about the program

The Consumer and Community Involvement Program (CCIP) facilitates partnership between consumers, community members and researchers. 

It provides researchers with an invaluable perspective to the appropriateness, relevance and applicability of their research program. Consumers learn more about health research and are empowered to make informed choices about their health care.

Involving consumers and community members in the research process is an important step towards developing and delivering effective, patient-centred health care. 

There are currently no formal programs through which researchers can incorporate consumer experiences into research project design in the field of orthopaedic research in Victoria. 

Our work at OPUS can only produce practical outcomes by engaging with consumers through the life of the research project cycle to ensure that research outcomes match community expectations.

why is it important

How does it work?

1. recruitment

Participants from all backgrounds are invited to join the program. OPUS will maintain a support network for consumer members and researchers to ensure participants are engaged and kept abreast of progress.

2. formal training

Consumers begin at Tier 1 and can elect to move up within the tier system (level of involvement), dependent on their time commitment and research interests. General training will be provided to all participants as a half-day orientation workshop into the consumer roles and responsibilities and the medical research landscape. 

3. partnership

Once consumers nominate a tier, OPUS will facilitate the initial contact with a researcher, and remain in constant contact with both parties. Consumers will henceforth primarily work in conjunction with this researcher on a specific project, rather than with the broader OPUS team.

CCIP diagram 2.0

The program is guided by a Consumer Advisory Group (CAG), consisting of consumer advocates, researchers, research students and administrative support. The CAG meets quarterly to discuss research progress, activities within the CCIP and provides an opportunity for all consumer participants to bring any issues or concerns to the attention of OPUS for resolution.


Who can participate?

OPUS welcomes interested members of the public with little-to-no scientific background, of any age and gender, to participate in osteoarthritis (OA)-related research projects. OPUS is reaching out to participants who may have varying degrees of experience with OA: patients, carers for those with OA or even community members who are interested in health care in general.

Opportunity to advocate for the interests of consumers and present consumer views, values and concerns. 

Learn about exciting new areas of medical research.

Network and collaborate with researchers, surgeons, physiotherapists, health economists and students.

Become an advocate for osteoarthritis awareness in the community.

What's in it for me?

need more information?

Please contact our Consumer and Community Liaison Officer, Dr Tilini Gunatillake if you have any questions at and she will happily walk you through the program and answer your queries.

Already a Consumer with us? Click on the Consumer Portal above to access our Community Board, resources and document repository!

expression of interest

Fields marked with * are required
For more information on the Tiers, see the diagram above.

Still not sure? Keep up to date with OPUS news in the meantime!

What is consumer partnership?

The medical research landscape is becoming increasingly reliant on the voices of the community to guide the direction of research. OPUS has developed a Consumer Engagement Program to facilitate the partnership of consumers and researchers. OPUS projects engage with consumers to ensure that medical research is of public interest and addresses the most critical issues in the community.

OPUS welcomes interested members of the public with little-to-no scientific background, of any age and gender, to participate in various activities related to the critique of research design, grant applications and feedback on research findings.

As an invaluable community voice, consumer participation will be tiered according to their chosen level of engagement and training support will be provided to guide participants.

Benefits of consumer parnership

Participants benefit our research by representing all consumers. They act as a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ for the department, as they may see the bigger picture often overlooked by researchers. Participants become advocates of osteoarthritic research and acquire a better understanding of the research landscape.

Consumers can contribute to various aspects of medical research. Contributions may include:

  • Strategic planning, priority setting and redesigning research delivery
  • Raising important issues
  • Providing community perspectives on research deliverables such as new tools
  • Providing insight on factors that directly relate to patients
Consumer purpose within OPUS

OPUS is looking to work with consumers within orthopaedic research to shape health care policies and practices. Our work is focused on improving patient outcomes by examining the entire osteoarthritis management journey. This is a large undertaking that can only succeed in producing practical outcomes by engaging with consumers to ensure that the research matches community expectations.

Consumer roles and responsibilities

The role of the consumer will be to:

  • Challenge the teams with a different perspective
  • Represent the community sentiment
  • Provide constructive feedback:
    • Improve transparency
    • Remove jargon
    • Improve patient information, communication methods with patients/community, patient interactions with research
  • Improve awareness and understanding of osteoarthritis research

These roles depend on the tier in which consumers are recruited. Learn more about how the program works and roles within tiers on the Engagement Program page.



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