University of Massachusetts Medical School

The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS or UMass Worcester) is a public medical school in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is part of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) system.[2] It is home to three schools: the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the Graduate School of Nursing, as well as a biomedical research enterprise and a range of public-service initiatives throughout the state.

University of Massachusetts
Medical School
TypePublic medical school
Endowment$207.5 million (2018)[1]
ChancellorMichael Collins
PresidentMarty Meehan
StudentsMedicine: 518
Biomedical Sciences: 431
Nursing: 212
Location, ,
United States

42.276815°N 71.762445°W / 42.276815; -71.762445
ColorsBlue, white and black    


UMMS was established by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature in 1962 to provide residents of the commonwealth an opportunity to study medicine at an affordable cost and to increase the number of primary-care physicians practicing in the commonwealth's under-served areas. The School of Medicine accepted its first class of 16 students in 1970. Six years later a 371-bed hospital opened on campus; the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences opened in 1979, and the Graduate School of Nursing opened in 1986.

In 1998 the UMMS system of hospitals and clinics merged with Memorial Health Care to form UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health-care provider in Central Massachusetts and clinical partner of UMMS.[3]

Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research

The research mission at UMMS was augmented in 1997 with the acquisition of the financially ailing Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research, the Shrewsbury, Massachusetts institution where researchers developed the combined oral contraceptive pill during the early 1960s.


School of Medicine

Accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the School of Medicine grants the MD degree to its graduates. With the exception of MD/PhD students, degree candidates were formerly required to be Massachusetts residents, a policy which has changed beginning with the entering class of 2016. Approximately 125 students enroll annually, and more than 2,700 students have received medical degrees from UMMS. The School of Medicine has gained a national reputation for its primary-care program and consistently ranks in the top 10 percent of schools in the annual U.S.News & World Report guide, "America’s Best Graduate Schools". SCImago Journal Rank listed the university at No. 74 in the US and No. 248 globally.[4] Over half of each graduating class enters primary-care residencies, a trend underscoring the school's founding mission. In addition, a high number of graduates practice throughout the state.

University rankings
ARWU[5] 151–200[6]
U.S. News & World Report[7] 251[8]

The institution attributes its success in training primary-care physicians, in part, to a curriculum which emphasizes early exposure to community practice (beginning in the first year of medical school). Third-year students are required to complete a clerkship-rotation program, in which they spend six weeks at a time with community-based physicians. The curriculum's learning objectives are targeted at developing the foundational competencies required of all physicians including competency in communication, scientific, and patient- and community-advocacy skills. In 2010, National Resident Matching Program results showed that members of the UMMS class were accepted into some of the most competitive residency programs in the country; 71 percent of graduates entered primary care (including obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine and pediatrics).

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) is a PhD-granting program that trains scientists in a specialty area with a broad background in the basic medical sciences in preparation for conducting research with direct relevance to human disease. According to the GSBS website, the school offers students a multidisciplinary program of study, in which they have freedom of choice in curriculum and in the selection of mentors for their graduate-thesis research.[9] Since the first class of seven students enrolled in 1979, more than 300 students have earned PhDs from the GSBS.

Graduate School of Nursing

Since the opening of the Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) in 1986, more than 600 students have obtained a nursing master's, post-master's or doctoral degree from the school. The GSN prepares professional and advanced practice nurses, nurse scientists and educators as leaders in nursing and health-care delivery to diverse populations through education, research, practice and service (according to the GSN website).[10]


UMMS researchers have made advances in a broad range of disease families, from HIV and infectious diseases to cancer, genetic disorders, diabetes and immune disease. UMMS faculty discovered the link between the immune system and type-1 diabetes, found the genetic cause underlying the third-most-common form of the muscular dystrophies, established the fundamental difference between HIV and other retroviruses.

In the 1990s. UMMS Professor of Medicine Shan Lu, leader of the UMMS DNA based flu vaccine efforts worked to advance the development of a potential avian-flu vaccine.[11] Lu's team has also been recognized for its work in the creation of an HIV vaccine,[12] which in Phase I testing was found to generate antibody and T-cell responses in otherwise-healthy people not infected with HIV.[13] In 1998, UMMS researcher Craig Mello (an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute) and his colleague Andrew Fire (of Stanford University, then of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C.) discovered RNA interference (RNAi). They demonstrated that small pieces of double-stranded RNA had interfered with the expression of a gene whose coding sequence of DNA was similar to that of the RNA they tested. Mello and Fire received the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries related to RNA interference.[14]

Federal and private research grants and contracts at UMMS rose from about $2 million in 1977 to more than $250 million in 2019.[15] UMMS currently supports more than 260 investigators working on advancements in the treatment of disease and injury.

UMass was ranked 21st in the nation in generating income from the licensing by AUTM, and generated $35.0 million in technology-transfer income in 2018.[16] The school's portfolio of commercial ventures and intellectual property was catapulted by the success of UMMS licenses and patents (including intellectual property related to RNAi gene-silencing technology and drug and vaccine development).


