Utilization of the Department of Defense Peer-Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program (PRORP): Combating Musculoskeletal Disease with PRORP

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Introduction:Established in 2009, the Department of Defense (DoD) Peer-Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program (PRORP) is an annual funding program for orthopaedic research that seeks to develop evidence for new clinical practice guidelines, procedures, technologies, and drugs. The aim was to help reduce the burden of injury for wounded Service members, Veterans, and civilians and to increase return-To-duty and return-To-work rates. Relative to its burden of disease, musculoskeletal injuries (MSKIs) are one of the most disproportionately underfunded conditions. The focus of the PRORP includes a broad spectrum of MSKI in areas related to unique aspect of combat-and some noncombat-related injuries. The PRORP may serve as an important avenue of research for nonmilitary communities by offering areas of shared interests for the advancement of military and civilian patient cohort MSKI care. The purpose of this study was to provide a descriptive analysis of the DoD PRORP, which is an underrecognized but high value source of research funding for a broad spectrum of both combat-and noncombat-related MSKIs.Methods:The complete PRORP Funding Portfolio for FY2009-FY2017 was obtained from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), which includes 255 awarded grants. Information pulled from the CDMRP included awardee descriptors (sex, education level, affiliated institution type, research specialty, and previous award winner [yes/no]) and grant award descriptors (grant amount, year, primary and secondary awarded topics, research type awarded, and mechanism of award). Distribution statistics were broken down by principal investigator specialty, sex, degree, organization type, research type, mechanism, and research topics. Distribution and statistical analysis was applied using R software version 3.6.3.Results:From FY2009 to 2017, $285 million was allocated for 255 PRORP-funded research studies. The seven major orthopaedic subspecialties (foot and ankle, hand, musculoskeletal oncology, pediatrics, spine, sports medicine, and trauma) were represented. Trauma and hand subspecialists received the largest amount of funding, approximately $28 (9.6%) and $22 million (7.1%), respectively. However, only 22 (8.6%) and 26 (10.2%) of the primary investigators were trauma and hand subspecialists, respectively. The primary research categories were diverse with the top five funded PRORP topics being rehabilitation ($53 million), consortia ($39 million), surgery ($37 million), device development ($30 million), and pharmacology ($10 million).Discussion:The CDMRP funding represents an excellent resource for orthopaedic medical research support that includes trauma and nontrauma orthopaedic conditions. This study serves to promote and communicate the missions of the PRORP both within and beyond the DoD to raise awareness and expand access of available funding for orthopaedic focused research.Significance/Clinical Relevance:A likelihood exists that this project will provide sustained and powerful influence on future research by promoting awareness of orthopaedic funding sources.Level

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


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