IMH News

26th October, 2020

Back pain affects millions of Australians every year, and many people will have repeated episodes of back pain throughout their life. Exercise is the only treatment known to prevent a new episode of back pain but only if the exercise program is long term.

It is currently unknown if people with a history of low back pain would be willing to under-take exercise programs to prevent a new episode, and what type of programs they prefer. IMH researchers investigated preferences for exercise programs to prevent back pain among Australians with a history of back pain

We found that people with back pain are open to participating in exercise programs to reduce their risk of recurrence, however they tend to prefer short programs, programs that are unlikely to be of sufficient intensity to work. Those who were not willing to engage with exercise programs to prevent low back pain were more likely to be middle-aged men and with low levels of self-efficacy to exercise.

Read more here.

8th October, 2020

The IMH’s Professor Cathie Sherrington (pictured left) has led a team of researchers to secure major funding to start a NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence to help understand and reduce falls and fall-related injuries in Australia.

Older Australians are suffering increasing injuries due to falls. Currently falls lead to 1.2 million days of hospital care and cost at least $1 billion each year.

This will be the first time that a research centre will combine expertise of researchers, clinicians, policy-makers, consumers and carers to tackle the big unanswered questions in fall injury prevention. These questions include how to prevent falls in acute hospitals and residential facilities and how to integrate fall prevention in existing health services.

24th August, 2020

The IMH’s Dr Leanne Hassett has led a multi-disciplinary team to first place in the 2020 Lifespan Research Collaboration Awards. This award recognises outstanding multidisciplinary, cross-faculty and/ or international collaboration in lifespan research. This year’s nominations were in the form of video submissions. In the nomination included here, Leanne tells us about the winning BEHAVIOUR trial, which investigates the impact of brief physical activity counselling by physiotherapists to increase individuals’ physical activity, especially that of individuals with a disability.

13th August, 2020

The safe exercise at home website, developed by Australian physiotherapists including the IMH’s Professor Cathie Sherrington and Rik Dawson, has released education for older Australians about how to stay safe on their feet while wearing a mask. The education was released in response to the advice for Australians in some situations to wear a face mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To access this information sheet and learn more about how to stay active at home, visit

31st July, 2020

The Sydney Musculoskeletal Bone and Joint Health Alliance (SydMSK) held their Annual Scientific Meeting on the 30th and 31st of July. This was SydMSK’s fourth annual meeting but their first virtual conference. The successful two days were facilitated by the University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine and Health and co-sponsored by Sydney Health Partners. The SydMSK Executive, Steering and Sub committees did a wonderful job in organising the conference.

IMH researchers delivered fantastic presentations throughout the conference. Professor Cathie Sherrington gave an inspiring keynote presentation about exercise for fall prevention and Professor Jane Latimer was an ‘expert in the virtual room’ for an engaging hour of Q&A. Additionally 13 IMH Fellows and HDR candidates contributed engaging oral presentations across the two days.

30th June, 2020

The IMH recently had very successful results in the NHMRC’s highly competitive Investigator Grant Scheme. These grants are awarded to the highest-performing researchers. They provide three years of salary and research support to enable investigators flexibility in their research directions.

Professor Chris Maher, Professor Chris Lin, Professor Steve Kamper and Dr Josh Zadro were all successful in securing grants. Combined these grants totalled over $5.7 million. Each recipient acknowledged the team effort behind their success and thanked the IMH for its support.

The IMH wishes to extend their congratulations to all applicants and recipients of this round of Investigator Grants.

18th June, 2020

The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health are pleased to share the inaugural #IMHChats with Prof Jane Latimer, interviewed by our brilliant Higher Degree Research Candidate Siobhan Wong. In this virtual interview, Jane shares some of her professional and personal stories and gives great tips for academics in various stages of their career.

The World Confederation for Physical Therapy 2019 Congress was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 10-13 May, 2019. The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health’s Associate Professor Anne Moseley was awarded the extremely prestigious Mildred Elson Award at the Congress. This high honour is only awarded every four years and acknowledges outstanding leadership contributing to the development of physical therapy internationally.

