Return to Work: Evidence and Innovation

This two-day course, led by Monash University’s Insurance Work and Health Group, provides an overview of current evidence and innovation regarding return to work policy and practice. Whilst focused on Australia, there will also be reference to the international evidence base. Attendees will be provided with a solid understanding of the current state of evidence with respect to return to work, as well as some practical examples of innovations currently in place in Australia.

Course outline

Day 1 will focus on the evidence, presented by leading researchers in the return to work field. In particular, it will involve an overview of conceptual models of return to work and the Australian benefit systems in which return to work is a substantial issue, return to work epidemiology, and return to work from the perspective of the employer, injured worker, and case manager. It will finish with information on how return to work can be measured, presented by industry experts.

Day 2 will focus on innovation, incorporating interactive elements. It will begin with evaluation of return to work policies, before a session for participants to ‘design their own return to work system’, allowing participants to implement knowledge gained from Day 1. It will finish with a session on return to work studies in specific populations, such as high-risk workers.

Who should attend

This course is appropriate for a wide audience, including, but not limited to, researchers, personnel working in Australian workers’ compensation and life insurance systems, healthcare providers, government authorities (such as workers compensation or motor vehicle accident compensation regulators), and occupational rehabilitation providers


Course Directors

Dr Shannon Gray

Shannon is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Insurance Work and Health Group. With a background in Biomedical Engineering, Shannon chose to pursue her doctoral studies at the Monash University Accident Research Centre investigating injury-causing hazards at fitness facilities. Throughout her studies and employment, Shannon has worked with internal researchers and external stakeholders in the areas of injury epidemiology, injury prevention and injury rehabilitation. Her research interests include recovery from work-related and transport injuries, in particular return to work and how compensation schemes can impact on this.

Prof Alex Collie

Professor Alex Collie is Director of the Insurance Work and Health Research Group in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. Alex is an applied public health and social policy researcher, with a specific focus on injury and illness compensation systems and their impact on the work, social and health outcomes of injured and ill people.

He leads a program of research that seeks to (1) describe health and work outcomes of people receiving support from Australia’s workers’ compensation, social security, life insurance and road traffic crash compensation systems; (2) identify factors affecting the health and work function of people involved these systems; and (3) modify those factors to improve outcomes for injured and ill people and reduce the burden of work disability in the community.

His research career has been at the border of academia, government and industry. He has moved between these settings but maintained a focus on developing and using evidence to support decision making, develop policy and implement programs to improve social, work and health outcomes of those injured.

Alex currently leads mulitple large projects funded by industry, government and competitive research grants. Alex has advised multiple state and commonwealth government departments andn private sector organisations in matters relating to workplace health, insurance and injury compensation. He has held numerous board positions on non-profit health sector organisations. He has a PhD in psychology. He has published over 160 peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters and technical reports, and is regularly invited to speak at national and international conferences.

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