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First PURCH Student Kevin White is First to Match to Residency

February 22, 2021
Navy Ensign Kevin White

Kevin White was born at Baystate Medical Center and raised in Springfield, MA. He didn't see many Black physicians growing up, but nonetheless, says he has wanted to go to medical school since he was a kid.

In June he will accomplish that goal when he graduates from UMass Medical School in the inaugural class of the Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health program at the UMMS-Baystate regional campus.

White was the first student admitted to PURCH in 2016, and is the first to learn where he matched for his residency.

He's in the Navy Now

White will serve his internal medicine residency at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. As a Navy ensign, White participated in the military match on January 6, 2021, a couple months earlier than the general residency match.

Coincidentally, Regional Executive Dean Andrew Artenstein, MD also trained in internal medicine at Walter Reed and completed an infectious disease fellowship there.

Early in his first year as a medical student, White recalls speaking to Artenstein about being a military physician.

“He probably doesn’t remember, but he told me that it was one of the greatest experiences of his life, which kind of influenced me.”

But the biggest impetus came from White’s barber, a Navy vet, who encouraged him to look into the military. He decided the Navy was the right situation for him after learning about the opportunities to expand his horizons and develop skills to “become the leader I want to be in the future.”

A True PURCH Pioneer

As the very first PURCH student, White admits he knew very little about the track going in but was excited to be a pioneer in a new program. And he liked that it was near his family and the community where he grew up.

He ended up thinking the faculty and the program was “awesome.”

"The way PURCH cultivates students into physicians is one of the best ways to do it in terms of the mindset, the way of thinking about patients."

White is also grateful to his learning community mentor, Sam Borden, MD, whose long experience as a residency director was very helpful.

“He has your back. Any concerns or questions you can always reach out to him. He really does care, and it shows.”

His Heart is in Cardiology

White is currently doing a cardiology elective at Baystate Medical Center and hopes to enter cardiology sub-specialty training after residency. As a cardiologist he believes he can positively impact the inequities and disparities in cardiovascular health experienced by minority populations.

Another factor is the sense of familiarity and safety he feels can bring to minority patients as an African American physician. As an example, White relates walking into a male African American’s hospital room and noticing how delighted the patient was to see him, a Black healthcare provider.

“My presence there was a sense of safety. I think he felt that now he would get the care he needed, and everything would be all right.”

White has also been involved in cardiovascular research with Quinn Pack, MD during his time in PURCH. He is now working with Fellow John Kadado, MD on a project on the utility of echocardiograms, which they hope to publish in the next few months.

"The Navy will be lucky to get him," says his mentor, Dr. Borden. "Though I ardently hope he will return to the Pioneer Valley once he completes his training. His skills and drive predict an amazing future for soon-to-be Dr. Kevin White!”