White Paper – Advocating for Musculoskeletal Research in Australia

White Paper – Advocating for Musculoskeletal Research in Australia

Advocating for Musculoskeletal Research in Australia

Following the Musculoskeletal Research Forum last year, with researchers from both the Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS) and the University of Melbourne, we are now able to present to you a white paper entitled “Advocating for Musculoskeletal Research in Australia”. 

The forum in August 2018 brought together a critical mass of musculoskeletal researchers to discuss how to increase awareness and funding of musculoskeletal research. Those researchers have now worked collectively to put together this white paper discussing the current state of musculoskeletal disease burden in Australia as well as the present funding landscape for research in this area. The paper culminates with ten key takeaway messages:

1. Musculoskeletal conditions are the fourth-leading contributor to the burden of disease in Australia, affecting approximately 30% of the population.

2. 4 out of 5 people with musculoskeletal disease have at least one other chronic condition or co-morbidity such as CVD.

3. Musculoskeletal conditions contribute to 1 in 20 deaths, especially where there is co-morbidity such as heart disease or cancer.

4. Approximately 20% of YLD can be attributed to musculoskeletal conditions

5. The conditions also represent about 41% of early retirements.

6. Musculoskeletal conditions account for almost 10% of healthcare expenses for all disease groups.

7. Musculoskeletal conditions are not just conditions affecting adults. Most have their origins in childhood and only manifest in adulthood. Therefore, there needs to also be a continued focus on paediatric bone health.

8. There are gaps in knowledge and awareness of musculoskeletal conditions amongst medical staff, students and the public which need to be addressed.

9. Data show the total disease burden of musculoskeletal conditions is approximately 12%. Despite this, less than 4% of healthcare grant funding is directed towards research into these conditions. At UoM in 2018, only 4% of healthcare grant funding was allocated to musculoskeletal conditions.

10. The inadequate level of research funding for musculoskeletal conditions acts as a barrier to effective and optimal research at the UoM and other institutions. Our proposed solutions include lobbying for increased investment in research funding, strengthening the profile of UoM and AIMSS as major research hubs, improving collaboration, communication and networking, and gaining public support.


We invite you to read the full paper by clicking the link below: