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Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH)

  • PURCH student shaking hands
  • PURCH First day Welcome
  • PURCH students on break
  • PURCH students teaching
  • PURCH Students MLK food justice
  • PURCH Clerkship Presentation
  • PURCH Class of 2021 Graduation

The Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) Track follows core Chan School of Medicine curriculum - but with a focus on population health, healthcare disparities and health issues specific to urban and rural communities.

Built By - and For - Our Communities

The lived experience of local residents is brought to all aspects of your PURCH education through our unique non-clinical Baystate Community Faculty who live, work, play, and pray in the communities we serve.

Not Just for Those Interested in Primary Care

Whatever medical specialty you wish to pursue, PURCH’s innovative approach to clinical practice, community engagement, and policy/advocacy provides a solid foundation upon which to build your career.

Gets You Out of the Classroom, Into the Community

Our innovative, immersive learning experiences with under-served populations - such as, veterans, inmates, and homeless shelter clients - teach you to apply population health concepts as an advocate, as well as a clinician.

"The PURCH community challenges, nurtures, and inspires me n my journey through medical school, and the lessons I learn from this group will stay with me throughout my career and life."

—Emily Gang, Class of 2024

Fast Facts about PURCH

PURCH's inaugural cohort of students graduated in 2021
All graduates matched to categorical residency programs - three returned to Baystate Health for their training.

PURCH matriculates approximately 25 students a year.
PURCH's smaller class size makes Brightwood House an exceptionally close learning community.

PURCH is based at the UMass Chan-Baystate regional campus in Springfield.  
For the first 18 months of training, you will spend 2-3 Wednesdays a month at Baystate Health - one of the largest academic health systems in New England.

Please visit the PURCH website for more information about the track. 

How to Apply to the PURCH Track:

Application to the PURCH Track at UMass Chan Medical School is made through the secondary application process. All applicants must select whether or not they wish to apply to PURCH.

Be sure to review our application process for additional details.

PURCH Interview Process:

Those applying to the PURCH Track will be reviewed for both the PURCH Track and the traditional MD program. MD/PhD applicants may also choose to be considered for PURCH.

If you are invited to interview, you will participate in a 2-day virtual interview process that involves a multiple mini interview (MMI) with the main campus in Worcester and another multiple mini interview (MMI) with our regional campus in Springfield, UMass Chan Medical School-Baystate. MD/PhD applicants interviewing for PURCH will have a third, traditional style interview at our main campus in Worcester with the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences as well.

PURCH Selection Process:

There are approximately 25 spots available in the PURCH Track each admissions cycle.

For your PURCH application to move forward you must perform satisfactorialy in the MMI at both campuses (and the traditional interview if MD/PhD). You will then have ten days to decide if you want to proceed as a PURCH candidate or opt out and into your degree progam of choice only.

Acceptance to the PURCH Track is a joint acceptance between your degree program (MD or MD/PhD) and the PURCH Track.

If you are not accepted into the PURCH Track, you will still be considered for the traditional MD program. The same goes for MD/PhD applicants applying to PURCH.

PURCH Track Policies:

Be sure to review the policies below on opting in or out of the PURCH Track before applying.

Please direct your questions about PURCH to the Chan School of Medicine's Office of Admissions at admissions@umassmed.edu or 508-856-2323.

 

PURCH Track Policies

Interested applicants are able to opt-in to the PURCH track even if they have already submitted their application. Applicants who applied to the PURCH track during the secondary application and wish to opt-out can do so, if they choose. Details on how to opt-in or opt-out of the PURCH track are outlined below.

A. Opting-in to the PURCH Track:

Opting-in prior to matriculation

~ PURCH is a Track within the Chan School of Medicine. Hence, there is only one offer of acceptance into the Chan School of Medicine. As PURCH is a Chan School of Medicine Track, applicants to PURCH have two interviews: one with the PURCH faculty and the other with members of the Chan School of Medicine. MD/PhD PURCH applications will have an third interview with the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences faculty/staff. An applicant accepted to the PURCH Track will matriculate in that tract unless a request to opt out is granted (see below).

