Baystate Health and UMass Medical School are hoping to get $3.4 million in state money to build their new medical school in Springfield.

"We think this would be a worthy investment in primary care for the region for the next several decades," said Ben Craft, a spokesman for Baystate Health.

The new Baystate medical school is expected to open in August with 25 students. Baystate has touted the program as a way to attract more doctors to Western Massachusetts.

The school's focus will be on training primary care physicians and teaching population health in both urban and rural communities. Practically, that means a focus on improving health conditions in a particular population rather than just treating symptoms of a particular disease -- for example, promoting exercise and healthy eating to prevent diabetes rather than just treating the illness.

The medical students will take some classes at UMass Medical School in Worcester, but will also train with doctors at Baystate Medical Center in a new medical school space at 3601 Main St. in Springfield, as well as in Greenfield.

Renovating the Main Street building is expected to cost $2.5 million. Other expenses include maintaining a medical library, training faculty, curriculum creation and education and research programs for the students. UMass Medical School has put in $1 million, and Baystate has contributed more than $3 million, according to Craft.

State Rep. Michael Finn, D-West Springfield, who sponsored the $3.4 million amendment, which will be considered as part of the House budget debate, said the state money would help develop and implement the medical school and expand it to 100 students over four years.

Read Full Story...