The Rural Pharmacy Scholarship Mentor Scheme aims to encourage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholars and scholars from rural and remote locations to undertake undergraduate and graduate studies in pharmacy at an Australian university, by providing guidance and support from a practising rural Pharmacist Mentor during each year of their pharmacy studies. Mentors can choose to be paid for participating in the Scheme and if so can receive a payment per mentored scholar per year.

The Rural Pharmacy Scholarship Mentor Scheme (RPSMS) supplements the Rural Pharmacy Scholarship Scheme (RPSS) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pharmacy Scholarship Scheme (ATSIPSS) by strengthening the scholar’s ties to rural and regional Australia and providing support to scholars outside of the university and formal study environment. Contact between the scholar and the Mentor must occur at least quarterly, and may be via face-to-face contact or by electronic means. Rural Pharmacy Mentors can choose to be paid an honorarium of $375 each year for each scholar they mentor.

To register to become a Mentor, applicants must meet the following Eligibility Criteria:

  • Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Be a practising Pharmacist
  • Be practising in a defined eligible rural area (Modified Monash Category 3 to 7 location)
  • Agree to provide reports in accordance with the Rural Pharmacy Scholarship Mentor Scheme Program Rules
  • Agree to participate in longitudinal studies or annual surveys
  • Have the capacity to be in contact with the scholar at least quarterly.

Mentors will need to register and submit a Mentor End of Year Report via the Pharmacy Programs Administrator Portal. See the Rural Pharmacy Scholarship Mentor Scheme Program Rules for further details. If Mentors choose to be paid for participating in the Scheme, a payment of $375 per mentored scholar per year will be made by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to their nominated bank account.

Modified Monash Model (MMM) FAQ

  1. The MMM is a geographical classification that categorises different areas in Australia into seven remoteness categories. It was developed to better target health workforce programs to attract health professionals to more remote and smaller communities. The MMM classifies metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas according to geographical remoteness, as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and town size.

    For further information, please refer to the MMM factsheet at https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/modified-monash-model-fact-sheet

  2. In 2015, the Department of Health introduced the MMM classification system as it better targets health workforce programs by categorising metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas according to both geographical remoteness, as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and town size.

    The Department of Health began transitioning Commonwealth health programs to the new MMM classification system from 1 January 2020.

    The decision to adopt the use of the MMM for the Rural Pharmacy Scholarship Mentor Scheme from 1 July 2021, to ensure greater support for regional, rural, and remote pharmacies was as part of the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement (Seventh Agreement) between the Australian Government, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

    Further information on the MMM rural classification system can be found here:  https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2019/12/modified-monash-model—fact-sheet.pdf

  3. From 1 July 2021, practising Pharmacists working in MM categories 3 to 7 may be eligible to participate in the Rural Pharmacy Scholarship Mentor Scheme.

  4. Your MM category can be viewed on the Australian Government’s Health Workforce Locator website: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/health-workforce-locator/health-workforce-locator.

    Click on the MMM 2019 tickbox in the Classification Filter, type in your practising address and click Search Location.  Your MM category will be displayed underneath your address and also on the map.

  5. Mentors currently practicing in an eligible PhARIA location who become ineligible for the Scheme based on their MM location on 1 July 2021, can continue mentoring and will be paid as normal for any RPSS or ATSIPSS scholars they have an existing relationship with. They will not however be eligible to mentor any new additional scholars going forward from 1 July 2021.

    Please contact the PPA Scholarships team on 1800 951 285 if you have further queries.

  6. No. MM categories cannot be changed.

  7. MM categories are based on the Australian Statistical Geography Standard – Remoteness Areas framework and applies additional modifiers to the inner and outer regional categories based on the road distance to population centres of between 50,000 and 5,000.

    Unlike the previously used Pharmacy Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (PhARIA) rural classification system, the MMM does not take into account the location or number of pharmacies in its calculation. It also does not factor in boundaries of a town, like PhARIA did. The MMM is instead based purely on the road distance from an individual street address to the nearest service centre(s). This is a significant shift in how rural areas are classified for the pharmacy sector.

    It is possible for an address on one side of town to have a different MM category to another address on the other side of town. This is due to a difference in road distance to the nearest major town with a population of: greater 50,000 (MM 2); between 15,000 and 50,000 (MM 3); and between 5,000 and 15,000 (MM 4).

  8. The MMM is updated after each Census. The 2015 MMM was derived from 2011 ABS Census data.

    The current MMM was updated in 2019 using 2016 ABS Census data and geography information.

    The next ABS Census is in August 2021. The MMM will therefore be updated sometime after the 2021 Census. A specific date cannot be provided at this stage.

Rural Pharmacy Scholarship Mentor Scheme FAQ

  1. You will have to register on the Pharmacy Programs Administrator Portal in the role of a Mentor to be able to submit the Mentor Report and receive payment.

  2. You may choose if you wish to receive payment for participating in the Scheme. Honorariums of $375 per year per scholar are paid upon submission of a Mentor Report.

  3. Yes, as long as you are eligible to be a Mentor and can meet the participation requirements for each scholar, you can Mentor multiple scholars.

  4. You must have contact with the scholar on at least a quarterly basis. You should also work with the scholar to develop a Learning Plan for each academic year. You will also be required to submit a Mentor Report at the end of the year outlining the contact with the scholar and details about the rural health activities that the scholar has participated in.

  5. You can still provide a Mentor Report for the activities undertaken by the scholar that year up until the time the scholar failed or withdrew from the course. Depending on the time you mentored the scholar for, you may still receive payment.

  6. Ideally you and your scholar should endeavour to conduct at least one face-to-face meeting each academic year; however, it is recognised that there may be circumstances where distance may preclude face-to-face contact. Other forms of contact such as telephone and emails are also acceptable.