MassBiologics is the only publicly owned, non-profit FDA-licensed[17] manufacturer of vaccine[18] and other biologic products in the United States. First established in 1894, the University of Massachusetts Biologic Laboratory was re-established in 1997 by the Massachusetts legislature,[19] and oversight was transferred from the Department of Public Health to UMMS.[20]

In recent years, MassBiologics has been called upon to respond to the threat of SARS, avian flu and rabies. MassBiologics has developed or collaborated on five “orphan products” over the past twenty years. MassBiologics continues to market its FDA-licensed Td (tetanus and diphtheria) vaccine, providing a substantial proportion of the U.S. requirement for this vaccine. MassBiologics participates in the discovery, production and clinical testing of monoclonal antibodies (including antibodies to Clostridium difficile),[21] antibodies now known as actoxumab and bezlotoxumab In 2005, the firm opened an $80-million facility for monoclonal-antibody production. Co-developed with Serum Institute of India, it invented a fast acting anti-Rabies drug called Rabies Human Monoclonal Antibody (RMAb).[22]

UMMS is extending its mission of public service through its Commonwealth Medicine initiative.[23]


Notable faculty members include:

Affiliates and clinical partners

The hospital and clinical components of UMMS are part of UMass Memorial Health Care (UMMHC). UMass Memorial is a multibillion-dollar health-care system consisting of acute-care hospitals, ambulatory clinics and a network of primary care physicians and specialists throughout central Massachusetts.[26] With approximately 13,000 employees (including 1,500 physicians), UMMHC is the largest health-care provider in central and western Massachusetts.[26] Its flagship hospital (UMass Memorial Medical Center) straddles two campuses along Route 9 in Worcester, Massachusetts and is designated by the American College of Surgeons as a Level I Trauma Center.[26]

Its largest publicly funded affiliate in the field of cancer research is the Quality Assurance Review Center (QARC), located in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), QARC receives radiotherapy data from around 1,000 hospitals in the United States.[27]

UMMHC also maintains four community hospitals:[26]


Albert Sherman Center

The University of Massachusetts Medical School enters a new era of biomedical research, medical education and campus collaboration with the opening of the $400 million Albert Sherman Center.[28] The Sherman Center was unveiled to the public on January 30, 2013 a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Gov. Deval Patrick.[29]

Lamar Soutter Library

Named in honor of Lamar Soutter (founding dean of the School of Medicine), the Lamar Soutter Library at UMMS contains more than 288,000 volumes and is the state's leading source of biomedical information for inter‑library loan. The only public medical library in the state, it is the regional medical library for New England and one of eight regional libraries comprising the National Library of Medicine.

Aaron Lazare Medical Research Building

To support the more than 260 investigators working on advancements in the treatment of disease and injury, the Aaron Lazare Medical Research Building (a 360,000-square-foot (33,000 m2) research facility) opened in October 2001. The 10-story structure, named for the chancellor emeritus, expanded upon the medical school's existing 600,000 square feet (60,000 m2) of campus buildings and 83,000 square feet (7,700 m2) in the adjacent Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park.

Extended campus

The UMMS extended campus includes the Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, labs and offices in the Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park in Worcester; sites in Shrewsbury and Auburn; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center in Waltham and the New England Newborn Screening Program and Massachusetts Biologic Laboratories in Jamaica Plain and Mattapan.

See also


  1. "2018 REPORT ON ANNUAL INDICATORS University Performance Measurement System July 2018" (PDF). University of Massachusetts.
  2. "University of Massachusetts". Times Higher Education (THE). March 25, 2019. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  3. "UMass Memorial Health Care - our Clinical Partner at UMMS". University of Massachusetts Medical School. February 22, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  4. "Scimago Institutions Rankings".
  5. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 2019. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  6. "ARWU World University Rankings 2016 | Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 | Top 500 universities | Shanghai Ranking - 2016". Shanghai Ranking. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  7. "Best Global Universities Rankings: 2020". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  8. "Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  9. "Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences". University of Massachusetts Medical School. Archived from the original on May 23, 2012.
  10. "Graduate School of Nursing". University of Massachusetts Medical School. Archived from the original on May 23, 2012.
  11. "Shan Lu to lead International Society for Vaccines - UMass Medical School - Worcester". University of Massachusetts Medical School. December 15, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  12. "UMMS receives $17.3 million to oversee manufacturing of HIV vaccine". University of Massachusetts Medical School. June 22, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  13. "UMass Researchers Move Into Phase 1 Trial with HIV Vaccine". MD Magazine. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  14. "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2006". Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  15. "Points of Pride". University of Massachusetts Medical School. June 25, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  16. "2018 UPMS: Annual Indicators Report" (PDF).
  17. "Alphabetical List of Establishments Licensed to produce Biologics including Product Approval Dates" (PDF). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  18. "Approved Products, Tetanus & Diphtheria Toxoids, Adsorbed, Manufacturer: MassBiologics, License #1779". U.S Food and Drug Administration.
  19. "Massachusetts General Law: Chapter 75, Section 43".
  20. "About - MassBiologics | UMass Medical School - Worcester". University of Massachusetts Medical School. November 2, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  21. Lowy, Israel; et al. (January 21, 2010). "Treatment with monoclonal antibodies against Clostridium difficile toxins". New England Journal of Medicine. 362 (3): 197–205. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0907635.
  22. "Fast-acting anti-rabies drug set for India launch". The Times of India. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  23. "Commonwealth Medicine". University of Massachusetts Medicine School. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  24. "The Vilcek Foundation - Finalists".
  25. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  26. "UMass Memorial Health Care".
  27. "IROC Rhode Island". QARC. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  28. "Sherman Center website". University of Massachusetts Medical School. September 5, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  29. "Full video of the Albert Sherman Center opening ceremony - UMass Medical School - Worcester". University of Massachusetts Medical School. December 22, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
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