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
Langevin HM, Sherman KJ. Pathophysiological model for chronic low back pain integrating connective tissue and nervous system mechanisms. Med Hypotheses.2007;68(1):74-80. Epub 2006 Aug 21. PubMed
Ball KR, Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Erro J, Milliman B. A survey of remedies used by a random sample of naturopathic physicians in Connecticut and Washington. Int J Naturopathic Med. 2006;Summer:1-10.
Lafferty WE, Tyree PT, Bellas AS, Watts CA, Lind BK, Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Grembowski DE. Insurance coverage and subsequent utilization of complementary and alternative medicine providers. Am J Manag Care. 2006;12(7):397-404. PubMed
Herman PM, Sherman KJ, Erro JH, Cherkin DC, Milliman B, Adams LA. A method for describing and evaluating naturopathic whole practice. Altern Ther Health Med. 2006;12(4):20-8. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Dixon MW, Thompson D, Cherkin DC. Development of a taxonomy to describe massage treatments for musculoskeletal pain. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006;6(1):24. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Deyo RA, Erro J, Hrbek A, Eisenberg DM, Davis RB. The diagnosis and treatment of chronic back pain by acupuncturists, chiropractors, and massage therapists. Clin J Pain. 2006;22(3):227-34. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Erro J, Miglioretti DL, Deyo RA. Comparing yoga, exercise, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2005;143(12):849-56. PubMed
Kalauokalani D, Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ. A comparison of physician and nonphysician acupuncture treatment for chronic low back pain. Clin J Pain. 2005;21(5):406-411. PubMed
Assefi NP, Sherman KJ, Jacobsen C, Goldberg J, Smith WR, Buchwald D. A randomized clinical trial of acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture in fibromyalgia. Ann Intern Med. 2005;143(1):10-9. PubMed
Lind BK, Lafferty WE, Tyree PT, Sherman KJ, Deyo RA, Cherkin DC. The role of alternative medical providers for the outpatient treatment of insured patients with back pain. Spine 2005;30(12):1454-9. 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