Regional dental scholarship to encourage dentist numbers in rural and remote Australia

REGIONAL dentist hopefuls looking for a boost in their studies are encouraged to apply for the 2017 Regional Dentistry Scholarship. 

Rob Roy resident and Nationals Senator John Williams has been dedicating his electorate spending allowance to an individual in regional NSW.

HEAD START: The 2017 Regional Dental Scholarship offers the successful applicant an extra $400 per month for their first year of dentistry study. Photo: Getty Images

HEAD START: The 2017 Regional Dental Scholarship offers the successful applicant an extra $400 per month for their first year of dentistry study. Photo: Getty Images

“When I first started in the Senate back in 2008 we received a $4800 rise in our electoral allowance, so the allowance to cover the cost to do our jobs,” Mr Williams said.

“So I decided to donate that each year to a dental scholarship for someone from a regional area to encourage more dentists to get back in the region.”

He said he recognised a deficit in access to dental care between metro and rural Australia.

Senator John 'Wacka' Williams.

Senator John 'Wacka' Williams.

“Well, in the cities, you have up to 55 dentists for 100,000 people, but in regional areas it’s as low as 15 dentists for 100,000 people,” he said.

Mr Williams said the regional doctor shortage and Rural Australian Medical Undergraduate scholarships were both an impetus to create the scholarship.

If you don’t have good dental health, you don’t have good health full-stop. - Senator John WIlliams

“We’ve got many, many rural students now study medicine and return to rural areas, so I just wanted to do (create) support in the name of dentistry to get more dentists out to remote areas,” he said.

Applicants must have lived in regional NSW for at least five years from age five, and must be commencing full-time study in an accredited Australian dentistry degree in 2017.

The successful applicant will be selected on the basis of the length of time they have lived in regional NSW as well as their financial need and demonstrated commitment to living and working in regional NSW. 

Application forms and guidelines are available at www.ruralhealth.org.au and close on February 20, 2017.

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