Goal: More efficacious interventions to improve health outcomes for people following traumatic injury

Research focus: Musculoskeletal injury

Program leader: Professor Michele Sterling


The focus of this program is to develop effective diagnosis, assessment and treatment of people following a motor vehicle crash injury. The program has four key areas:

  1. Understanding the mechanisms and processes contributing to recovery focusing on the physical, psychological and system related factors that may contribute to the injured person’s pain, disability and mental health after an injury
  2. Improving prognostic assessment models to assist with the provision of treatment and allocation of resources to enhance recovery.
  3. Develop and test new and innovative treatments to enhance recovery after injury.
  4. Translation of research outcomes focusing on developing new innovative ways to deliver information and treatment to all stakeholders including injured people, health care providers and insurers/ insurance regulators.

The improving health outcomes after musculoskeletal injury team is seeking knowledge that will help people with injury to optimally recover. The research team are undertaking multiple research projects with a focus on musculoskeletal injury, particularly whiplash associated disorders (WAD). The Improving Health Outcomes after Musculoskeletal Injury is headed by Professor Michele Sterling, an internationally recognised  injury researcher. 

Some of our projects include:

  • A randomised clinical trial of stress inoculation training and exercise delivered by physiotherapists to prevent chronic pain and disability after acute whiplash injury.
  • A randomised clinical trial of trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy and physiotherapy for people with chronic WAD.
  • Testing new clinical pathways of care that deliver individualised risk-stratified treatment to improve health outcomes after acute musculoskeletal injury.
  • Developing and translating improved clinical tools to accurately identify people at risk of poor recovery following injury.