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FRAME was conceived at a meeting of rural medical academics from Australian medical schools held during the 7th National Undergraduate Rural Health Conference in August 2003 at Pinjarra, Western Australia. At this meeting it was recognised that there were many common areas of interest and importance for academics working in the Rural Clinical School (RCS) and Rural Undergraduate Support and Coordination (RUSC) Programs that were not able to be met in a focused way by other current national organisations.

Subsequently, three additional universities with Faculties of Medicine but without full Rural Clinical School status or recognition for funding (the University of Newcastle, the Australian National University and James Cook University) but with targeted rural medical student programs were admitted as members of FRAME.