Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH

Sherman_Karen_J_205x293.jpg

“My research looks for effective holistic therapies for back pain such as yoga and acupuncture. I want to help people with pain lead more active lives.”

Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Biography

Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH, is an epidemiologist and clinical trialist. Her research interests include:

  • reducing the impact of chronic pain, especially spine pain;
  • evaluating complementary and integrative health (CIH) therapies;
  • building the evidence base for contextual factors related to care;
  • understanding and taking advantage of the relationship of spirituality and health; and
  • improving geriatric care.

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.

Research interests and experience

  • Patient/Provider Interaction

    Communication; patient expectations; patient  education

 

Recent publications

Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Hogeboom CJ. The diagnosis and treatment of patients with chronic low-back pain by traditional Chinese medical acupuncturists. J Altern Complement Med. 2001;7(6):641-50. PubMed

Hogeboom C J, Sherman K J, Cherkin D C. Variation in diagnosis and treatment of chronic low back pain by traditional Chinese medicine acupuncturists. Complement Ther Med. 2001;9(3):154-66. PubMed

Sherman K J, Hogeboom C J, Cherkin D C. How traditional Chinese medicine acupuncturists would diagnose and treat chronic low back pain: results of a survey of licensed acupuncturists in Washington State. Complement Ther Med. 2001;9(3):146-53. PubMed

Kalauokalani D, Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Koepsell TD, Deyo RA. Lessons from a trial of acupuncture and massage for low back pain: patient expectations and treatment effects. Spine. 2001;26(13):1418-24. PubMed

Kalauokalani D, Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain: diagnosis and treatment patterns among acupuncturists treating the same patient. South Med J. 2001;94(5):486-92. PubMed

Cherkin DC, Eisenberg D, Sherman KJ, Barlow W, Kaptchuk TJ, Street J, Deyo RA. Randomized trial comparing traditional Chinese medical acupuncture, therapeutic massage, and self-care education for chronic low back pain. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(8):1081-8. PubMed

Birch S, Sherman K. Zhong Yi acupuncture and low-back pain: traditional Chinese medical acupuncture differential diagnoses and treatments for chronic lumbar pain. J Altern Complement Med. 1999;5(5):415-25; discussion 427-8. PubMed

Habel LA, Van Den Eeden SK, Sherman KJ, McKnight B, Stergachis A, Daling JR. Risk factors for incident and recurrent condylomata acuminata among women. Sex Transm Dis. 1998;25(6):285-92. PubMed

Van Den Eeden SK, Habel LA, Sherman KJ, McKnight B, Stergachis A, Daling JR. Risk factors for incident and recurrent condylomata acuminata among men. A population-based study. Sex Transm Dis. 1998;25(6):278-84. PubMed

Sherman KJ. Characteristics and complaints of patients seeking therapy. J Altern Complement Med. 1997;3(3):212. PubMed

 

Research

HEAL-managing-care-of-pain_1col.jpg

HEAL responds to double crisis: Opioids and COVID-19

Health care is increasingly online—KPWHRI is studying telehealth options for opioid use disorder and chronic pain.

research

CDC-Opioid-drug-Wave-Lines-Mortality_1col.jpg

Stopping the opioid epidemic: A KPWHRI priority

The latest on our research on chronic pain and opioids—and how the results influence health policy and clinical practice.

news release

NIH-OCPL-HEAL-Initiative-image_1col.jpg

NIH awards over $15 million in HEAL grants to KPWHRI

Drs. DeBar, Bradley, and Sherman lead projects in initiative to tackle opioid crisis.

opioids

opioids-doctor-patient-trust_sherman-post_1-col-20180709.jpg

Patient-doctor trust withstands opioid risk reduction

Risk-reduction initiative for chronic opioid therapy sustains patient-doctor trust, Dr. Karen Sherman finds.

KPWHRI in the Media

How effective is acupuncture for chronic back pain?

Acupuncture for lower back pain: Really?

AARP, Feb. 6, 2020