27 December 2021

Introducing ACERF

Funding research is at the heart of the ACA and its core vision to ensure the profession reaches its highest potential. The ACA is committed to evolving evidence-based practice, including the integration of best available research and clinical expertise. Funding research also plays a fundamental role in achieving the integration of best practice to continually improve Australians’ experience of chiropractic care.

ACERF stands for the Australian Chiropractors Education and Research Fund. A new ACERF Advisory Committee will oversee the commissioning and funding of research activities through the ACA.

As a registered charity and public ancillary fund (regulated by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission), ACERF’s prime purpose will be to review grant submissions and to then make recommendations to the governance board for funding. ACERF is committed to supporting new and existing clinical practices, to implement new models of care and ultimately fund research that leads to improved clinical practice and patient outcomes.

What we’re looking at doing is primarily trying to bridge the gap between what happens in research and practice, as well as how new research can inform clinical practices and improve practice and patient outcomes” CEO Dr Matthew Fisher says.

ACERF will provide the structure the ACA needs to funnel research projects and will ultimately enable researchers and healthcare professionals to develop crucial skills, encourage collaboration across chiropractic disciplines and sectors, whilst supporting stronger partnerships between researchers, healthcare professionals, governments and the community.

ACERF will only distribute to deductible gift recipient (DGR) ‘item 1’ organisations. These item 1 organisations include public benevolent institutions, universities, health promotion charities, environmental organisations and cultural organisations.

Research project proposals once submitted to the committee will be ranked and shortlisted by several factors, including (but not limited to) importance of proposed research to clinical practice, scientific quality of application, feasibility, and likelihood of producing translated benefits into a chiropractic practice. The ACERF advisory committee will review and grant submissions and make recommendations to the Governance Board for funding. Being able to turn in-depth research into tangible and evidence-based results (that can be used) is of upmost importance to the committee.

Aside from research applications, the ACA is also taking expressions of interest for members to be considered for appointment to the ACERF Advisory Committee. To be considered, chiropractors must have experience or knowledge in neuro-musculoskeletal research (or specific areas of chiropractic practice), public health and/or translational research as well as health promotion or healthcare delivery in primary healthcare.

Our desire, and this fits back into our strategic plan, is we want more people to experience the care and outcomes of chiropractic. We want to support and fund research that improves patient outcomes, might create new approaches to treatment and looks at collaboration, as well as support appropriate health promotion programs in Australia…this goes back to the burden of disease and preventative health. If we can fund health promotion programs through appropriate organisations that improves the health of Australians and improves the role of chiropractors that would be a great joint outcome,” CEO Matthew Fisher says.

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