Research is broadly in the area of behavioral medicine with specific interests in fields of pain and pain management. He is one of three directors of the Yale-based NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory Coordinating Center that supports and learns from eleven pragmatic clinical trials of non-pharmacological approaches to pain management in military and Veteran health systems. Dr. Kerns was founding director of the Pain Research, Informatics, Multimorbidities, and Education (PRIME) Center funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and based at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System that emphasizes the conduct of pain-relevant health services research that can inform policy, practice, and educational initiatives. The development of quality indicators for pain management is an overarching focus of research in this area. Several funded research projects are designed to evaluate the efficacy of self-management interventions for persistent pain including novel interventions that employ telehealth and other technologies to promote access and sustainability. Research informed by a motivational model of pain self-management explores moderators and mediators patient participation and outcomes and processes of change during these interventions.
Additional focuses include research related to the interface between pain and overweight/obesity, patient preferences for pain treatment, racial/ethnic and gender differences in the experience of pain and disparities in pain treatment, pain and prescription substance abuse, and medical and psychiatric comorbidities of pain.
Ethics; Health Services Accessibility; Health Services Research; Professional-Patient Relations; Quality of Health Care; Healthcare Disparities; Psychiatry and Psychology