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

Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Kahn J, Wellman R, Cook AJ, Johnson E, Erro JH, Delaney KM, Deyo RA. A comparison of the effects of 2 types of massage and usual care on chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2011 Jul 5;155(1):1-9. PubMed

Strassel JK, Cherkin DC, Steuten L, Sherman KJ, Vrijhoef HJ. A systematic review of the evidence for the effectiveness of dance therapy. Altern Ther Health Med. 2011 May-Jun;17(3):50-9. PubMed

Langevin HM, Wayne PM, Macpherson H, Schnyer R, Milley RM, Napadow V, Lao L, Park J, Harris RE, Cohen M, Sherman KJ, Haramati A, Hammerschlag R. Paradoxes in acupuncture research: strategies for moving forward. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:180805. Epub 2010 Oct 11. PubMed

Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, Lewith G, Macpherson H, Victor N, Sherman KJ, Witt C, Linde K. Individual patient data meta-analysis of acupuncture for chronic pain: protocol of the Acupuncture Trialists' Collaboration. Trials. 2010 Sep 28;11:90. PubMed

Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Ichikawa L, Avins AL, Delaney K, Barlow WE, Khalsa PS, Deyo RA. Treatment expectations and preferences as predictors of outcome of acupuncture for chronic back pain. Spine. 2010 Jul 1;35(15):1471-7. Epub 2010 Jun 8. PubMed

Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Cook AJ, Hawkes RJ, Deyo RA, Wellman R, Khalsa PS. Comparison of yoga versus stretching for chronic low back pain: protocol for the Yoga Exercise Self-care (YES) trial. Trials. 2010;11(1):36. PubMed

Sherman KJ, Ludman EJ, Cook AJ, Hawkes RJ, Roy-Byrne PP, Bentley S, Brooks MZ, Cherkin DC. Effectiveness of therapeutic massage for generalized anxiety disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Depress Anxiety. 2010 May;27(5):441-50. Epub 2010 Feb 23. PubMed

Hsu C, Bluespruce J, Sherman K, Cherkin D. Unanticipated benefits of CAM therapies for back pain: an exploration of patient experiences. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(2):157-63. PubMed

Saper RB, Sherman KJ, Cullum-Dugan D, Davis RB, Phillips RS, Culpepper L. Yoga for chronic low back pain in a predominantly minority population: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009;15(6):18-27. PubMed

Sherman KJ, Hawkes RJ, Ichikawa L, Cherkin DC, Deyo RA, Avins AL, Khalsa PS. Comparing recruitment strategies in a study of acupuncture for chronic back pain. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2009;9(1):69. 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