This month we profile PhD Candidate, and physiotherapist, Carlos Ivan Mesa Castrillon. Carlos is also a valued member of the Digital Health Early Career Research Community Working Group.
Please tell us a little about yourself. I am a physiotherapist from Colombia and studied at Universidad CES, Medellin. I also lived in Brazil where I did a Masters in Physiotherapy at Sao Paulo State University, UNESP. Currently, I’m working on my PhD in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at The University of Sydney, Australia, and was awarded a Scholarship from the Colombian government.
At the University of Sydney, I have been working as a Research Assistant and Clinical Trial Coordinator for The Empower Study: EHealth to empower musculoskeletal pain patients in rural Australia; research sponsored by the University of Sydney, Australia, and Medibank Better Health Foundation.
What is your research on? The objectives of my PhD thesis are to investigate: (I) the physical activity levels and sedentary behaviours in rural Australian adults, (II) The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in rural and urban population; and (III) the feasibility and effects of implementing an eHealth supported intervention for people living in rural Australia with chronic non-specific low back pain or knee osteoarthritis in comparison with usual care on physical function, pain and, quality of life (The Empower Study).
What are the real-world consequences of your research? Through the results of our research group, we are promoting healthcare strategies and government policy to improve the access to care, enhance supportive environments for physical activity and promote education in the community regarding musculoskeletal pain to reduce the gap between rural and urban communities. eHealth strategies enable the possibility to get closer, in an efficient manner, to remote towns, which allows people with musculoskeletal pain to save time and money by reducing or eliminating travel time to healthcare facilities while receiving tailored advice and educational resources. As a result, our research will help to inform health care policy and clinical practice about the effectiveness of e-health (physiotherapy teleconsultations) for back and knee pain in rural Australia.
What does digital health mean to you? I believe digital health refers to the use of technology and/or the internet to enhance or deliver healthcare services remotely. It brings a unique opportunity and has enormous potential to close gaps between communities and to improve healthcare services. As an active participant of the DHIN events, I have learned about the flexibility and multidisciplinary nature of digital health which touches the community, research, and other spheres in the health sector.
Do you have any resources or links you would like to share with the network?
My Twitter: @mesacastrillon
Some recently published studies:
A very big thank you to Carlos for taking the time to be our June student feature! – JW