You are using an older version of Internet Explorer that is not supported on this site. Please upgrade for the best experience.

Class of 2021Photo Album

Photo: Our inaugural cohort rocking their Brightwood House t-shirts
Browse a photo retrospective of their 4 years in PURCH.

Take a look
PURCH Class of 2021 in Yellow Brightwood House Shirts

Trailblazing PURCH Class of 2021 Graduates from UMass Medical School

June 07, 2021

The PURCH Class of 2021—the first cohort of medical students admitted into the Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health track—graduated on Sunday June 6, 2021 at UMass Medical School's 48th Commencement ceremony in Worcester.

PURCH Class of 2021 at Baystate Celebration

Congratulations to the New Doctors

Andrew Boylan, MD
Colton Conrad, MD
Juliana Dixon, MD
Kirstin Lee, MD
Wendy Ma, MD
Poornima Manikantan, MD
Elisabeth McGovern, MD
Caleb Noone, MD
Kathryn Norman, MD
Afua Nti, MD
Laura Schwartz, MD
Alay Shah, MD
Daniel Wenzel, MD
Kevin White, MD
Amanda Whitehouse, MD

These Trailblazers Led the Way

This important milestone was celebrated on June 5 at the Baystate campus where students, families, and friends were welcomed with remarks by Dr. Mark Keroack, President and CEO, Baystate Health and Dr. Andrew Artenstein, Regional Executive Dean, UMMS-Baystate.

The first-ever Trailblazer Awards, honoring this inaugural cohort for their instrumental role as co-creators of the PURCH track, were presented by Kevin Hinchey MD, Sr. Associate Dean for Education and Rebecca Blanchard PhD, Assistant Dean for Healthcare Education.

Four students not graduating this year also received the award: Emily Nuss and Tatiana Petrovich who were awarded Fullbright-Fogarty Fellowships, and Wanlu Xu and Prithwijit Roychowdhury who are taking a year away to do research.

Graduates also received a gift from the PURCH program—a compass engraved with "Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go." And, the first, second, and third year PURCH students showed their appreciation for the grads, giving them Brightwood House caps.

Students' Perspective on Their PURCH Experience

Laura Schwartz, speaking on behalf of the Class of 2021, shared reminiscences of their four years in PURCH—from memorable carpools to the sobering challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. She thanked the PURCH team and Baystate Community Faculty for their passion about health equity and dedication to the program and students.

Five awards created by the class were then presented to much cheering and applause.

UMMS-Baystate Faculty Mentorship Award

Brightwood House Learning Community Mentors: Drs. Sam Borden, Eric Churchill, Elizabeth Eagleson, Jacqueline Wu

UMMS-Baystate Resident Teaching Award

Dr. Mohammed Abozenah, Internal Medicine resident entering Cardiovascular Disease fellowship at UMMS-Baystate

UMMS-Baystate Faculty Teaching Award

Dr. James Gebhardt, Director, Gynecology Sub-intership, UMMS-Baystate

Community Faculty Award

Jenise Katalina, Children's Trust/Healthy Families Massachusetts


Justin Ayala, Program Coordinator, Undergraduate Medical Education, UMMS-Baystate

Following the ceremony, participants enjoyed boxed lunches and live music under the tents.


 > Springfield's UMass Medical School Baystate campus welcomes first students

 > Inaugural Class Celebrates PURCH Track's First Residency Match Day

 > Chancellor Collins to Class of 2021: ‘You are scientists, nurses and doctors at their best’

Voices of UMassMed podcast: Class of 2021 PURCH students Betsy McGovern, Afua Nti and Kevin White talk about what makes the program unique and how their experiences have prepared them to practice medicine.