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UMass Medical School, Baystate Health celebrate launch of regional campus

Officials tour new 6,300-square-foot educational space in Springfield

Officials from UMass Medical School, Baystate Health, UMass Amherst and the City of Springfield gathered Thursday in Springfield to celebrate the official launch of the medical school’s first regional campus in Western Massachusetts.

“I believe that when things are natural they work much better and it seems so natural for our medical school to have a relationship with Baystate Health Care,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins.

The new facility, called UMass Medical School-Baystate, signifies the commitment of the state’s only public medical school to medical education throughout the commonwealth, Chancellor Collins said.

The new 6,300-square-foot educational space will be located on the top floor of the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute building on Main Street in Springfield. The facility will include classrooms, a kitchen, offices and support facilities. Students will start attending classes in the new facility in August 2017.

In addition to the new campus, the medical school has created a curriculum track focused on training primary care doctors in both urban and rural community health. The Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health program (PURCH) signifies the continuing institutional commitment to developing future primary care physicians, Collins said. The School of Medicine is in the process of admitting the first class of PURCH students.

“I believe we’re unique in offering, through the PURCH track, both urban and rural primary care practice opportunities, which is reflective of the physician health care needs in the western part of Massachusetts,” said Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, dean of the School of Medicine, executive deputy chancellor and provost at UMMS.

To create more opportunities for future physicians and in response to the shortage of primary care physicians nationwide, UMMS has increased the number of students it accepts each year for its medical degree program to 162 slots. Of those, 25 will be designated for the PURCH program. Hundreds of applicants, several of whom are from Western Massachusetts, have indicated an interest in participating in the program, according to Dean Flotte.

“We know in medicine that where you train is, quite likely, where you will practice. Students who will go to Worcester for their sciences and then come to Baystate for their clinical experience will, hopefully, train in this area and have a much greater likelihood of practicing here,” Collins said.

Mark A. Keroack, MD, MPH, president and CEO of Baystate Health, called the launch a historic day for Baystate Health and the city of Springfield, remarking that the partnership with UMMS helps to cement the medical center’s commitment to medical education.

The partnership will create an Institute for Integrated Health Care Delivery Research as a collaborative effort between UMMS and its Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Baystate Health, and UMass Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS). The partner institutions are exploring the creation of an MD/MPH program, building on the Amherst campus’s recent moves to increase its presence in Springfield. The partnership is expected to increase the availability of clinical trials for patients in Western Massachusetts, with the establishment of a new Center for Clinical Trials, which will offer opportunities across the Baystate Health system for patient participation in such trials, and which will use the findings to drive advances in delivery of the latest cutting edge therapies to patients in Western Massachusetts.

See full coverage of the event:
Masslive: Baystate Health welcomes UMass Medical School campus to Springfield with goal to train docs who’ll practice in Western Massachusetts
22 News: University of Massachusetts Medical School to open Springfield Campus
Worcester Business Journal: UMass Medical School opening Springfield location