Earns classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

January 5, 2009

WORCESTER, Mass.— The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), with its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care, has been selected for 2008 Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a recognition of the “collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities—local, regional/state, national, global—for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources.” While the Carnegie Foundation recognized 119 US colleges and universities with this classification, UMMS is the only medical school to earn this distinction as a “Community Engaged Campus.”

In their letter to the Carnegie Foundation, UMMS Chancellor Michael F. Collins, MD, and UMass Memorial CEO John G. O’Brien noted that “it is clear that our academic health sciences center shares with the Carnegie Foundation the belief that to be relevant, education must be focused on community needs.…For more than 30 years our faculty and students have forged far-reaching partnerships with a wide range of communities,…relationships that have informed, enriched, and strengthened our curriculum.”

Institutions were classified in one of three categories: curricular engagement (two institutions), outreach and partnerships (six), and curricular engagement and outreach and partnerships (111). UMMS was recognized for all three, as detailed in a 39-page document submitted to the Carnegie Foundation to provide descriptions and examples of practices of community engagement that showed alignment among mission, culture, leadership, teaching, resources and practices. According to the Carnegie Foundation’s criteria:

1. Curricular Engagement describes teaching, learning and scholarship which engage faculty, students and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration. Their interactions address community-identified needs, deepen students' civic and academic learning, enhance community well-being and enrich the scholarship of the institution.
2. Outreach and Partnerships describes two different but related approaches to community engagement. The first focuses on the application and provision of institutional resources for community use with benefits to both campus and community. The latter focuses on collaborative interactions with community and related scholarship for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration and application of knowledge, information and resources (research, capacity building, economic development, etc.).
3. Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships includes institutions with substantial commitments in both areas described above.

Among the examples cited to illustrate how UMMS and UMass Memorial engage with the community and deliver a message about the importance of such engagement to students, patients, staff and faculty were, partnerships such as those built by Commonwealth Medicine, a prominent role in the grassroots organization of Common Pathways, a community-wide coalition that is addressing health issues; the Medical School’s longstanding support of Mass AHEC; curricular engagement through programs such as Community Health Clerkships, Pathway on Serving Multicultural and Underserved Populations, and the Regional Science Resource Center; and outreach such as the work of the Infant Mortality Task Force, the student-run Center for Healthy Kids and the Nursing Pipeline Collaborative.

In addition, UMass Memorial Medical Center, under the direction of CEO O’Brien, has been instrumental in revitalizing the surrounding community in Worcester, particularly the economically challenged Bell Hill neighborhood adjacent to the hospital. Notably, the hospital engaged in a partnership with the City of Worcester, the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, the Worcester East Side Community Development Corporation and Home Ownership HomeWorks program to leverage $3 million in home purchases. This model program, available to hospital employees as first-time homebuyers, was a first-of-its-kind public/private partnership in the Commonwealth and is being replicated elsewhere; Mr. O’Brien was recognized for his efforts by the Office of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

The comprehensive documentation was compiled by a number of UMMS and UMass Memorial colleagues, notably Michele P. Pugnaire, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Educational Affairs; Michael E. Huppert, MPH, affiliate in family medicine & community health and pediatrics; Suzanne Cashman, ScD, associate professor of family medicine & community health; Monica Escobar Lowell, UMass Memorial Vice President for Community Relations; and representatives of the other UMass campuses.

“We hope that by acknowledging the commitment and accomplishment of these engaged institutions, the Foundation will encourage other colleges and universities to move in this direction. Doing so brings benefits to the community and to the institution,” said Carnegie President Anthony S. Bryk in a statement.

The four other University of Massachusetts campuses—Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell—now hold this classification as well.

For a list of institutions classified this year, go to:

About the University of Massachusetts Medical School
The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. The Medical School attracts more than $193 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts.