PURCH Curriculum: How We're Different

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 rural 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.

PURCH Educational Purpose & Vision

Our Purpose

The purpose of the PURCH pathway is to use an innovative, community-centered, equity-focused, experiential curriculum to help students develop into physicians who have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to advocate for—and deliver equitable health care to—populations that are underserved and under-resourced.

We do this by:

Integrating the PURCH Principles into all facets of medical school training.

Immersing students in the communities we serve through the deep involvement of the Baystate Community Faculty and other community partners in all aspects of their medical education.

Inviting students into a community of practice of healthcare providers and community partners who model how to put PURCH principles into action in clinical care, community engagement/advocacy, and professional activities/career growth.

Delivering a solutions-focused health equity curriculum that provides opportunities to partner with community members to address real issues impacting people and health outcomes in the urban and rural communities in Western Massachusetts.

Our Vision

PURCH graduates embody the PURCH principles wherever they practice——they are excellent diagnosticians who are empathetic, team-oriented, self-reflective, and leaders that can be led.

They use the scholarly approach in patient care and community advocacy to create a more equitable healthcare system and transform the health of the patients and communities they serve.

Revolutionary fife and drum parade

A Wonderful Place To Be

Western Mass is a popular place to work, play and live - in every season!

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