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PURCH Curriculum: How We're Different

PURCH Refocuses Your Medical School Training

Each course in PURCH fulfills the learning objectives established in the UMass Chan Medical School VISTA curriculum. The difference is that we emphasize health equity and the care of vulnerable populations by augmenting the core curriculum with our community-driven PURCH Principles and our innovative, immersive learning experiences.

PURCH Principles Guide How We Teach, Lead, Learn, and Connect

In developing the PURCH Track, we reached out to our community to learn what kind of physician they wanted. Together we defined these core qualities, which we call the PURCH Principles.

1. Excellent diagnostician

We are committed to the practice of clinical reasoning and diagnosis, seeking to understand our patient’s story and lived experience in the context of our medical knowledge.

2. Team-oriented
We value diversity and diverse voices on a team, drawing on expertise across professions, cultures, backgrounds, and experiences in order to create the best outcome.

3. Empathetic
We are deeply curious about the experiences and emotions of others, listening without judgment and trying to understand.

4. Self-reflective
We are deeply curious about our own biases and remain dedicated to a process of growth, being open to being wrong and inviting feedback from ourselves and others.

5. Leaders who can be led
We lead with humility and recognize our privilege among the various groups, committees, teams, and communities we serve, following expertise when it is not ours and actively contributing as team members.

Immersive Learning Experiences Get You Engaged With the Community

You will meet, speak with, and learn from, community members inside and outside of the classroom.

Caring for People Who are Incarcerated

Students visit the Hampden County Correctional Facility to interview inmates who have volunteered to share their family and social histories.

You will explore how individual and community factors impact the lives of patients and their families—with a particular emphasis on exposure to violence, substance use, and mental health.

Community Engagement Tour

Students explore diverse Springfield neighborhoods and community health centers and meet with Baystate Community Faculty at several service organizations.

You will learn about community needs, available resources, and ways to advocate for your new community.

Greenfield Rural Immersion

Students travel north to Franklin County (part of the Baystate service area)—the poorest and most rural county in Massachusetts.

You will meet with physicians and community workers to learn about rural medicine as well as the alcohol use and opiate use disorders that are prevalent in the area.

Food Justice Fair

Students get involved in critical service-learning right from the start, working with the Martin Luther King Jr Family Services emergency food pantry.

You will organize and conduct a Food Justice Fair twice a year, bringing together other health profession students and social service agencies from the region to provide health education, resources, and linkages to services needed for healthy living.

PURCH Day on the Hill

Students and their community partners travel to the Massachusetts State House in Boston to meet with legislators.

You will learn about legislative advocacy and how to advocate for solutions to social and health inequities that are a priority to our community.