This program of research investigates musculoskeletal diseases as a socioeconomic-related health outcome: health and disease are shaped not only by biology, but also by several demographic, economic, policy and behavioural factors – ‘the social determinants of health’. This unique program of research also investigates the meeting of the ‘social’ and the ‘biological’ in musculoskeletal disease. This element of the research program focuses on their conceptual model regarding how social and environmental stressors –beginning in utero and occurring during early life and adolescence – influence inflammatory dysregulation, and thus predispose populations to an increased risk of musculoskeletal disease.

Dr Sharon Brennan-Olsen
Program Director
Sharon Brennan-Olsen is Senior Research Fellow and Program Director of ‘Population Health-Musculoskeletal Diseases’, funded by a competitive NHMRC Career Development Fellowship. Her research interests are the social determinants of musculoskeletal diseases and related health service utilisation, and her more recent investigations into biological mechanisms, such as inflammation, that may underpin the social gradient of osteoporosis, osteosarcopenia and arthritis diseases. She manages the Osteosarcopenia Roadshow (accredited training workshop for General Practitioners), and is a member of the Women in Bone Science Committee of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Her track record includes >130 peer-reviewed publications, and has been involved in attracting research grants exceeding $2.85million.
  • Social determinants of musculoskeletal health
  • Health equity
  • Biological mechanisms underpinning social gradient of musculoskeletal disease
  • Social disadvantage across the lifecourse and later onset of musculoskeletal disease
  • Brimbank Birth Cohort
  • Community engagement
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