Over 770 applications - a record number for one year - have been received for the 2014 round of the Rural Australia Medical Undergraduate Scholarship (RAMUS) Scheme.
RAMUS is a Commonwealth Government program to help provide doctors for rural and remote areas by offsetting some of the additional costs incurred by medical students who come from country areas. It is managed for the Government by the National Rural Health Alliance.
The RAMUS scheme currently supports 587 scholarships in total. Around 130 scholarships are available for students applying in 2014. Clearly there will be many disappointed though well deserving applicants.
The 770 applicants will be ranked according to three criteria: the extent to which their upbringing was in rural or remote areas; a test of their financial need; and an indication of their commitment to working in a rural area after completing medical training. RAMUS scheme students are not bonded to rural or remote return of service.
In recognition of the fact that there is a gradient of need for additional doctors as one moves from major city through regional to remote areas, the rurality criterion for RAMUS ranking is weighted by remoteness. The more remote the areas in which a student lived from the age of 5 to 18, the higher their relative ranking on the rural background criterion. Having attended a rural primary school is also taken into account.
After the applications are ranked, the next step for the Alliance in this year's round will be to make conditional offers to those applicants who rank in the top 130. Upon receiving a conditional offer of a scholarship, applicants must submit specified documents demonstrating the accuracy of the information they provided in their application.
Conditional offers will begin to be made in February with unsuccessful applicants notified as soon as possible thereafter. Scholars are encouraged by various means towards a career in rural or remote Australia, including through membership in a student Rural Health Club and an ongoing mentoring relationship with an experienced rural doctor.
Since the year 2000 over 1,600 medical students supported by RAMUS have graduated from university, so there are now a significant number of junior doctors with a rural background.
Susan Magnay, RAMUS Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gordon Gregory, Executive Director: 02 6285 4660