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Bootcamp for Med Students: Do You have What it Takes to be a PURCH doctor?

August 16, 2021
Boot camp wall climbing

Medical students in the Class of 2025 attended bootcamp early this month to prepare themselves for immersion in the innovative community-centered Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) track.

The daylong orientation brought together students, community, and faculty to begin laying the groundwork for students to become the type of physicians the community wants and needs.

Rather than 100-mile hikes with 50 lb. packs, students were challenged to think about personal biases, social injustices, and healthcare disparities—and their roles as advocates for their community.

Bootcamp Grounds First-year Students in PURCH Culture

Getting to Know Self and Others

Sarah McAdoo, Director of Health Equity Education and Practice, guided students in exercises to identify their personal values and beliefs and understand how they influence bias—especially hidden biases.

They explored the concept of intellectual humility—the power of NOT knowing—and practiced the skills of curiosity and questioning to better learn from others.

Getting to Know the Community

This session prepared students for meaningful community engagement and relationship building by recognizing community members as experts—after all, they live, work, play, worship, and age in the communities which Baystate serves.

Baystate Community Faculty member Lisa Clinton shared her experiences with health care as a woman and person of color. She feels that doctors make assumptions about her health literacy, speak to her in a condescending manner, and cut her off when she's speaking.

"I saw [joining BCF] as an opportunity to...start rebuilding trust between the community and our healthcare system. Trust is difficult to gain and can be easily broken."

Getting to Know PURCH

What does it mean to become a PURCH physician? A PURCH doctor is an excellent diagnostician who is empathetic, reflective, team-oriented, and a leader who can be led.

Upper class PURCH students joined Eric Churchill, Brightwood House learning mentor, to share with first year students how the unique PURCH culture is created and what it looks like to apply PURCH principles in practice.