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Population-Based Urban & Rural Community Health (PURCH) Track

The Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) Track is patient-centered, team-based, integrated within the community, and focused on healthcare disparities and population health.

PURCH Gets You Out of the Classroom, Into the Community

"PURCH adds another layer to my education—one not available in a classroom setting."

—Kathryn Norman, Class of 2021

Fast Facts about PURCH

PURCH is NOT just for those interested in primary care.
You’ll benefit from this innovative program whether your interest is primary care, specialty care, academia, or any medical career.

PURCH prepares you to be an expert clinician.
All medical schools teach you the science of medicine. PURCH also teaches you the art of medicine—applying that knowledge in the context of social determinants of health, with patients often marginalized by the healthcare system.

PURCH matriculates approximately 25 students a year.
You will join Brightwood House Learning as part member of the PURCH Track.

PURCH is based at Baystate Health—one of the largest academic health systems in New England. 
Classroom work in your first two years is primarily at the main campus in Worcester. Clinical training in years 3 and 4 takes place at the Baystate campus in Springfield.

How Does PURCH Compare to the Traditional MD Track?

PURCH follows the same traditional MD program curriculum—but is augmented by a focus on population health and healthcare issues specific to urban and rural communities.

Please visit the PURCH website for program details, and to meet the students and see what they are doing.

What Courses Will I Take at Each Campus?

Your time will be split between Baystate and the main campus in Worcester, and you will have Brightwood Learning Community spaces at both campuses.

PURCH campus logistics

How to Apply to the PURCH Track:

Application to the PURCH Track at UMass Medical School (UMMS) is made through the secondary application process. All applicants must select whether or not they wish to apply to PURCH.

Be sure to review our application process for additional details.

PURCH Interview Process:

Those applying to the PURCH Track will be reviewed for both the PURCH Track and the traditional MD program. MD/PhD applicants may also choose to be considered for PURCH.

If you are invited to interview, you will participate in a 2-day interview process that involved one day at the main campus in Worcester and another day at our regional campus in Springfield, UMMS-Baystate. MD/PhD applicants interviewing for PURCH will have a third interview day at our main campus in Worcester as well.

At each campus, you will participate in the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI), meet first and second year medical students and/or residents, receive an overview of UMMS and the PURCH Track, and take a tour of each campus. 

PURCH Selection Process:

There are approximately 25 spots available in the PURCH Track each admissions cycle.

For your PURCH application to move forward you must:

  • Confirm your interest in matriculating into the PURCH Track within ten days of your PURCH interview
  • Perform satisfactorily in the MMI at both campuses

Acceptance to the PURCH Track is a joint acceptance between your degree program (MD or MD/PhD) and the PURCH Track.

If you are not accepted into the PURCH Track, you will still be considered for the traditional MD program. The same goes for MD/PhD applicants applying to PURCH. 

PURCH Track Policies:

Be sure to review the policies on opting in or out of the PURCH Track before applying.

Please direct your questions about PURCH to the UMMS Office of Admissions at or 508-856-2323.

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