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University of Massachusetts Medical School

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An Introduction to UMass Medical School
Welcome to the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), the commonwealth's first and only public academic health sciences center.

Our mission is to advance the health and well-being of the people of the commonwealth and the world through pioneering education, research and health care delivery with clinical partner UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts.

  • UMMS was founded in 1962 to provide affordable, high-quality medical education to state residents and to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in underserved areas of the state.
  • Consistently ranked by U.S.News & World Report as one of the leading medical schools in the nation for primary care education.
  • One of the fastest-growing research institutions in the country, with federal and private research grants and contracts exceeding $200 million in fiscal year 2009.
  • Enhancing health and science education, ensuring community health, building a diverse workforce and enriching lives through extensive community outreach.
  • Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, one of five University of Massachusetts campuses.
The three UMMS graduate schools are the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing.
  • The School of Medicine is committed to training in the full range of medical disciplines, with an emphasis on practice in the primary care specialties, in the public sector and in underserved areas of Massachusetts.
  • Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences students receive a broad background in the basic medical sciences and are trained in their selected specialty area in preparation for research with direct relevance to human disease.
  • The Graduate School of Nursing offers master's, post-master's and doctoral degrees, providing high quality education to prepare registered professional and advanced practice nurses within nurse practitioner and nurse educator specialties and for faculty, research and other nursing leadership positions.
UMMS is a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research.
  • In 2006 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to UMMS professor Craig C. Mello, PhD, and his colleague Andrew Fire, PhD, of Stanford University, for their discoveries related to RNA interference (RNAi), a cellular process that offers astounding potential for understanding and, ultimately treating, human disease.
  • Our research programs are central to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, with major funding from the $1 billion Massachusetts Life Sciences Bill signed into law in 2008.
  • Our researchers have made pivotal advances in HIV, cancer, diabetes, infectious disease, and in understanding the molecular basis of disease.
  • The UMMS Advanced Therapeutics Cluster includes the RNAi Institute, Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and the Gene Therapy Center.
We invite you to learn more about why UMass Medical School is a great place to work and study.

A brief history:
A state-supported public medical school for Massachusetts was established by the commonwealth in July of 1962; the founding dean, Lamar Soutter, was appointed in December of 1963 and began the execution of a vision for an extraordinary medical school. "I think that if you're starting a medical school from scratch," he said at the time, "you can say alright, let's get this science of medicine very firmly rooted in the students' minds-but then let's take them back to the bedside and make them much better practitioners and much more interested in taking care of human beings even though they are making full use of laboratory procedures and scientific advances."

Although the location in Worcester as a campus of the University of Massachusetts wasn't selected until 1965, preliminary accreditation and the recruitment of core faculty during the construction process meant that the first class of 16 students entered in the fall of 1970, beginning their studies in a former warehouse at the corner of Lake Avenue and Belmont Street (a building still used today by UMMS). By the time the first class graduated in 1974, the new medical science building was in use, followed by the teaching hospital, which opened in 1976. The growth of the school and its clinical system coincided neatly with support for basic science research and while the school remained true to its mission of training primary care physicians, by 1979 it had established a PhD program in the biomedical sciences, which became a school in its own right, followed by the Graduate School of Nursing, which opened in 1986.

A period of expansion began in 1990 with the appointment of Aaron Lazare as dean and, subsequently, chancellor, who would go on to become one of the longest-serving leaders of a medical school in the US by the time he stepped down in 2007. With the acquisition of the former Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research and the Massachusetts Biologic Laboratories and the spinoff of hospital operations into a new clinical system, the campus entered a period of unprecedented growth.

A new research building opened in 2001 and the original medical school and hospital buildings were extensively renovated and expanded to include new meeting, educational, emergency and surgical spaces. Research funding grew for a time at a rate faster than any other academic health sciences center in the country, fueled by recruitment of basic science faculty drawn to UMMS' prominence in several fields, including gene function and expression; gene development; biochemistry; and molecular medicine. In 2006, UMMS professor Craig C. Mello, PhD, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, shared with Stanford researcher Andrew Fire, PhD, for their discovery of the mechanism of gene silencing by double-stranded RNA, which they termed RNA interference.

The Nobel Prize drew attention and support to UMMS throughout the commonwealth; the University of Massachusetts created a Life Sciences Task Force that proposed a series of strategic investments in biomedical sciences education, research and infrastructure across the five campuses; many of these recommendations were mirrored in the Commonwealth's own Life Sciences Initiative, a ten-year, billion-dollar plan for investment.

The Life Sciences Task Force was chaired by Michael F. Collins, MD, at the time interim chancellor at UMMS and senior vice president for the health sciences at the University. Along with Terence R. Flotte, MD, a prominent figure in the field of gene therapy, who became UMMS' eighth dean in 2007, Collins has overseen the latest phase in campus development and investment, including the expansion of the medical school class size to its current cohort of 125; investment in educational technology and infrastructure, and expansion in clinical and translational science, which began with the establishment of a PhD program in Clinical and Population Health in 2005; the creation of the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences in 2009; and the receipt of an NIH Clinical and Translational Award in 2010.

