Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme

The Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme (PHMSS) assists entry-level First Nations students to complete their studies and join the health workforce. From 1 July 2024, the scheme will transition to management by Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA).

Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) will lead a group of agencies including National Association of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners (NAATSIHWP), and the Rural Doctors Network (RDN) to manage the PHMSS from 1 July 2024, with no changes for current and future scholarship recipients.

About the initiative

The PHMSS provides financial assistance to approximately 100 First Nations undergraduate students annually. The PHMSS applies to students who study an entry-level course in a health-related discipline at:

  • University
  • Higher Education Provider
  • TAFE
  • Registered Training Organisation.

The PHMSS aims to:

  • improve the capacity and quality of the First Nations’ health workforce.
  • encourage health professionals to deliver outreach activities in regional, rural and remote locations.
  • improve the health outcomes of First Nations people living in regional, rural and remote locations.

Transitioning the PHMSS

The Australian Government recognises a need for the PHMSS to be delivered, developed and administered by First Nations people, who bring a deep understanding of students’ cultural needs and aspirations. 

This approach facilitates and supports:

  • stronger participation by First Nations people in the Health Workforce.
  • provision of Financial Assistance to students in health-related disciplines.
  • improved capacity and quality within the First Nations’ health workforce.
  • improved outcomes for First Nations people in regional, rural and remote locations.

This transition of PHMSS is guided by the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan (2021–2031) that commits to ongoing collaboration with First Nations stakeholders. It also commits to the implementation of co-designed initiatives to increase and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in the health workforce.

From 1 July 2024 management of the PHMSS will fully transition to Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) as a First Nations organisation.  IAHA was selected via an open competitive grant process that closed on January 22, 2024.

We acknowledge the ACN’s delivery of the PHMSS since 2002 and commit to ensuring a smooth transition, over the coming months.

Meeting our goals

In the 2023-24 Federal Budget, the Australian Government committed $1 million to support effective transition of the PHMSS to a First Nations-led organisation. with additional funding committed over the next three years to support ongoing delivery of the PHMSS.

Transition and ongoing management of the PHMSS to IAHA, as a First Nations led organisation, aligns with the Priority Reforms identified under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.


The new manager, IAHA was identified following a competitive grant process.  Further updates on the transition from ACN to IAHA will occur in coming months, with full transition to IAHA management from 1 July 2024.

Applications for future scholarships will be managed by IAHA from 1 July 2024.

Learn more

Australian College of Nursing Indigenous health scholarships

Contact (current participants)

Updated contact details for IAHA will be advised as transition of the PHMSS progresses.

For more information, see IAHA’s media release detailing announcement as the new manager of the PHMSS.

Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme transition contact

Contact the Australian College of Nursing for any questions about the current Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme.
Date last updated:

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