USBJI Raising Profile of Musculoskeletal Health Through Research, Programs

Applications Being Accepted for Young Investigator Initiative Through Jan. 15, 2021

By John M. Ventura, DC

The United States Bone and Joint Initiative ( is an “organization of organizations” whose mission is to “raise the priority of musculoskeletal (MSK) health through the collective action of all stakeholders.” The intention of this mission is to improve the quality of life for people with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and improve the understanding, prevention and treatment of these conditions through research, education and advocacy.

USBJI is a continuation of the global Bone and Joint Decade, which was officially proclaimed by former President George W. Bush from 2002–2011 for the United States. To its credit, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) became a Founding Member organization and has a seat on the USBJI Board. The current executive director, Toby King, has been with the organization since its founding in 2002. Other Executive Committee members include Matthew Dobbs, MD (president), Leigh Callahan, PhD (president-elect), John Ventura, DC (vice president), Bruce Browner, MD (secretary) and Paul Ullucci, DPT, PhD (treasurer).

The USBJI has developed and implemented several very successful programs to help fulfill its mission. Some of the more notable of these include:

Young Investigator Initiative (YII)

Attention: Deadline for YII application submissions is Jan. 15, 2021

This grant mentoring and career development program supports MSK research. The  program has mentored over 400 participants with grant funding achieved of more than $522 million. To keep pace with the high and increasing burden of MSK diseases, a higher level of research performed by young investigators is required, and future levels of research assured.  The Young Investigator Initiative is a grant mentoring program providing early-career investigators an opportunity to work with experienced researchers in our field to assist them in securing funding and other survival skills required for pursuing an academic career.

This grant mentoring program and career development program is open to promising junior faculty, senior fellows or post-doctoral researchers nominated by their department or division chairs seeking to pursue a career in clinical or basic research. It is also open to senior fellows or residents that are doing research and have a faculty appointment in place or confirmed. Basic and clinical investigators, without or with training awards, are invited to apply. Investigators selected to take part in the program attend two workshops, 12-18 months apart, and work with faculty between workshops to develop their grant applications.  For more information and how to apply, click here.  

Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS)

This online publication/resource now in its 4th edition providing an accessible, reliable source of data on the health prevalence and economic burden of MSK disorders. Widely used by researchers, BMUS is also a valuable resource for those in advocacy and soon will have lay-person summaries. An MSK Health Index Map (“heat map”) presenting data down to zip code level, and by congressional district with filters for age, sex, race, ethnicity, and co-morbidities, will soon be added.

Project 100/MSK-Ed

Project 100 is the USBJI’s initiative to improve the level of training in MSK conditions for all graduating medical students in the United States, thereby improving the quality of care delivered to their patients. At the onset of Project 100 only about 50 percent of medical colleges provided training in MSK conditions, and by 2012 this had improved to more than 80 percent. MSK-Ed is a relatively new USBJI program to provide a turnkey solution for MSK education aimed at 4th year medical students planning a career in primary care.

Education Programs Fit to a T and Experts in Arthritis

Fit to a T provides public education on fracture prevention, bone health and osteoporosis education. More than 900 sessions have been presented to community groups. Experts in Arthritis offers education for people living with arthritis and for their caretakers. Several hundred training sessions have taken place. Both programs have recently been updated and enhanced. An expanded section to train non-rheumatology specialists who see patients with arthritis is to be launched. It provides tools to mentor people in how to manage their arthritis at home and is called COACH – Creating Opportunities for Arthritis Control @ Home.

As a supporters of the United States Bone and Joint Initiative,  ACA members are encouraged to avail themselves of the wonderful information and resources available on the USBJI website,

Dr. Ventura is USBJI vice president.