Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH
Research interests and experience
- Alternative approaches to healing: 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 illness management: chronic back pain; diabetes care; self-management
- Mental health: alternative therapies for anxiety disorders
- Women's health: alternative therapies for menopause
- Patient/provider interaction: communication; patient expectations; patient education
How can we harness the mind-body connection to enhance healing? An expert in complementary and alternative medicine, Karen Sherman investigates this question with a practical yet sophisticated approach—using rigorous epidemiological methods to test alternative therapies delivered in a manner consistent with real-world practice.
Much of Dr. Sherman's research focuses on evaluating complementary and alternative treatments for musculoskeletal conditions. In 2005, she published groundbreaking findings showing that yoga is effective treatment for chronic back pain. The largest study of yoga for back pain at that time, it was among the first hatha yoga trials published in a major medical journal. Dr. Sherman partners with Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) investigator Dan Cherkin, PhD, on many of her studies, including a randomized trial of acupuncture for back pain that made news in 2009. Also the largest U.S. study of its kind, it was designed to test both practical and theoretical questions in the treatment’s efficacy.
Dr. Sherman has collaborated with investigators at GHRI and elsewhere across a range of disciplines, including studies of alternative therapies for cancer, mood disorders, and menopause. A special interest is researching the role of non-pharmacologic complementary and alternative medicine in the modern health care system and in finding 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.
Dr. Sherman is a member of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research and the Society for Acupuncture Research, having served on the latter's board of directors from 1998 to 2007. She serves as a reviewer for dozens of medical journals and sits on the editorial board for International Journal of Yoga Therapy and Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies. Dr. Sherman is also an affiliate research associate professor at Bastyr University and an affiliate associate professor in epidemiology at the University of Washington's School of Public Health.
- International Society for Complementary Medicine Research
- Society for Acupuncture Research
- Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies
Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Balderson BH, Turner JA, Cook AJ, Stoelb B, Herman PM, Deyo RA, Hawkes RJ. Comparison of complementary and alternative medicine with conventional mind-body therapies for chronic back pain: protocol for the Mind-body Approaches to Pain (MAP) randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2014 Jun 7;15(1):211. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Greenlee H, Kwan ML, Ergas IJ, Strizich G, Roh JM, Wilson AT, Lee M, Sherman KJ, Ambrosone CB, Hershman DL, Neugut AI, Kushi LH. Changes in vitamin and mineral supplement use after breast cancer diagnosis in the pathways study: a prospective cohort study. BMC Cancer. 2014 May 29;14(1):382 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Cook A, Wellman R, Kahn J, Cherkin D. Influence of the amount and duration of therapeutic massage for chronic neck pain on 12 and 26 week outcomes of pain and function. J Altern Complement Med. 2014;20(5):A49-50. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.5129.abstract.
Eaves E, Ritenbaugh C, Hsu C, Sherman K. Changing hopes and expectations of CAM treatments for back pain: a longitudinal qualitative analysis. J Altern Complement Med. 2014;20(5):A141. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.5377.abstract.
Cerrada CJ, Weinberg J, Sherman KJ, Saper RB. Inter-method reliability of paper surveys and computer assisted telephone interviews in a randomized controlled trial of yoga for low back pain. BMC Res Notes. 2014 Apr 9;7(1):227 [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Cook AJ, Wellman RD, Hawkes RJ, Kahn JR, Deyo RA, Cherkin DC. Five-week outcomes from a dosing trial of therapeutic massage for chronic neck pain. Ann Fam Med. 2014 Mar-Apr;12(2):112-20. doi: 10.1370/afm.1602. PubMed
Sherman KJ, Innes KE. Yoga for metabolic risk factors: much ado about nothing or new form of adjunctive care? J Diabetes Complications. 2014 Mar 12. pii: S1056-8727(14)00056-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2014.03.001. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed
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
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.
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
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
To view more publications, please see Dr. Sherman's CV.