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PURCH Curriculum: How is it Different?

The PURCH Track augments the traditional MD Track curriculum with an emphasis on population health, patient-centered community-based care, and innovative, immersive learning experiences.

Focus on Population Health and Urban and Rural Communities

"Understanding patients on a deeper level than just their illnesses"
—Colton Conrad, PURCH student

PURCH Student Betsy McGovern

Conversations with Convicts

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

"But gaining experience with hard questions is important."

Prepare to manage the health of both individuals and populations.

You will learn about health issues common to our urban and rural populations—and begin to explore the complex interwoven social and environmental factors that affect them.

Learn how to listen to community leaders and interprofessional colleagues, and apply population health concepts as clinicians and as advocates, to benefit under-served communities.

 > PURCH Course Descriptions

Patient-centered Care Integrated in the Community

"Appreciating the importance of prevention, rather than simply treatment of illness"
—Prith Roychowdhury, PURCH student

A patient is an individual, and also a member of a community.

The PURCH curriculum is designed with ongoing input from our community, so it closely reflects their needs and perspectives.

And you will connect with community organizations across all four years to really dig deeply into the health issues of western Massachusetts.

You will learn to broaden your focus to providing a continuum of care for an entire community—from disease prevention to intervention to management.

 > Meet Our Community-based Lay Faculty

Innovative, Immersive Learning Experiences

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

We get you out of the classroom and into the community.

Experiential learning provides opportunities to start thinking differently about the art of medicine.

You may meet with veterans, inmates, and homeless shelter clients to discuss their health experiences. Or shop at a bodega with food stamps to learn about the challenges of living in a food desert.

Guest lecturers include a local auto mechanic whose diagnosis of a car problem demonstrates the same reasoning process used when taking a medical history. Or learn from a news reporter how to use journalism techniques in medical interviewing.