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
Joyce CT, Chernofsky A, Lodi S, Sherman KJ, Saper RB, Roseen EJ. Do physical therapy and yoga improve pain and disability through psychological mechanisms? A causal mediation analysis of adults with chronic low back pain. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2022 May 18:1-31. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2022.10813. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Selfe TK, Montgomery C, Klatt M, Wen S, Sherman KJ, Innes KE. An exploratory randomized controlled trial of a 12-week yoga versus educational film program for the management of restless legs syndrome: feasibility and acceptability. J Integr Complement Med. 2022;28(4):309-319. doi: 10.1089/jicm.2021.0182. Epub 2022 Jan 18. PubMed
Zhang YQ, Jiao RM, Witt CM, Lao L, Liu JP, Thabane L, Sherman KJ, Cummings M, Richards DP, Kim EA, Kim TH, Lee MS, Wechsler ME, Brinkhaus B, Mao JJ, Smith CA, Gang WJ, Liu BY, Liu ZS, Liu Y, Zheng H, Wu JN, Carrasco-Labra A, Bhandari M, Devereaux PJ, Jing XH, Guyatt G. How to design high quality acupuncture trials-a consensus informed by evidence. BMJ. 2022 Mar 30;376:e067476. doi: 10.1136/bmj-2021-067476. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Wellman RD, Jones SMW, Lewis CC. Interest in mindfulness training for chronic low-back pain: results from a vignette-driven, web-based survey of patients. J Integr Complement Med. 2022 Mar 23. doi: 10.1089/jicm.2021.0427. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Marshall A, Joyce CT, Tseng B, Gerlovin H, Yeh GY, Sherman KJ, Saper RB, Roseen EJ. Changes in pain self-efficacy, coping skills and fear avoidance beliefs in a randomized controlled trial of yoga, physical therapy, and education for chronic low back pain. 2022 Apr 8;23(4):834-843. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnab318. PubMed
Gold LS, Marcum ZA, Meier EN, Turner JA, James KT, Kallmes DF, Leutmer PH, Griffith B, Sherman KJ, Friedly JL, Suri P, Deyo RA, Johnson SK, Avins AL, Heagerty PJ, Jarvik JG. Patient, provider, and clinic characteristics associated with opioid and non-opioid pain medication prescriptions for patients receiving low back imaging in primary care. J Am Board Fam Med. 2021 Sep-Oct;34(5):950-963. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2021.05.210033. PubMed
Marcum ZA, Gold LS, James KT, Meier EN, Turner JA, Kallmes DF, Cherkin DC, Deyo RA, Sherman KJ, Luetmer PH, Avins AL, Griffith B, Friedly JL, Suri P, Heagerty PJ, Jarvik JG. Effects of including epidemiologic data in lumbar spine imaging reports on prescribing non-opioid medications for pain. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Aug;36(8):2237-2243. doi: 10.1007/s11606-021-06627-6. Epub 2021 Feb 8. PubMed
Colgan D, Green K, Eddy A, Brems C, Sherman KJ, Cramer H, Oken B, Christopher M. Translation, cross-cultural adaptation, and psychometric validation of the English version of the postural awareness scale. Pain Med. 2021 Nov 26;22(11):2686-2699. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnab200. PubMed
Bresnahan BW, Jarvik JG, Meier EN, James KT, Gold LS, Rundell SD, Turner JA, Suri P, Luetmer PH, Friedly JL, Sherman KJ, Heagerty PJ, Kallmes DF, Avins AL, Griffith BD, Kessler LG. Expected organizational costs for inserting prevalence information into lumbar spine imaging reports. J Am Coll Radiol. 2021 Jun 30:S1546-1440(21)00480-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2021.06.010. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Suri P, Meier EN, Gold LS, Marcum ZA, Johnston SK, James KT, Bresnahan BW, O'Reilly M, Turner JA, Kallmes DF, Sherman KJ, Deyo RA, Luetmer PH, Avins AL, Griffith B, Heagerty PJ, Rundell SD, Jarvik JG, Friedly JL. Providing epidemiological data in lumbar spine imaging reports did not affect subsequent utilization of spine procedures: secondary outcomes from a stepped-wedge randomized controlled trial. Pain Med. 2021 Jun 4;22(6):1272-1280. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnab065. 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.