Two major facilities investments on the UMMS campus have laid the groundwork for the next generation of life sciences education and research: the 278,000 square-foot Ambulatory Care Center, home to Centers of Excellence in Diabetes, Cardiovascular Medicine, Orthopedics and Cancer, which opened in 2010; and the 500,000 square foot Albert Sherman Center, scheduled to open in 2012, which will house state of the art facilities for medical education, including homes for the learning communities; the standardized patient program; dedicated seminar and conference space; in addition to six floors of wet and dry laboratory space for new research initiatives in population health, RNA biology, gene therapy and stem cell research.

UMass Medical School milestones

  • 1962: Legislation establishes University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • 1970: First medical students begin classes in Shaw Building
  • 1974: First class graduates 16 MDs
  • 1979: PhD program begins
  • 1986: Graduate School of Nursing opens
  • 1986: PhD program becomes Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  • 1994: Graduate School of Nursing initiates PhD program
  • 1998: UMass Clinical System and Memorial Health Care merge to form UMass Memorial Health Care
  • 2001: Lazare Research Building opens
  • 2002: Campus Modernization begins on the University Campus
  • 2004: Graduate Entry Pathway Program established at the Graduate School of Nursing
  • 2005: PhD Program in Clinical & Population Health Research established at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  • 2005: Massachusetts Biologic Laboratories opens new manufacturing and filling facility in Mattapan
  • 2006: Craig Mello, PhD, Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, is awarded the Medical School's first Nobel Prize. Dr. Mello shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Andrew Fire, PhD, of Stanford University, for their discoveries related to RNA interference.
  • 2007: Michael F. Collins, MD, is named chancellor and Terence R. Flotte, MD, is named dean of the School of Medicine.
  • Fall 2009: Groundbreaking for the Albert Sherman Center, a 500,000-square-foot research and education facility slated for completion in 2012.
  • 2010: Ambulatory Care Center opens

Welcome to the University of Massachusetts Medical School
As the commonwealth's only public medical school, we take seriously our mission to serve the people of Massachusetts. We welcome the responsibilities we face in caring for their needs. We meet these challenges by providing clinical staff for public and private institutions, emphasizing training in the primary care specialties and encouraging graduates to practice in the state's underserved areas.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School's (UMMS) educational mission stems from its founding in 1962 to provide affordable, high-quality medical education to qualified residents of the commonwealth. With that goal as its cornerstone, UMMS' educational mission has expanded to include residency and fellowship training, graduate education in nursing and the biomedical sciences, training in allied health professions, and continuing education for health care practitioners.

Our students are highly motivated, intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate. They volunteer to work with community organizations and are fully imbued with the school's commitment to public service. Our faculty have developed a curriculum designed to stimulate and support students in the acquisition of advanced knowledge and skills, while instilling compassionate attitudes and values so that they may best serve their patients.

In the area of research, UMMS has achieved world-class status. Research is conducted in the laboratory, ambulatory clinic and at the bedside, contributing significantly to medical science and to the state's economy, as well as enhancing our ability to attract outstanding faculty members for all three schools. Extramural research funding totals more than $200 million. As our researchers continue to make discoveries and explore new avenues of inquiry, we continue to grow with exceptional principal investigators conducting clinical and basic research in such areas as cancer, molecular genetics, neurobiology, chemical biology and immunology.hooding.JPG

In all that we do, we place the highest priority on respect for the dignity and diversity of the members of the Medical School community - patients, students, faculty, employees and volunteers. We are committed to supporting their professional, intellectual and emotional growth so they may have the opportunity to fulfill their potential and achieve their goals.

Educational Objective
Since accepting its first class in 1970, the primary responsibility of the School of Medicine has been to provide our students with an accessible, comprehensive and personally rewarding medical education of the highest quality and one which optimally prepares them to excel as tomorrow's physicians--caring, competent, productive and fulfilled in their chosen career serving a diversity of patients, communities and the health sciences.

The school is committed to training in the full range of medical disciplines, with an emphasis on practice in the primary care specialties, in the public sector and in underserved areas of Massachusetts. Our educational program, nationally recognized for excellence in primary care training by U.S.News & World Report, has benefited from recent investments in state-of-the-art educational technology and medical simulation, and an array of expanded elective offerings to complement our new competency-based curriculum. Our education program provides outstanding clinical training and preparation for graduates' diverse career choices beyond medical school, whether in primary care or the medical specialties, and our fast-paced growth and leadership in health science research offers exceptional research opportunities for our students.

The medical school's educational mission is enhanced by over 45 accredited residency and 28 fellowship programs; the awarding of over 31,000 continuing medical education certificates to date to the region's health care professionals; cooperative degree programs with area colleges and universities; diverse community-based education programs across the state of Massachusetts;

outstanding achievements in basic and clinical research in the health sciences; and our Commonwealth Medicine initiative, dedicated to serving the state's broad community of health care and service agencies. As the Commonwealth's only public medical school, UMMS places an emphasis on partnerships with the community, creating opportunities for students to learn in and contribute to serving Massachusetts communities and the care of our vulnerable populations.

