Canadian MSK Rehab Research Network Bone and Joint Institute


2017 Trainee Award Recipients

Congratulations to the recipients of the MSK Network's First annual Trainee Awards Program! Here is a list of the 2017 awardees:

  • Allison Clouthier, Queens University (Network Mentor: Kevin Deluzio)
  • Andreas Ejupi, Simon Fraser University (Network Mentor: Stephen Robinovitch)
  • Chen Yang, McGill University (Network Mentors: Julie Cote, Mickael Begon)
  • Christina Le, University of Alberta (Network Mentors: Jackie Whittacker, Linda Woodhouse)
  • Colleen Nesbitt, University of Calgary (Network Mentor: Carolyn Emery, Janet Ronsky)
  • Elysia Davis, Dalhousie University (Network Mentor: Janie Astephen-Wilson)
  • Folarin Babatunde, McMaster University (Network Mentors: Joy MacDermid, Dave Walton)
  • Joshua Lee, Western University (Network Mentor: Dave Walton)
  • Marylie Martel, Universite de Sherbrooke (Network Mentors: Guillaume Leonard, Nathaly Gaudreault)
  • Shgufta Docter, Western University (Network Mentors: Dianne Bryant, Jackie Marsh)
  • Simon Decary, Universite de Montreal (Network Mentor: Francois Desmeules)
  • Simon Deslauriers, Universite Laval (Network Mentors: Kadija Perrault, Jean-Sebastien Roy)
  • Zakir Udden, McGill University (Network Mentor: Timothy Wideman)

Full details available here

CIHR Project Scheme Success

Congratulations to Network members Dr. Simon French and Dr. Jill Hayden who have recently been awarded CIHR Project Grants in the most recent round of awards. Below are the details on each successful project:

Title: Imaging use for low back pain by primary care practitioners

Principal investigators: French SD, Norman KE, Green ME

Principal investigator (Knowledge User): Bhatia RS

Co-Investigators: Booth C, Grimshaw J, Hartvigsen J, Hayden J, Ivers N, Peng P.

Funding Body and Scheme: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Project Scheme

Duration: 2017 – 2020

Amount awarded: $707,626

Abstract: Low back pain is one of the biggest public health problems in Canada. Clinical practice guidelines consistently recommend that diagnostic imaging (for example x-rays, MRI and CT scans) is not performed routinely on people with low back pain because imaging is expensive and offers no help in diagnosing the cause of the pain in most patients with low back pain. In addition, these unnecessary tests lead to wasted resources and even potential harm to people from radiation exposure. It also raises the chances that people will go on to receive further unnecessary tests or treatments, or even invasive and harmful treatments. Despite these guideline recommendations, primary care clinicians frequently ignore these recommendations and order imaging. This project will quantify the extent of unnecessary diagnostic imaging for people with low back pain who visit a primary care practitioner in Ontario, including family physicians, physiotherapists and chiropractors. The project will also explore why these practitioners order diagnostic imaging, and determine whether reasons occur at the patient level, the practitioner level, the system level, or a combination of these. The information gathered will help us develop innovative strategies to reduce unnecessary diagnostic imaging. These strategies could lead to improved use of limited healthcare resources and reduce harm to the substantial number of Canadians who seek care for low back pain.

Title: A clinical decision support tool for diagnostic imaging use for low back pain

Team: Hayden JA, Stiell I, French S, McGrath PJ, Curran J, Wells G, Campbell S, Magee K, Slipp P, Ogilvie R, Smith A & the LBP Advisory Group

Funding Body and Scheme: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Project Scheme, October 2016

Duration: 2017-2022

Amount: $784,124

Abstract: Objective: To develop a tool to help doctors make appropriate decisions about the need for diagnostic imaging for patients with low back pain. Rationale: Low back pain is one of the most common and disabling health problems in Canada and the world. In most cases, low back pain resolves without requiring diagnostic imaging (x-ray) and with little treatment. Yet, diagnostic imaging is frequently used for low back pain contrary to recommendations from clinical guidelines. This is despite evidence that diagnostic imaging is of limited value in most cases - exposing patients to unnecessary radiation, increasing health services use and worsening patient outcomes. Currently, no clinical decision support tool is available. Clinical guidelines describe 'red flags' - characteristics of serious cause low back pain such as fracture, or cancer - where diagnostic imaging may be appropriate. However, few studies have evaluated these red flags, contributing to inconsistent recommendations across guidelines. A clinical decision support tool will improve the delivery of appropriate clinical care, and create opportunities for improved patient outcomes and reduced healthcare costs. Methods: Our study population will be patients presenting to five Canadian emergency departments with low back pain, assessed at their emergency department visit, then 3 and 12-months afterwards. We will develop a statistical model to determine which low back pain patients should or should not receive diagnostic imaging. We will then work with clinicians and hospital administrators to convert the statistical model into an easy to use clinical decision support tool. The tool will enable quick and accurate assessment of the need for diagnostic imaging for low back pain. Team: Our team brings extensive expertise in clinical tool development, low back pain research, the clinical management of back pain patients, and implementation science. We regularly consult with a diverse group of Low Back Pain Advisors.

