ADA DHF First Nations Study Grant are open for applications

Six First Nations students smiling at the camera with a blue ribbon running around them
Australian Dental Association
1 March 2024
5 min read
Grants and awards

Making career dreams come true can take a lot of time, effort and money.

To make things a little easier, the ADA Dental Health Foundation (ADA DHF) is offering up to four study grants, worth $5000 each, to students of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background who are undertaking a course of study that will lead to registration as a dental hygienist or an oral health therapist. 
The ADA DHF is a registered charity whose mission is to address the inequality between those Australians who can access the dental care they need, and those who can’t. As part of fulfilling that mandate, the First Nations Study Grants, previously known as the Indigenous Study Grants, offer students funding that may be used to cover costs of dental equipment, textbooks and to financially support students while they are on placements or living away from home. 

Hear from three past recipients on how the grants benefited them.

Kellie Gleeson (Grant recipient, 2020)
“In 2019 and 2020, as a proud Worimi woman, dental hygienist and student completing Oral Health Therapy, I was fortunate to receive the ADA DHF First Nations grants to assist in my goal to further my skills and education. Despite challenges brought on by COVID-19, the grants supported me in purchasing books, uniforms and engaging in placements.

“After my studies, I have been able to work within the NSW Health public sector, including the Awabakal and Eleanor Duncan Dental Services, teach as a Clinical Educator at the University of Newcastle, as well as engage as a committee member for the Australian Dental Council. Without the grants I would not have achieved where I am professionally today. In future, I plan to continue to advocate for culturally safe environments within the dental industry to improve oral health outcomes for First Nations People and all Australians.”

Courtney Kardell (Grant recipient, 2023)
“I was inspired to apply for this grant after reading about prior winners and learning of their success in achieving their goals.

“This grant assisted me in my completion of clinical placements, aiding in out-of-pocket costs for travel and accommodation. I really appreciate the support in achieving my goal and invaluable experience.

“I have strong family ties in the central and far west areas of NSW, and having worked in the dental industry for many years, I have seen firsthand the difficulties our rural communities face in achieving optimal oral health. I hope I am able to help make a difference.”

Ashley Bainbridge (Grant recipient, 2023)
“My goal in applying for the grant was to graduate from CQU [Central Queensland University] with a Bachelor of Oral Health with Distinction, while proudly representing my ancestral heritage as a First Nations Person.

“The inspiration behind my application for this grant was also its potential to help alleviate the financial stress associated with completing a full-time degree, which allowed me to focus on achieving my educational goals without the stress of employment.

“My aspirations are to work in regional and remote communities across Australia to help educate and promote the significance of oral health. A lifelong goal of mine is to devote my time and professional skills as a volunteer to unprivileged communities in other countries.”


Eligibility Requirements 

The ADA DHF Indigenous Study Grants will be open to applications from 1 March 2024 and close on 31 May 2024.  Successful applicants will be advised of the outcome in July 2024 during NAIDOC Week

To be eligible, applicants must be: 

- an Australian resident and of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background 

- currently enrolled in a program of study in Australia leading to registration as a dental hygienist or an oral health therapist 

- able to provide a reference from a representative of an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander organisation


To apply, complete the application form available on the ADA DHF website; applications will be reviewed by the ADA DHF’s review panel.  

For further information, please contact us on 1300 880978 or by email to [email protected]