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Med-Peds Chief Residents' Message

Welcome to UMMS-Baystate’s Med-Peds Residency Program at UMMS-Baystate—the leading tertiary care center in Western Massachusetts—with a catchment area extending into New York, Vermont, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.

Beyond making lifelong friends and colleagues, a successful residency is about preparing outstanding physicians in any of the diverse career paths available to Med-Peds trained physicians. We are excited for you to explore why we are genuinely so proud to be here for our training.

The Education

Resident education at UMMS-Baystate is unique in that the primary responsibility of both our academic Internal Medicine and Pediatric attendings is to teach residents.

We have an innovative Learner-Manager-Teacher educational model that allows us to develop graduated autonomy and confidence in caring for our patients. As Learners, we are supervised by our senior residents and attendings who help foster our practical and clinical reasoning skills. In our second year, we become Managers and work one-on-one with our attendings, which allows us to develop our own approaches to treating patients under the guidance of the attending. Then as Teachers, we come full circle, focusing on our own teaching skills as we help instruct our junior residents in caring for our patients.

There are many opportunities provided by the program to get involved in research, QI projects, case reports-including our dedicated case-report curriculum- poster presentations, and formal oral presentations. Additional opportunities are available to learn and practice skills in ultrasound, advocacy, teaching, and mentorship. Weekly protected time is set aside for our academic half day didactics, which consist of interactive lectures given by both attending and residents, giving us direct opportunities to help shape our own education, in addition to adding opportunities for educational mentorship.

We are proud to be an integral part of our dedicated med-peds clinic, Mason Square, which was one of the first combined med-peds residency clinics in the country! Mason Square not only strives to provide excellent primary care for one of the lowest income and medically complex neighborhoods in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it also has a wealth of onsite resources including, laboratory and radiology services, tuberculosis clinic, procedure clinic, diabetes clinic, WIC, optometry, and dental services. We have a diverse patient population and are privileged enough to take care of patients from many different countries and backgrounds. There is a saying in our program that if you can practice primary care at Mason Square, you will be able to practice primary care anywhere in the world!

You will find many of our graduates in careers ranging from local to global, urban to rural, generalist to sub-specialist. Our residents receive dedicated support from our program administration and faculty to help us reach our career aspirations. Given the strong Med-Peds presence at Baystate, there is hospital wide appreciation and support for our program’s trainees within both the Med-Peds and categorical programs. We truly believe no matter the career you are working towards, UMMS-Baystate will readily prepare you and help advance your journey toward your goals.

A note about Baystate’s anti-racism efforts

Baystate is dedicated to maintaining a safe workplace for all and working toward eliminating systemic racism on both a local and national level. Our efforts involve people from all facets of the Baystate community from our CEO to our office of Diversity and Inclusion, from the inpatient setting to our community health centers to our faculty and trainees.

As a program, our trainees helped create an anti-racist working group along with our categorical internal medicine and pediatric colleagues which spans across all three residencies, and we are expanding to include all residency programs in this endeavor. We have done this with enthusiastic support from our faculty. Together, we are working to pioneer an anti-racist curriculum using literature, restorative justice training, partnering with community organizations and fostering mentorship throughout all levels of medical education. This includes our Baystate Springfield Educational Partnership for local high school students and our UMASS PURCH medical students. Additionally, we are developing a bystander/upstander curriculum for trainees and faculty members.

The COVID-19 pandemic further exposed the health care disparities that are prevalent in our country. Some of our current initiatives that residents are working on through our Med-Peds clinic are creating longitudinal partnerships between community organizations and residents to better understand the needs of our community while providing evidence based medicine. We are creating a multilingual grassroots campaign for COVID-19 education with the hope to create a sustained discussion about the important issues relevant to our community. We are committed in our continued efforts toward eliminating healthcare disparities as well as promoting a more equitable, safe healthcare system for all patients and for our colleagues, both future and current.

The People

If you were to poll our residents about what brought them to Baystate, you will often hear about the people.

Our program comprises eight residents per class whose hometowns span across the continent. For many of us, Baystate is our home away from home and our family atmosphere stems from tight-knit bonds developed across the different classes so that we are constantly surrounded by many pillars of support. These relationships start with the numerous social events, welcome BBQs, and camping trips at the beginning of intern year—when social distancing rules allow—and continue with ongoing social events including our annual switch party and resident retreats, grounded in a foundation of everyday teamwork.

Here, we foster educational growth and medical competency in an atmosphere that equally emphasizes resident wellbeing. Our culture at Baystate places a strong emphasis on wellness and support which comes in a variety of forms. Every intern is paired with a Med-Peds peer mentor from the beginning of the year to guide them through the inevitable ups and downs of internship. Many of these mentor-mentee relationships have continued beyond residency, which is a testament to the strength of the bonds formed during these years. We also form strong relationships with our categorical internal medicine and pediatric residents, with whom we are working side-by-side throughout residency. In addition to having approachable and supportive staff, this support ranges from resident retreats, academic half day sessions, wellness days, and access to mental health services when needed.

And when we’re not at the hospital, you will find us having dinner together, hiking, planning birthday parties, visiting any of the local orchards/wineries/breweries, enjoying Thunderbirds games, going to the beach, sailing or exploring nearby cities!

Our supportive family does not stop with the residents. Our beloved program directors and coordinators all provide unending administrative, clinical, career, and emotional guidance when we need it most with an open door policy. Not to mention, the Med-Peds office is always well-stocked with espresso and snacks! Being one of the largest residency programs at Baystate, we are fortunate to have an established presence where we are taught by many med-peds trained faculty who have graduated from Baystate as well.

The Community

Western Massachusetts is a fantastic place to live!

Springfield itself has many things to offer including museums, historical sites, the Basketball Hall of Fame, MGM casino, the annual New England “Big E” fair, and a variety of delicious restaurants to hit up after work. As you head north into the Pioneer Valley, you can find yourself exploring the bustling New England towns of Easthampton, Holyoke, Hadley, and Amherst, each with great eats, bakeries, or ice cream.

A unique town that is a must-see is Northampton, voted as one of the Best Small Cities in America in 2018. There are many nearby areas for hiking, swimming, skiing, and biking to keep you busy at all times of the year. To the west, the Berkshires have a long history as an arts destination, with destinations like Tanglewood (the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home), Jacob’s Pillow for dance, and Mass MoCA for modern art. As you head south into Connecticut, you will pass the perfectly groomed sidewalks in Longmeadow, grab a season pass to Six Flags, find yourself at the summer concert series at Xfinity Theatre, or enjoying a Broadway Touring Company at The Bushnell Theatre.

Our location also makes it convenient to travel for a day or weekend away to cities such as Boston, Saratoga, Providence, and NYC. We are 30 minutes away from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT, which makes long-distance or international travel very accessible.

We Welcome Your Questions

No matter where you end up training to become an Internal Medicine-Pediatrics physician, it is an extremely rewarding and worthwhile career! Here at UMMS-Baystate Med-Peds residency, we are proud to be known as some of the happiest residents in the country. We hope that we have gotten you excited about applying to our program and we look forward to meeting you soon.

If you have any questions about Baystate or Med-Peds in general, we would be happy to help you! Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions.

Sincerely,

Crystal, Kathryn, Julieta
Med-Peds Chief Residents, 2021-2022

Dr. Crystal Cobb
Dr. Kathryn OBrien Dr. Julieta Rodriguez

Crystal Cobb, DO
email Crystal

Kathryn O'Brien, DO
email Kathryn

Julieta Rodriguez, MD, MPH
email Julieta