Assoc. Prof. Moseley is a Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health and the co-founder of the Physiotherapy Research Database (PEDro). PEDro is the preeminent global resource used by clinicians, educators, researchers, students and policy-makers to access high-quality clinical research about the effects of physiotherapy interventions. Anne leads the PEDro partnership and conducts important, high-quality research on evidence-based practice at the Institute.

To view a great interview with Anne Moseley about PEDro and her award please follow this link:

Institute for Musculoskeletal Health staff have signed the important Panel Pledge. The Panel Pledge aims to address the absence of women at public professional forums which limits the quality of the conversation and creates an absence of female role models. By signing the pledge, IMH staff commit to only accepting speaking invitations when the conference or panel is gender diverse, or when this is not possible, offering to assist in finding suitable female speakers for conference organisers. The Panel Pledge is an example of the broader commitment to gender diversity and equity that the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health upholds.

The Women in STEM Decadal Plan was launched on April 1, 2019 at Parliament House by the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews. The plan was developed by the Australian Academy of Science in partnership with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health’s Deputy Director Professor Jane Latimer was a member of the Expert Working Group involved in creating this plan.

The Decadal plan outlines six opportunities to strengthen gender equity in STEM in Australia over the next 10 years, including establishing a national evaluation framework to guide decision making and drive investment and effort into STEM measures that work. Prof Latimer said “this plan is extremely important as it is the first time the entire sector has come together to agree on a framework for achieving gender equity in STEM. It acknowledges how important it is to get the culture right, to create workplaces that are respectful and free of discrimination, where diversity and inclusion are lived in the daily interactions. This will ensure that women remain in the STEM workforce, and that both men and women are supported to deliver their best.”

To read more about the STEM Decadal Plan or to download a copy please follow this link:

The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health’s Deputy Director Dr Bethan Richards has been appointed Australia’s first Chief Medical Wellness Officer. The Sydney Local Health District has appointed Dr Richards to the position to drive cultural and systemic change in health, and reduce stress and burnout among junior and senior doctors.

Dr Richards has been leading Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital’s pilot wellbeing program for basic physician trainees (BPTOK) since 2017.That program was recently awarded $210,000 in funding from NSW Health as part of the JMO Be Well program and will now be rolled out to all doctors across RPA, Concord, Canterbury and Balmain hospitals.

The new program, branded MDOK, will teach all medical staff the skills to care for their own health, manage traumatic events and mentor younger staff, in addition to attending workshops and sessions on goal-setting, relaxation, stress management, clinical debriefing, nutrition and exercise. Dr Richards said “The widespread rollout of MDOK will allow us to support our frontline staff while strengthening our existing platform to effect real change.” The launch of MDOK was held at RPA Hospital on February 26, 2019.

The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health’s A/Prof. Anne Tiedemann was a guest presenter at the Sydney Science Forum: “How to age well”. The forum was hosted by Adam Spencer and explored what you can do for your mind and body to set you up for success, and the everyday habits that will make a real difference to how you age.

The official launch of the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health took place on February 8, 2019 at the Kerry Packer Education Centre at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. The launch was hosted by Dr Teresa Anderson AM, Chief Executive of the Sydney Local Health District, and Professor Laurent Rivory, Pro-Vice- Chancellor University of Sydney. Dr Bethan Richards was the MC for the evening and Professor Rachelle Buchbinder, Chair of the Australia and New Zealand Musculoskeletal Clinical Trial Network, delivered the inaugural Musculoskeletal Health Oration. Addresses were also delivered by The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health’s Director Professor Chris Maher and The University of Sydney’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison.

Image L-R: Prof Chris Maher, Prof Cathie Sherrington, Prof Laurent Rivory, Dr Teresa Anderson, Prof Duncan Ivison, Prof Jane Latimer and Dr Bethan Richards.