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
Sternfeld B, LaCroix A, Caan BJ, Dunn AL, Newton KM, Reed SD, Guthrie KA, Booth-Laforce C, Sherman KJ, Cohen L, Freeman MP, Carpenter JS, Hunt JR, Roberts M, Ensrud KE. Design and methods of a multi-site, multi-behavioral treatment trial for menopausal symptoms: The MsFLASH experience. Contemp Clin Trials. 2013 May;35(1):25-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2013.02.009. Epub 2013 Feb 24. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Wellman RD, Cook AJ, Cherkin DC, Ceballos RM. Mediators of yoga and stretching for chronic low back pain. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:130818. doi: 10.1155/2013/130818. Epub 2013 Apr 17. PubMed
Vickers AJ, Maschino AC, Lewith G, Macpherson H, Sherman KJ, Witt CM. Responses to the Acupuncture Trialists' Collaboration individual patient data meta-analysis. Acupunct Med. 2013;31(1):98-100. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2013-010312. PubMed
Lind BK, Gerkovich MM, Cherkin DC, Deyo RA, Sherman KJ, Lafferty WE. Effect of risk adjustment method on comparisons of health care utilization between complementary and alternative medicine users and nonusers. J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Mar;19(3):250-6. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0707. Epub 2012 Oct 4. PubMed
Sherman KJ. Complementary therapies for chronic pain: the case for acupuncture. Pain Manag. Jan 2013;3(1):5-8. doi: 10.2217/pmt.12.73.
Saper RB, Boah AR, Keosaian J, Cerrada C, Weinberg J, Sherman KJ. Comparing once- versus twice-weekly yoga classes for chronic low back pain in predominantly low income minorities: a randomized dosing trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:658030. doi: 10.1155/2013/658030. PubMed
Schafer LM, Hsu C, Eaves ER, Ritenbaugh C, Turner J, Cherkin DC, Sims C, Sherman KJ. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) providers' views of chronic low back pain patients' expectations of CAM therapies: a qualitative study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Nov 27;12(1):234. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-234. PubMed
Oberg EB, Bradley RD, Hsu C, Sherman KJ, Catz S, Calabrese C, Cherkin D. Patient-reported experiences with first-time naturopathic care for type 2 diabetes. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48549. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048549. Epub 2012 Nov 7. PubMed
Martin BI, Gerkovich MM, Deyo RA, Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Lind BK, Goertz CM, Lafferty WE. The association of complementary and alternative medicine use and health care expenditures for back and neck problems. Med Care. 2012 Dec;50(12):1029-36. PubMed
Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino, AC, Lewith G, Macpherson H, Victor N, Sherman KJ, Witt CM, Linde K on behalf of the Acupuncture Trialist Collaboration. Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Oct 22;172(19):1444-53. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654. Review. Epub 2012 Sep 10. 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