Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD (Epidemiology), is emeritus senior scientific investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (formerly Group Health Research Institute) and Affiliate Professor in Family Medicine at the University of Washington where he serves as Director of Research with the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.
For over 30 years, Dr. Cherkin’s research has focused on identifying more effective strategies for responding to the needs of the many persons with chronic back pain whose pain has not responded to conventional medical treatments. He has conducted numerous randomized clinical trials evaluating conventional approaches (e.g., patient education, shared-decision-making, cognitive behavioral therapy) and complementary and alternative medical therapies such as chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, massage, and mindfulness meditation for low back pain. This research highlighted the importance of viewing back pain within a broad bio-psycho-social context in contrast to the largely biomedical view of back pain which has been prevalent for many decades. Because of the complexity of non-specific back pain, no specific treatments have been found highly effective, and it has become increasingly clear that a broader patient-centered “systems” approach will be required to better meet patients’ needs.