary care: a vision shared by patients, physicians, nurses, and clinical staff. Ann Fam Med. 2008;6(4):307-14. PubMed
Sherman K. Commentary on the Cochrane Review of massage for neck pain. Explore (NY). 2008;4(3):213-4. PubMed
Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Hogeboom CJ, Erro JH, Barlow WE, Deyo RA, Avins AL. Efficacy of acupuncture for chronic low back pain: protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2008;9:10. PubMed
Langevin HM, Hammerschlag R, Lao L, Napadow V, Schnyer RN, Sherman KJ. Controversies in acupuncture research: selection of controls and outcome measures in acupuncture clinical trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2006;12(10):943-53. 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