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$2.5 mln for new scholarships to boost health services in bush

27 January, 2009

Rural and regional health services will get a boost through new scholarships that enable allied health students to undertake clinical placements in rural or remote communities during their degrees.

The first 55 students will be notified this week.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced the scholarships while in regional NSW where she has visited Charles Sturt University and Cootamundra Medical Clinic among others.

The scholarship recipients include students from Charles Sturt University.

This is the first time there has been a rural placement scholarship programme for allied health students.

The program takes students from all backgrounds and gives them on-the-job clinical experience – while at the same time boosting services in rural and regional areas.

Research suggests that health students who have a positive placement in a rural area are more likely to return to work in a rural area once they have graduated.

The funding helps students meet the travel, accommodation and living expenses of undertaking a rural clinical placement, and provides support payments for a student’s clinical supervisor and community contact while on placement.

The programme is open to individuals studying an allied health or oral health degree including: Aboriginal health work; audiology; dietetics and nutrition; medical radiation science; occupational therapy; optometry; physiotherapy; podiatry; psychology; dentistry; and oral health.

Additional placements are expected to be awarded as part of this round during the year.

The scholarship scheme is administered by Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH). Further information is available from the SARRAH web site at http://www.sarrah.org.au/site/index.cfm?display=74996

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