2017 Pilot Grant Awardees

Congratulations to the recipients of the MSK Network's First annual Pilot Grant Program! Here is a list of the 2017 awardees:

Does Structural Damage, Joint Mechanics, or Neuromuscular Variables Predict Early Osteoarthritic Changes and Recovery Following Knee Trauma (Shawn Robbins*, Monica Maly, Oaul Martineau, Moreno Morelli, Jean-Pierre Pelletier, Johanne Martel-Pelletier, Tim Wideman, Felix Croteau, Harold Knowles)

Operationalization of the new Pain and Disability Drivers Management Model: A Consensus study (Yannick Tousignant-Laflamme*, Dave Walton, Marc-Olivier Martel, Tim Wideman, Olivier Tri-Thrinh Lam, Frederick Wellens)

Not everyone hurts the same way: A pilot study of a patient-centered approach to the identification of low back pain patients at risk for chronicity (Manon Choiniere*, Joel Katz, Lise Gauvin, Anais Lacasse, Pierre-Marie Sylvestre, Tim Wideman, Gabrielle Page, Jean Borque)

Community based interventions for persons with chronic conditions: Development of an implementation fidelity framework (Julie Richardson*, Rebeccah Fleck, Linda Woodhouse, Ada Tang, Jenna Smith, Michael Pryzbeck, Christina Nowak, Genevieve Hladysh)

Improving the management of low back pain in the emergency department: a feasibility study (Simon French*, Robert Brison, Jill Hayden, Kathleen Norman, Rachael Morkem, Jonathon Hill, Jordan Miller, Chad McClintock, Nicole O'Callaghan)

Adapting Firefighter TEAM-Feedback Modules to Context: Building Capacity in Firefighter Injury Prevention (Kathryn Sinden*, Joy MacDermid, Heather Carnahan, Amanda Brazil, John Hay)

A pilot study of multi-centred osteoarthritis gait biomechanics research: the first steps towards Canada-wide rehabilitation studies (Cheryl Kozey*, Trevor Birmingham, Janie Astephan-Wilson, Michael Hunt, Monica Maly, Derek Rutherford, Rebecca Moyer, Elizabeth Hassen, Jean-Francois Esculier, Amanda Lorbergs, Matthew Baker, Anthony Gatti, Angelo Rudic)

Consequences of Ankle Sprain Injury in Youth Sport: Implications for Post-Traumatic Ankle Osteoarthritis (Carolyn Emery*, Jacob Jaremko, Greg Alcock, Trevor Birmingham, Janet Ronskey, Grogor Kuntze, Jackie Whittaker, Lisa Carlesso,  Oluwatoyosi Owoeye, Clodagh Toomey, Kristen Barton)

Adapting the Tools for Modified Work for Workers with Musculoskeletal Disorders for Firefighters (Susan Stock*, Joy MacDermid, Julie Cote, Clermont Dionne, Nicole Vezina, Kathryn Sinden, Ouiam Didane, Chriss Ross)

CIHR New Investigator Salary Awards in Clinical Rehab

Congratulations to network members François Desmeules and Tim Wideman who have recently been awarded CIHR New Investigator Salary Awards in Clinical Rehabilitation. François’ project is focused on Improving access and quality of care for patients suffering from common MSK disorders. “Advancing chronic pain rehabilitation: Developing novel approaches for risk stratified management and pain education” is the title of Tim Wideman’s project. For more detail please visit: We look forward to learning more about Tim’s and François’ work as it will surely support our quest to improving the lives of people with MSK conditions. 

Network Coordinator Hired

The Network Coordinator - Ryan Power - has joined our administrative team to support the Network’s work and virtual team. With intimate knowledge of the Network, Ryan will play a critical role in assisting the Principal Investigators and broad membership through: coordination of meetings; support of the Network's activities and research dissemination; maintenance of necessary supplies and reconciling financial statements; maintenance of linkages with stakeholders; development of current and new partnership connections; and liaison with the researchers, knowledge users and partners on a regular basis to maintain Network connections.

Thank you to Margaret Lomotan and Jann Paquettte-Warren, BJI Manager Research and Innovationhave who provided temporary support for the network during the hiring process.

General inquiries about the Network can be sent to Ryan at