Physios tackling global health problems

In the spirit of health research reflecting the real world problems of patients with conditions like musculoskeletal pain, physiotherapists have forged an important alliance in regional NSW.

The Research in Practice Network is the product of local physios, University of Newcastle researchers, Hunter New England Population Health and us, NSW Regional Health Partners. We’ve delivered practical and financial support. It’s the kind of network we’re proud to back. 

It aims to close the gap between research and how it is used by clinicians, which currently results in suboptimal care for patients. This network is one of the first of its kind for physiotherapists, and its mission is right up our alley.

Specifically, what resonates with us is the network’s undertaking to connect and collaborate to promote change in our healthcare community, and generate clinically relevant research to make meaningful difference in patients’ lives.

It has already attracted 34 physiotherapists from 22 private practices across the Hunter, alongside health researchers, other primary care clinicians and industry stakeholders.

“Research is not doing the job that it’s intended to,” Associate Professor Christopher Williams, Senior Research Fellow working with Hunter New England Population Health and the University of Newcastle’s School of Medicine and Public Health, says.

“A lot of research doesn’t address real world problems or the problems faced by clinicians. The problems patients face with regards to their health are also overlooked because these people – the ones dealing with the problems – are not included in deciding the focus and design of research.”   

Chris website

The scale of the problem – THREE THINGS

    1. More than four million Australians experience chronic musculoskeletal pain each year and the need for quality care is on the rise.
    2. A patient can be allocated multiple clinicians on their journey, which often leads to inconsistency in the care they receive, confusion and at times, incorrect care.
    3. Research in Practice Network wants to change this. A patient-led approach solves problems related to clinical care, and presents opportunities to relieve pressure from the wider health care system through reduced surgery wait times and emergency department presentations. 

Learn about the network

Contact Connor Gleadhill at, or visit