Tracking Rural Health


Rural Health Tracks

WACRH is buzzing!! Keep up with us and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter

Latest News

WA Centre for Rural Health Makes Premiers Awards Shortlist

  • Better Heart Health

    Our team, in partnership with UWA and the WA Heart Foundation has recently released one of the most comprehensive reports that aims to further narrow the gap between rates of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heart disease deaths. Read More
  • Take the Virtual Tour

    Our virtual tour aims to enable students to walk through our on-site facilities and accommodation complex prior to commencing their placement. We hope that this tour will help our students better prepare themselves for their placement, become more confident about going rural and feel welcomed as a valued part of our team. Read More
  • Adademy Registrations open

    Our Student Health Academy for Years 10 and 11 enables participants to experience some health professional skills over two full days during the Term. Students gain skills, such as first aid techniques, attain basic life support certification, learn suturing, sports injury management, and participate in health simulation education activities through our EdSIM centre. The Academy aims to broaden the idea of health career choices. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

My Back on Track, My Future

My Back on Track, My Future

Researcher: Assistant Professor Ivan Lin, Kym Ryder


Formative research for this project explored low back pain (LBP) in Aboriginal Australians.   Up until then, the limited research that had been undertaken suggested that low back pain is highly prevalent in Aboriginal populations, but is however not disabling because of cultural beliefs about pain.  WACRH’s preliminary research encompassed a qualitative study in one regional and two remote areas in Western Australia.  It consisted of interviewing of and yarning with Aboriginal people about their low back pain.

Findings from this research exercise contradicted existing literature and indicated that persistent LBP was substantially disabling for some Aboriginal people with impacts on activities in daily life, employment, sport and family participation, and emotional and cultural well-being.

This preliminary evidence challenged established ideas about how Aboriginal people perceive LBP.  Even patients in remote areas showed pejorative biomedical oriented beliefs about the cause of pain (e.g. “bone crunchin’ on bone”) and nurtured a darker future in living with the condition (e.g. “he told me I’d end up in a wheelchair”).  These beliefs were more common to those who were more disabled, and originated from health care practitioners such as doctors (in particular medical specialists), physiotherapists and chiropractors.  Beliefs were often related to findings on spinal radiological imaging. 


 This study highlights the pervasive biomedical approaches to LBP and their potential negative impact on disability.  This reflects recent concerns about biomedical oriented beliefs in LBP care in other settings.

 The “My Back on Track, My Future” project aims to enhance chronic low back pain (CLBP) care at the Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS), specifically to:

 Increase health care practitioner (HCP) awareness of the impact of CLBP beliefs on disabling CLBP and the impact HCPs have on patient CLBP beliefs.

  • Improve  assessment and management of patient beliefs in CLBP care.
  • Improve back pain beliefs of Aboriginal people.

Using a research translation framework four intervention strategies are being implemented:    

 1.            An audit and feedback of LBP care.

 2.            Small group education workshops for GRAMS health care practitioners (HCP) - primarily GPs and physiotherapists. 

 3.            Development of a GRAMS LBP clinic protocol.

 4.            Development of culturally appropriate patient information.

Funding for the project originates from Dr Lin’s NHMRC Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Fellowship.  While estimated project completion is scheduled for May 2014, the evolution and dynamism of interactions at work through this study may lead to new possibilities for appropriate ways to deliver health education to Aboriginal people, facilitate knowledge exchange between practitioners and Aboriginal people and areas for further research continue to emerge.


Quick Menu

  • Simulation >

    WACRH offers the latest in Simulation education and training. See what's happening at EdSIM! Read More
  • Cultural Orientation >

    A number of universities in WA have adopted WACRH's Cultural Orientation site as part a Read More
  • Staff Contacts & Profiles >

    WACRH staff are based in Geraldton, Perth and Mt Magnet. Read More
  • Staff Webmail >

    WACRH Staff Webmail Read More
  • Intranet >

    Staff Access Read More
  • 1

Upcoming Events

Starts at: 08:30

Presented by Kate Rickerby.


Starts at: 18:00

Mental Health First aid presented by Kate Rickerby.

Starts at: 18:00

For Pharmacists, all welcome.

For further details please contact

Starts at: 15:30

This workshop will cover different health research designs in order to develop the crtical evaluation skills necessary for understanding of best practice methods. Participation will:

develop your critical evaluation skills

increase your knowledge & confidence in measuring the effectiveness of research designs

Assist you in developing safer health interventions

Starts at: 08:30

Register by emailing

Cost $40 payable in cash only  to WACRH prior to the seminar

REgistration closing date is 20/04/15.

This seminar is endorsed by ACN according to Continuing Professional Development Endorsed Course Standards