Game-changing research partnership to ease musculoskeletal burden

An important new partnership has been formed to dramatically improve care for musculoskeletal conditions by speeding up the translation of research to clinical practice.

The Northern Sydney Local Health District has joined with the University of Sydney and Sydney Local Health District to create Sydney Musculoskeletal Health which will link researchers from across the University with clinicians, consumers, policymakers and industry.

Co-director and Kolling Institute researcher Professor David Hunter said the partnership represents a key step towards better care.

“Musculoskeletal conditions are a leading cause of disability, impacting approximately 1.7 billion people worldwide and around one-third of the Australian community. Low back pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, rheumatoid arthritis and gout are some of the most common musculoskeletal disorders, compromising work and social opportunities,” he said.

“We know that poor musculoskeletal health contributes to fall-related injuries and physical inactivity, increasing the burden of disease globally.

“This exciting new partnership is set to transform our management of these conditions by supporting world-leading, multidisciplinary research, and rapidly translating the resulting knowledge into clinical practice and education.

“Our goal is to improve health and well being by undertaking high quality research that promotes the delivery of efficient, patient-centred, evidence-based care.

“We’ll be looking to discover new ways to prevent, manage and cure these debilitating musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, and to promote healthy ageing and physical activity.”

Professor Hunter said the breadth of expertise across the partnership will be a key factor in its success, along with a commitment to investigate all the musculoskeletal conditions.

"This will ensure that all research will be translated across all relevant applications, and the partnership between the University and the two health districts means the research can be put into practice sooner.

“This is a key distinction which will see improvements in care, new treatments and a review of the efficacy of current treatments to ensure that clinical guidelines keep pace with research.”