~ An applicant may choose to apply to the PURCH Track after having submitted an application to the Chan School of Medicine. The applicant must contact the Chan School of Medicine's Office of Admissions (admissions@umassmed.edu or 508-856-2323) to update their PURCH secondary application to reflect their interest in applying to PURCH. The applicant must submit secondary application materials required by the PURCH admissions process.

Opting-in after matriculation

~ An accepted applicant who did not apply to the PURCH Track and has matriculated into the Chan School of Medicine as an MD or MD/PhD student may apply to join the PURCH Track. The reasons for the request must be made in writing to the Vice Provost for Student Life by the end of the first week of the academic year.

~ Part of the decision process depends on the capacity of the PURCH Track to accept more students. The process for approval for transfer to PURCH is as follows:

  • Student submits request in writing to the Vice Provost for Student Life (VPSL)
  • Student’s LC Mentor emails VPSL indicating that they have discussed the request with the student and that they support the request.
  • The VPSL presents the student’s request to the Associate Deans for Undergraduate Medical Education (ADUME) at UMass Chan Medical School and UMass Chan Medical School-Baystate, the Learning Communities Co-Directors and the Brightwood Learning Community Head of House (HoH), who collectively make up an ad hoc committee to respond to requests to opt in/out of PURCH. The student’s written request and the LC Mentor email of support are provided to the ad hoc committee.
  • If the committee approves the request, the proposal is brought to the Senior Associate Dean for Educational Affairs for final approval.

B. Opting-out of the PURCH Track:

Applicants may opt out of the PURCH Track through one of the following procedures and situations:

 Opting-out prior to matriculation:

~ An applicant who has not yet been accepted into the Chan School of Medicine may elect to opt out of the PURCH Track after the interview/visit to UMass Chan Medical School and Baystate and still be considered a candidate for Chan School of Medicine admission. The applicant must contact the Chan School of Medicine's Office of Admissions (admissions@umassmed.edu or 508-856-2323) to request this change in application status within 7 days of their PURCH Track interview. The applicant must state the reason(s) for the request in writing to the Chan School of Medicine's Office of Admissions.

~ An applicant who has already been accepted to the PURCH Track may later request to opt out of PURCH prior to matriculation and still remain in the SOM. The applicant must make the request and the reason(s) for the request in writing to the Chan School of Medicine's Office of Admissions (admissions@umassmed.edu or 508-856-2323). Decisions to grant such a request are made after discussions with the UMass Chan Medical School- Baystate Admissions Subcommittee.

 Opting-out after matriculation:

~ A student who has matriculated as a PURCH Track student may request to opt out of the PURCH Track and remain a student in the Chan School of Medicine. The reason(s) for the request must be made in writing to the Vice Provost for Student Life by the end of the first week of the academic year. The process for approval of a transfer out of PURCH following matriculation is the same as the process outlined above for opting-in to PURCH after matriculation.

C. Timing of Transfers in and out of PURCH:

 The PURCH Track is a longitudinal experience with integrated threads in the curriculum that are specific to the track. Additionally, students in the PURCH Track develop long-term mentoring and career development relationships with their LC Mentors. As such, transfer requests (in and out) must be thoughtfully considered and articulated with clear reasoning. These requests will only be entertained at specific times during the curriculum, to facilitate student progress and ensure student success within the PURCH Track curriculum.

Any request to opt in or out of PURCH must be made in writing with calendar year deadlines as noted in the full policy. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis following the guidelines set out above. Any student who is approved to opt out of PURCH for the CCE and/or AS year(s) would complete clinical rotations and required AS courses at Baystate.

Note:

  • At all transition points, students must articulate a clear reason for requesting the change
  • Entry/exit from PURCH cannot be related to mentor issues
  • Life-changing events may lead to change at other points than above, on a case-by-case basis
  • Flexibility is important in particular for students admitted late off the wait list

Revised and approved 4/16/18

 

PURCH Class Profiles

Explore the class profiles of the PURCH track!