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PURCH Curriculum: How We Are Different

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

We draw on five PURCH Principles to orient your education to the characteristics of physicians that our community members told us they would love to have.

Our coursework integrates these Principles into the core UMass Chan Medical School MD curriculum.

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.

How PURCH Augments the Core MD Curriculum

Innovative, Immersive Learning Experiences

PURCH Student Betsy McGovern

Difficult Conversations

Betsy McGovern found it difficult to talk about traumatic experiences, like domestic violence.

"But gaining experience with hard questions is important."

"PURCH adds another layer to my education - one not available in a classroom setting"
—Kathryn Norman, Class of 2021

Meet with veterans, inmates, and homeless shelter clients to discuss their health experiences. Or shop at a bodega to experience the challenge of living in a food desert.

Listen to an auto mechanic diagnose a car problem and see how he uses the same reasoning process as taking a medical history. Or learn from a news reporter how to use journalism techniques in medical interviewing.

Patient-centered Care within the Community

Broaden your focus from caring for an individual patient to providing a continuum of care—from disease prevention to intervention to management—for an entire community.

Focus on Population Health

You will learn to apply population health concepts—as a clinician and as an advocate—to common health issues in our under-served urban and rural populations.

Advocacy Pitches

Created for legislators and leaders as part of the Population & Community Health Clerkship

Watch here
2021 Population & Community Health Clerkship Presentation screenshot

Summer Community Health Assistantships

Take a look at PURCH students' posters of their summer-long community projects.
Vaccine Hesitancy in Springfield Communities of Color