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Determinants of Health-PURCH (DOH-P)

Includes Population Health Clerkship (PHC)

Curriculum Summary

DOH-PURCH (part of your First and Second Year) lays the foundation for understanding the many complex and interrelated factors affecting the health of individuals and populations.

Curriculum Details

DOH-PURCH builds upon the same curriculum content offered at the main campus.

Objectives include:

  • Develop a fundamental understanding of the determinants of health
  • Identify the relationships among community, culture, medical care systems, and the health of individuals and populations
  • Identify the role of biostatistical and epidemiological principles in clinical diagnosis and treatment, population health, and evaluating outcomes of healthcare services
  • Discuss and demonstrate the clinician’s role as advocate for the health of individuals and populations
  • Describe and demonstrate the clinician’s role as one member of the interprofessional healthcare team

In addition, DOH-PURCH provides a robust interactive curriculum on biases, and explores how unconscious biases can impact the care delivered to patients.

Educational Methods

Year 1

classroom-based lecture and small group discussion

The same education components as at the main campus are used.

experiential learning opportunities

DOH-PURCH provides valuable additional opportunities that lend insight into social determinants of health. You will visit a jail and a homeless shelter, and meet with and interview patients.

PURCH students participate in the DOH Epidemiology-Biostatistics course at the main campus.

Year 2

Population Health Clerkship (PHC)

PHC provides you with a meaningful 2-week community-engaged experience in western Massachusetts to complement your preclinical coursework.

This is an immersive experience—you will partner with a community-based organization that provides services in communities within Baystate Health’s primary catchment areas—Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties.

It is also an interprofessional experience—learners from other disciplines may be on your team. for example, the 2019 PHC experience includes pharmacy students.

To provide a meaningful longitudinal community-based experience, partners are identified who can expand upon topics covered in Determinants of Health (DOH) or DCS1-P. Examples may include: food insecurity, transportation justice, and veteran’s health and housing.

PHC explores public health concepts such as, the effects of social determinants on the health of the population served by your community organization, how to examine populations as units of care, and how you might apply knowledge and understanding of community resources to advocate for your population of focus.

Embedded in a community organization, you will gain an understanding of how different health professionals and other local advocates work separately, and collaboratively, within their communities.

As part of your PHC field experience you will work with a community faculty preceptor and an academic faculty preceptor to:

  • Collect, synthesize, and manipulate relevant population-level data
  • Identify interprofessional teams of care available to a population
  • Explore ways organizations can advocate for a population
  • Apply your knowledge toward a meaningful service project in the community

Throughout the two weeks you will reflect on your experiences and encounters with community members, advocates, and other organizations or care systems that you collaborate with.

At the end of the PHC, you will present to UMMS-Baystate faculty, Baystate Health leadership, and community stakeholders, with the goal of recommending actionable strategies to advocate for your population of focus.