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Personalized, digital health exercise and nutrition solutions to optimize musculoskeletal health and function

Musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoporosis, falls and fractures, are a leading cause of disability and injury-related hospitalization globally. Current best practice clinical guidelines endorse the use of exercise and nutrition interventions with lifestyle risk factor management to reduce falls and fracture risk, but few evidence-based interventions have been translated into practice and uptake and long term adherence to most effective centre/community exercise-nutrition programs is often low/poor. This suggests that current delivery models do not meet the needs of many individuals. Digital health technologies, including telehealth and voice-controlled intelligent personal assistants, offer an equitable opportunity to increase the scope, utilization and effectiveness of best practice models of service delivery and care to optimize functional capacity and reduce falls and fracture risk by delivering personalized programs and information to people anywhere and at any time, and support timely communication between patients and healthcare providers.

Aim of the project:

This project aims to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness, implementation and potential scalability, of multifaceted, person-centred, digital health models of service delivery to optimize musculoskeletal health and function and reduce the risks of disability, falls and fracture in older people. Findings are expected to fill a critical clinical and practice care gap to guide a personalized, integrated exercise, nutrition and lifestyle risk factor management digital health model of service delivery that is feasible, cost-effective and with immediate real-world applicability for older people.

Supervisors:

The successful candidate will be supervised by Professor Robin Daly, who holds the position of Chair in Exercise and Ageing in IPAN, and Associate Professor David Scott, an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow in IPAN, who is recognised internationally for his research related to age-related changes in body composition on physical performance, falls and fracture risk, and the roles of exercise and nutrition in modifying these changes.

Prerequisites:

Applicants must meet Deakin’s PhD entry requirements and be eligible to apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award or equivalent, and hold an Honours degree (First Class) in a relevant discipline such as exercise, physiotherapy, nutrition/dietetics or Health Sciences. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information. We will work with suitably qualified applicants to apply for scholarship funding.

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