“Great learning experience. Health policy is a necessary topic for med students to learn and understand.” —Student in Understanding and Improving Our Health Care System


Medical and Nursing Student Opportunities

UMass Medical School's Center for Health Policy and Research develops and provides a number of opportunities for university medical, nursing, and graduate students to go beyond their traditional studies to learn about and participate in community medicine and public health programs. Student educational options include:

Clinical and Population Health Research Doctoral program 

This program focuses on developing researchers with strong core competencies in statistics, epidemiology, and research methodologies applicable to clinical trials and population health studies, and has a specific emphasis on public sector issues and vulnerable populations. Faculty from UMass Medical School's Center for Health Policy and Research teach core courses in the program and supervise students during lab rotations in health policy and health services research.

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Patient, Physician, and Society course 

The skills taught in this course include the medical interview; establishing and maintaining patient relationships; educating the patient; the physical exam; clinical reasoning and problem solving; medical ethics; and community medicine and public health. This course of study has three main components: small groups made up of two faculty members and nine to 11 students; the Longitudinal Preceptor Program (LPP), where students work alongside a practicing doctor, practicing the skills taught in the small group; and the Physical Diagnosis course, in which the principles of the normal and abnormal physical examination are taught and practiced.

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First-year community medicine clerkships

These two-week clerkships held each October, acquaint first-year medical and graduate nursing students with the basic principles of community medicine and key ways of approaching health policy issues at the community level. Faculty from UMass Medical School's Center for Health Policy and Research are involved in a number of the clerkships, including:

  • Adult and Pediatric Trauma and Injury Prevention
  • Refugee and Immigrant Health
  • Health Care Access for People with Disabilities
  • Correctional Health Care
  • Improving Access to Care in an Underserved Latino Community
  • Health Policy and Politics in Massachusetts
  • Adults with Intellectual Disability
  • Homelessness
  • Geriatrics

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During the summer between first and second year, interested medical students can spend six weeks participating in ongoing research projects and/or completing their own short-term studies. Other internship opportunities may also be available.

Massachusetts Health Policy Student Forum 

UMass Medical School students participate in the Massachusetts Health Policy Student Forum, which is designed to give advance graduate students in public health, medicine, nursing, and health policy direct access to the workings of state government. The Student Forum is organized by the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum and is located at the Heller School at Brandeis University. The Student Forum allows UMMS students to learn and collaborate with students from other universities. They also have an opportunity to meet with the senior legislative and state administrative officials to discuss the operations and responsibilities of state government.

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Optional enrichment electives 

These are optional courses for first- and second-year medical students. They are listed on students' transcript, but grades and credits are not given. UMass Medical School's Center for Health Policy and Research lead a number of these electives, including:

  • Understanding and Improving our Health care System
  • Adoption and Foster Care: Considerations for Medical Practice
  • Rural Health Scholars

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Senior Scholars program 

The goal of the Senior Scholars Program is to provide an introduction to the philosophy of research based on answering questions through

  1. hypothesis generation,
  2. information gathering,
  3. experimentation, and
  4. critical interpretation.

The program also provides a tool for growth in an evidence-based health care environment. Students can be placed at UMass Medical School's Center for Health Policy and Research for their senior scholars placement.

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Third-year interclerkships 

The multidisciplinary Interclerkships combine classroom teaching, workshops, panels, films, and interactions with standardized and real patients. The current Interclerkship roster includes 10 one-day courses on multiple topics including health policy and disabilities. UMass Medical School's Center for Health Policy and Research is involved in supporting a number of Interclerkships, including:

  • Health Policy and the Practice of Medicine
  • Disabilities Interclerkship
  • Multicultural Interclerkship
  • Others — Numerous faculty and staff participate as small group leaders during multiple interclerkship sessions.

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Key Staff

Michael Tutty    Michael Tutty, M.H.A.
Director, Office of Community Programs

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Michael Tutty
(508) 856-4350