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
Reed SD, Guthrie KA, Newton KM, Anderson GL, Booth-Laforce C, Caan B, Carpenter JS, Cohen LS, Dunn AL, Ensrud KE, Freeman EW, Hunt JR, Joffe H, Larson JC, Learman LA, Rothenberg R, Seguin RA, Sherman KJ, Sternfeld BS, LaCroix AZ. Menopausal quality of life: a RCT of yoga, exercise and omega-3 supplements. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Mar;210(3):244.e1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2013.11.016. Epub 2013 Nov 8. PubMed
Hsu C, Sherman KJ, Eaves ER, Turner JA, Cherkin DC, Cromp D, Schafer L, Ritenbaugh C. New perspectives on patient expectations of treatment outcomes: results from qualitative interviews with patients seeking complementary and alternative medicine treatments for chronic low back pain. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Jul 30;14(1):276. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-276. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Eaves ER, Ritenbaugh C, Hsu C, Cherkin DC, Turner JA. Cognitive interviews guide design of a new CAM patient expectations questionnaire. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Jan 25;14(1):39. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-39. PubMed
Stein KM, Weinberg J, Sherman KJ, Lemaster C, Saper R. Participant characteristics associated with symptomatic improvement from yoga for chronic low back pain. J Yoga Phys Ther. 2014;4:151. doi: 10.4172/2157-7595.1000151.
Saper RB, Sherman KJ, Delitto A, Herman PM, Stevans J, Paris R, Keosaian JE, Cerrada CJ, Lemaster CM, Faulkner C, Breuer M, Weinberg J. Yoga vs. physical therapy vs. education for chronic low back pain in predominantly minority populations: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2014 Feb 26;15(1):67. doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-15-67. PubMed
MacPherson H, Vertosick E, Lewith G, Linde K, Sherman KJ, Witt CM, Vickers AJ; Acupuncture Trialists' Collaboration. Influence of control group on effect size in trials of acupuncture for chronic pain: a secondary analysis of an individual patient data meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 4;9(4):e93739. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093739. eCollection. PubMed
Sherman KJ. The benefits of acupuncture: what you think is what you get, or is it? Acupunct Med. 2014 Feb;32(1):2-3. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2013-010503. Epub 2013 Dec 13. PubMed
Newton KM, Reed SD, Guthrie KA, Sherman KJ, Booth-LaForce C, Caan B, Sternfeld B, Carpenter JS, Learman LA, Freeman EW, Cohen LS, Joffe H, Anderson GL, Larson JC, Ensrud KE, LaCroix AZ. Efficacy of yoga for vasomotor symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Menopause. 2014 Apr;21(4):339-46. doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e31829e4baa. PubMed
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
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