Community engagement and policy discourse: Musculoskeletal disease

Project Details

Despite significant Australian investment into knowledge generation for the prevention of many lifestyle-related diseases, osteoporosis has not attracted similar attention. The absence of osteoporosis from the preventive health agenda mimics the increasing incidence of this preventable disease, and efforts to address social inequities in other chronic diseases has had little impact on osteoporosis.

Without the engagement of communities in public health conversations regarding prevention, our evidence-base is likely to remain ill-informed, any impact will be limited, and financial investment will be wasted. A strong evidence-base can support better engagement of the end-users to understand the relative contribution of many factors associated with osteoporosis so that we can have a workable, sustainable, and scalable platform for action. This is something that Australia is still coming to terms with, meaning that our country trails behind Canada, UK and USA.

This research project employs participatory action and engages communities in meaningful partnerships to reduce osteoporosis risk. Potential co-designed work includes targeted intervention may be tailored exercise prescription including modification of workplace activities, or dietary changes to reduce systemic inflammation such as avoiding fatty acids.


A/Prof Sharon Brennan-Olsen, Principal Fellow, and NHMRC Career Development Fellow

Ms Stefanie Bird, Research Assistant


Australian Health Policy Collaboration

Brimbank City Council

Many more international and national collaborators


Research Opportunities

This research project is available to Honours students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Publications

Brennan-Olsen SL, Hosking SM, Dobbins AG, Pasco JA. Translating osteoporosis prevention guidelines: A case study of participatory action and the development of an oversized jigsaw. J Aging and Health. Online first April 6, 2016, pp1-15. doi: 10.1177/0898264316641076

Hosking SM, Dobbins AG, Pasco JA, Brennan SL. Knowledge change regarding osteoporosis prevention: Translating recommended guidelines into user-friendly messages for the community. BMC Research Notes, 2015, 8:33. doi: 10.1186/s13104-015-0985-3

Research Group

Social epigenomics and population health: Musculoskeletal disease

School Research Themes


Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre



Western Health

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.