The School of Medicine's educational program has been enriched through national grant awards that promote quality, innovation and national distinction in medical education. Over the past 10 years, these awards have included:

  • Integrated Geriatrics Education: A Model Curriculum across the Medical Education Continuum, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Aging and Quality of Life Program (2009-2012), addressing the special health care needs of the elderly through targeted, comprehensive curricula.
  • NIDA Centers of Excellence for Physician Information, National Institute for Drug Abuse (2007-2009), providing targeted curriculum in prescription drug abuse education.
  • Marrow for Tomorrow, Association of American Medical Colleges Caring for Community grant (2005-2007), a student-led initiative to increase the representation of underserved minority populations in the marrow donor pool through outreach and education.
  • AMA Medical Education Research Consortium, American Medical Association (2005-2007), a national consortium of medical schools dedicated to furthering rigorous research in medical education, with a focus on the "art of medicine" competencies.
  • Stemmler Medical Education Grant, National Board of Medical Examiners (2003-2005) investigating the use of standardized patients in assessing medical students' behaviors and skills in the domain of professionalism.
  • Educational Development for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, (2003-2007), integrating educational objectives and curricula in complementary and alternative medicine into the mainstream of the Medical School curriculum.
  • A Comprehensive Approach to Sexual Health in Undergraduate Medical School Curricula, Pfizer, Inc. (2001-2003), promoting the development of curricular innovations in sexual health.
  • Enhancing Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine Education in Undergraduate Medical Education, AAMC/John A. Hartford Foundation (2001-2003), dedicated to enhancing our students' preparedness and commitment to care for the needs of the elderly.
  • Macy Initiatives in Health Communication, Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation (1998-2006), a multi-staged project designed to catapult communication skills into the mainstream of medical education.
  • Undergraduate Medical Education for the 21st Century Associate Partnership (1998-2001), promoting teaching and understanding about our changing health care systems, medical care delivery models and health policies.

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences trains students as scientists through laboratory research relating to human disease, and as educators by promoting service as faculty members in institutions devoted to the medical sciences. UMMS-trained research scientists also play a key role in the Commonwealth's vital biotechnology industry.

The Graduate School of Nursing offers master's, post-master's and doctoral degrees, providing high quality education to prepare registered professional and advanced practice nurses within nurse practitioner and nurse educator specialties and for faculty, research and other nursing leadership positions.

Currently supporting more than 300 investigators, the growth of the UMMS research enterprise has led to stimulating advancements in the treatment of disease and injury, as UMMS scientists undertake research to discover the causes of and cures for the most devastating diseases of our time.

Accomplished faculty members include a Nobel Prize winner; a Lasker Award recipient; two members of the National Academy of Sciences; a member of the Royal Society; five Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators; Banting Medal awardees; Pew and Keck scholars; MERIT awardees; a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; cancer research award recipients, and many other winners of scientific accolades.

Today, UMMS is proud to be at the forefront of the commonwealth's life sciences initiative, having received funding in 2007 and 2008 to establish an Advanced Therapeutics Cluster (ATC) on campus. To be housed in the Albert Sherman Center, the ATC will bring together an interdisciplinary group of research faculty and physician-scientists in three interconnected research clusters-stem cell biology, RNA biology and gene therapy.

RNA studies at UMMS are conducted by world leaders in the field; to direct gene therapy initiatives, UMMS recruited an internationally recognized researcher in 2008. And in the realm of stem cell biology, the institution launched the Stem Cell Bank and Stem Cell Registry, two separate but complementary infrastructure programs that are fundamental to the advancement of today's cutting-edge biomedical research.

University of Massachusetts Medical School Degree Programs :


  • Master Degree
  • MD Anaesthesiology
  • MD Anatomy
  • MD Biochemistry
  • MD Community Medicine
  • MD Dermatology
  • MD Emergency Medicine
  • MD General Medicine
  • MD Microbiology
  • MD Paediatrics
  • MD Pathology
  • MD Pharmacology
  • MD Physiology
  • MD Psychiatry
  • MD Radiodiagnosis
  • MD Skin & V.D
  • MD TB & Chest Diseases
  • Doctorate/PhD
  • MD/PhD


  • Master Degree
  • Graduate Entry Pathway
  • Pre-master's Pathway
  • Traditional Master's Pathway
  • Post-master's Certificate
  • Doctorate/PhD
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Nursing
  • BSN to PhD Pathway

Video Presentation

UMass Medical School - 2011 second-year oath ceremony

Second-year School of Medicine students stood before family, friends and faculty and vowed to "care for [their] patients, improve their health, and enhance their quality of life" by pursuing ideals as caregivers, listeners, lifelong learners, teachers, colleagues, persons and members of the community. They made this vow on Tuesday, April 5, at their Second-Year Oath Ceremony, the formal event that marks their educational transition from the classroom to the clinic.

Contact Details

Address: 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, Massachusetts 01655


(508) 856-8989

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