The University of South Australia (UniSA) has received a grant of A$3m ($1.9m) from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Primary Health Care Research Initiative to enhance chronic pain management care in Australia.

The grant aims to improve the quality of care and information for Australians with chronic pain.

Dubbed “EQUIpping the general public to prevent and overcome chronic pain” (EQUIPP), the UniSA project is one of four MRFF initiatives to receive funding in this round for chronic pain management.

The programme is set to launch in two rural communities, the Limestone Coast in South Australia and Western Victoria, where it will implement a comprehensive intervention strategy.

The EQUIPP intervention will leverage educational content developed through extensive research and co-design with consumer and community groups.

The aim is to deliver a ‘whole of community’ educational lifestyle programme targeting individuals with chronic pain.

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This initiative will also draw on the diverse expertise of the investigator team, which spans multiple disciplines including pain management and rural health, among others.

The impact of the EQUIPP project will be assessed through a variety of outcome measures, the university noted.

With commencement date set for 1 July, the team anticipates concluding the project by 30 June 2028, which aims to improve chronic pain management in rural Australian communities.

University of South Australia chief investigator professor Lorimer Moseley AO said: “In terms of disability and economic impact, chronic pain is our biggest health care challenge.”

“Our research has identified two modifiable barriers to reducing the immense chronic pain burden. First, the majority of health professionals do not have the necessary skills, confidence, resources and support to deliver the best treatments for chronic pain. Second, the broad public does not demand or expect the best treatments for chronic pain.

“So, we need to change consumer expectations and community norms, and equip health care professionals to deliver those treatments within the significant resource limitations facing rural Australia.”