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November 8, 2023

UMass Chan adds VA clinic training to required curriculum

PHOTO | Courtesy of UMass Chan Medical School Second-year medical students and UMass Chan faculty in front of the VA clinic on campus during a new initiative that requires students to learn about veteran experiences through training at the clinic.

UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester will now require all medical students to complete a two-day training at the Veteran Affairs clinic operated by the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System.

Students previously had the option to include a VA training in their educational rotations, but it will now be required for all, according to a Thursday announcement from UMass Chan. The training is intended to better student understanding of the impact that military service has on health. 

The medical school believes the required training will be unique to UMass Chan, said Kristin Mattocks, professor of population & quantitative health sciences and associate dean for veterans affairs at the medical school.

“I am very certain that this particular collection of activities over a two-day period is the first of its kind of any VA and affiliate medical school immersive trainings,” Mattocks said in the press release.

Approximately 150 second-year medical students will participate in the trainings on Nov. 15 and 29. It is part of the medical school’s Vista curriculum, implemented in fall 2022, which incorporates a health systems pillar in the educational goals.

“We want to provide students with a unique understanding of who receives care at the VA, the demographics of our patients and their military history and the types of things that veterans may have been exposed to that may produce lingering health consequences,” said Mattocks.

The outpatient VA clinic on UMass Chan’s campus opened in 2021 and offers primary and specialty healthcare services.

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