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Dr Ben Darlow - Senior Lecturer

profile_Ben_DarlowBackground and interests

Ben has been based in the Department since 2009 and was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in 2016.  He is currently involved in several research projects as well as undergraduate teaching.

Ben completed his undergraduate physiotherapy degree at the University of Otago in 1998, and his Master of Sports Physiotherapy at Curtin University (Perth) in 2002. He completed his PhD at the University of Otago in 2014. Ben was registered as a Musculoskeletal physiotherapy specialist in 2015.

Teaching activities

Ben is primarily involved in teaching undergraduate medical students during their Primary Health Care and General Practice modules.

Fourth year:

  • Understanding and managing pain
  • Musculoskeletal examination and management in primary care

Fifth year:

  • Acute low back pain assessment and management in primary care
  • Musculoskeletal examination in primary care

Ben is also a member of the Wellington Interprofessional Teaching Initiative (WITI) and he teaches interprofessional classes of health students as part of WITI’s activities

Research activities

Ben’s main research foci are the management of common musculoskeletal conditions in primary care and interprofessional education.

Back pain

Ben has previously explored practitioner and patient attitudes and beliefs related to low back pain and influences upon these. He is currently leading a clinical trial and an implementation study to explore the feasibility and impact of implementing a new approach to explaining and managing back pain in general practice. A podcast interview with Ben which discusses his back pain research can be accessed here.

Ben has led the development of the Back Pain Attitudes Questionnaire (Back-PAQ). More information about the Back-PAQ can be found here.


Ben is also leading a project to develop and test new information resources which aim to provide people with knee OA evidence-based information about the condition, the meaning of their symptoms, ways in which they can improve their joint function and quality of life, and services from which they may receive further support.

Interprofessional education

Ben has been involved in a number of studies evaluating interprofessional education activities. He is currently leading the Longitudinal Interprofessional (LIP) Study which is investigating changes in interprofessional attitudes and skills over the final year of health professional training and the first three years of professional practice. It will also explore if undergraduate interprofessional education influences these skills and attitudes or the career pathway of these graduates. This study involves participants from the disciplines of dentistry, dietetics, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, oral health, pharmacy, and physiotherapy.

Ben is a member of the University of Otago’s Pain and Arthritis research themes.

Professional Roles

Ben is a member of the Physiotherapy New Zealand Professional Development Committee and the Interim Data Governance Group. Ben is a Specialist Assessor and Competency Assessor for the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand.

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Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Darlow, B., Beckingsale, L., Donovan, S., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2018). Learning with, from and about each other: Developing interprofessional education programmes. Journal of Medical Imaging & Radiation Sciences, 49(Suppl. 1), (pp. S12). doi: 10.1016/j.jmir.2018.02.035

McKinlay, E., Bycroft, J., Darlow, B., Gray, B., Morris, C., & Pullon, S. (2017). Interdisciplinary collaboration: Working in teams for patient care. In K. A. Morris (Ed.), Cole's medical practice in New Zealand. (13th ed.) (pp. 81-99). Wellington, New Zealand: Medical Council of New Zealand.

Dowell, A., Darlow, B., Macrae, J., Stubbe, M., Turner, N., & McBain, L. (2017). Childhood respiratory illness presentation and service utilisation in primary care: A six-year cohort study in Wellington, New Zealand, using natural language processing (NLP) software. BMJ Open, 7(7), e017146. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017146

Darlow, B., McKinlay, E., Gallagher, P., Beckingsale, L., Coleman, K., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2017). Building and expanding interprofessional teaching teams. Journal of Primary Health Care, 9(1), 29-33. doi: 10.1071/HC16053

McKinlay, E., McDonald, J., Darlow, B., & Perry, M. (2017). Social networks of patients with multimorbidity: A qualitative study of patients' and supporters' views. Journal of Primary Health Care, 9(2), 153-161. doi: 10.1071/HC16062

More publications...