Projects we’re funding


Text For My Back

Chief investigator: A/Prof Manuela Ferreira, A/Prof Paulo Ferreira, Prof Andrew McLachlan, Prof Clara Chow, A/Prof Julie Redfern, Ornella Clavisi, Lisa Bywaters, Joanna Prior, Giovana Vesentini

Institutions: George Institute, University of Sydney, Musculoskeletal Australia

Project timeline: 2018-2019

More about the project…

Text For My Back aims to test the effects of a specialised information and support program for people with acute low back pain. In this study people with an acute episode of low back pain seeking advice and care from participating pharmacists will be randomised to receive one of two information programs designed to provide advice, motivation and information about pain management.

What guidance do people seek when considering stem cell therapy for musculoskeletal conditions

Chief investigator: Associate Professor Megan Munsie and Dr Claire Tanner

Institutions: Centre for Stem Cell Systems, University of Melbourne

Project timeline: 2018 -2019

More about the project…

Each year hundreds of Australians are contemplating undertaking, or have undertaken, purported stem cell treatments for a musculoskeletal condition or to alleviate joint pain and/or restore musculoskeletal health. Many are pursuing these unproven interventions outside clinical trials. Little is known about how they reach their decision and what information if any they draw upon.

This project aims to gain a greater understanding of the experiences, views and practices of consumers who have sought information or contemplated undergoing stem cell treatments for musculoskeletal conditions.  The study will also explore the views of consumer advocacy groups regarding the type of guidance they give to consumers who are contemplating stem cell therapy.

This project is currently recruiting participants. To find out more or to register you interest, call Gabriel on 0452 390 530 or send an email to glirios@student.unimelb.edu.au.

Got Your Back – What resources and supports do people with non-work related back pain need to help them at work

Chief investigator: A/Prof Jodi Oakman, Natasha Kinsman

Institution: La Trobe University

Project timeline: 2018-2019

More about the project…

The overall aim of this project is to develop an online tool kit to support people with musculoskeletal conditions who are struggling with work.  The aim is for the tool kit to be practical (think ‘your rights at work’, how to explain pain to your boss, fitting in with colleagues, juggling the rest of life).

This research relates to the first stage of the project which will explore the needs of people with non-work related back pain who are struggling at work as a result of their condition.  The research will involve interviewing people with non-work-related back pain to identify:

  • What resources and supports do people with non-work-related back pain need to help them with work?
  • How should resources to support people with non-work-related back pain be provided, implemented and communicated?
  • What strategies and resources are required to assist people to communicate with their employer so that they can assist them to manage at work?

This project is currently recruiting participants. To find out more or to register you interest, click here.

Download the flyer.

Prognostic tool to support decision making for total joint replacement

Chief investigator: A/Prof Michelle Dowsey, Prof Peter Choong, Prof Anthony Scott, Prof Philip Clarke, Doctor Tim Spelman, Prof David, Hunter, A/Prof Simon French, Dr Samantha Bunzil

Institution:  The University of Melbourne

Project timeline: 2018-2021

More about the project…

Deciding who is likely to benefit from total knee replacement surgery (TKR) and who is not, presents a challenge for Orthopaedic Surgeons. Currently, decisions on who is a good candidate relies on clinical judgment which can vary from surgeon to surgeon. While there is agreement that pain severity and extent of disease are key considerations for judging whether a patient is appropriate for TKR; other indicators, which have been shown to predict poor outcomes, such as obesity and mental wellbeing are not consistently used.  Consideration for these two factors have been shown to be important as patients who are deemed inappropriate candidates using these criteria, are less likely to achieve a good outcome from TKR surgery.

This study will test a decision support tool for orthopaedic surgeons to assist them in their decision making for recommending TKR surgery and identifying which patients are more likely to benefit from surgery.




Musculoskeletal Australia (or MSK) is the consumer organisation working with, and advocating on behalf of, people with arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, gout and over 150 other musculoskeletal conditions.

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