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
Dublin S, Walker RL, Shortreed SM, Ludman EJ, Sherman KJ, Hansen RN, Thakral M, Saunders K, Parchman ML, Von Korff M. Impact of initiatives to reduce prescription opioid risks on medically attended injuries in people using chronic opioid therapy. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2019 Jan;28(1):90-96. doi: 10.1002/pds.4678. Epub 2018 Oct 30. PubMed
Hsu C, Evers S, Balderson BH, Sherman KJ, Foster NE, Estlin K, Levine M, Cherkin D. Adaptation and implementation of the STarT back risk stratification strategy in a US health care organization: a process evaluation. Pain Med. 2018 Sep 28. pii: 5110194. doi: 10.1093/pm/pny170. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Von Korff M, Saunders K, Dublin S, Walker RL, Thakral M, Sherman KJ, Ludman EJ, Hansen RN, Parchman M, Shortreed SM. Impact of chronic opioid therapy risk reduction initiatives on opioid overdose. 2019 Jan;20(1):108-117. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2018.08.003. Epub 2018 Sep 3. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Walker RL, Saunders K, Shortreed SM, Parchman M, Hansen RN, Thakral M, Ludman EJ, Dublin S, Von Korff M. Doctor-patient trust among chronic pain patients on chronic opioid therapy after opioid risk reduction initiatives: a survey. J Am Board Fam Med. 2018;31(4):578-587. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2018.04.180021. PubMed
Cherkin D, Balderson B, Wellman R, Hsu C, Sherman KJ, Evers SC, Hawkes R, Cook A, Levine MD, Piekara D, Rock P, Estlin KT, Brewer G, Jensen M, LaPorte AM, Yeoman J, Sowden G, Hill JC, Foster NE. Effect of Low Back Pain Risk-Stratification Strategy on Patient Outcomes and Care Processes: the MATCH Randomized Trial in Primary Care. LID - 10.1007/s11606-018-4468-9 [doi] J Gen Intern Med. 2018 May 22. pii: 10.1007/s11606-018-4468-9. doi: 10.1007/s11606-018-4468-9 [Epub ahead of print] PubMed
Tan WK, Hassanpour S, Heagerty PJ, Rundell SD, Suri P, Huhdanpaa HT, James K, Carrell DS, Langlotz CP, Organ NL, Meier EN, Sherman KJ, Kallmes DF, Luetmer PH, Griffith B, Nerenz DR, Jarvik JG. Comparison of natural language processing rules-based and machine-learning systems to identify lumbar spine imaging findings related to low back pain. Acad Radiol. 2018 Mar 28. pii: S1076-6332(18)30121-1. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2018.03.008. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Thakral M, Walker RL, Saunders K, Shortreed SM, Dublin S, Parchman M, Hansen RN, Ludman E, Sherman KJ, Von Korff M. Impact of opioid dose reduction and risk mitigation initiatives on chronic opioid therapy patients at higher risk for opioid-related adverse outcomes. Pain Med. 2017 Dec 6. pii: 4689184. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx293.[Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Thakral M, Walker RL, Saunders K, Shortreed SM, Dublin S, Parchman M, Hansen RN, Ludman E, Sherman KJ, Von Korff M. Impact of opioid dose reduction initiatives on chronic opioid therapy patients at higher risk for opioid-related adverse outcomes. Pain Med. 2017 Dec 6. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx293. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Vickers AJ, Vertosick EA, Lewith G, MacPherson H, Foster NE, Sherman KJ, Irnich D, Witt CM, Linde K. Acupuncture for chronic pain: update of an individual patient data meta-analysis. J Pain. 2018 May;19(5):455-474. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.11.005. Epub 2017 Dec 2. PubMed
Thakral M, Walker RL, Saunders K, Shortreed SM, Parchman M, Hansen RN, Ludman E, Sherman KJ, Dublin S, Von Korff M. Comparing pain and depressive symptoms of chronic opioid therapy patients receiving dose reduction and risk mitigation initiatives to usual care. J Pain. 2018 Jan;19(1):111-120. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.09.006. Epub 2017 Oct 13. 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