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Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH)

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The Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) Track is patient-centered and integrated within the community. It focuses on population health, healthcare disparities and health issues specific to urban and rural communities.

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 other medical career.

PURCH matriculates approximately 25 students a year.
Now in its third year, PURCH has a total of 73 medical students.

PURCH is based at Baystate Health—one of the largest academic health systems in New England. 
Your time will be split between the two campuses.PURCH campus grid

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

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.