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Program Directors

Meet Our Program Directors

Richard Pels, MD
Director, Internal Medicine Residency, Cambridge Health Alliance

Richard Pels, MDAssistant Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School (Email me)

Dr. Richard Pels trained at Cambridge Hospital (now CHA) and completed two Harvard Medical School fellowships in General Internal Medicine as well as medical education. As Program Director since 1994, he has been widely recognized as a superb teacher, preceptor, and mentor.

In 1999, Dr. Pels became Director of Graduate Medical Education at CHA, with responsibility for overseeing all CHA training programs. In 2005, he became Associate Director for the Harvard Medical School Primary Care Internal Medicine week-long continuing education course. He was recently honored for his years of dedication to education as recipient of Harvard Medical School’s 2008 Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award.

Over his career, Dr. Pels has published on a broad range of medical education topics in many journals including the New England Journal of Medicine and Academic Medicine. His current interests in medical education relate to integrating experiential learning in quality improvement and public health training into the residency curriculum.  He presently serves as the Cambridge Health Alliance co-PI for the Harvard Medical School Academic Innovations Collaborative, which seeks to transform academic practices where residents train into patient-centered medical homes (learn more).

Dr. Pels serves as a role model for many aspiring physicians who seek to combine their passion for social justice with their medical careers. In the early 1990’s, he was awarded a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, which he used to study displaced peoples in Central America, eastern Europe, and the Palestinian Occupied Territories. He is currently very active in Physicians for Human Rights with a particular interest in assisting torture victims.

Rachel Stark, MD, MPH
Associate Program Director

Rachel Stark, MDInstructor in Medicine,
Harvard Medical School (Email me)

Dr. Rachel Stark joined the faculty at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) in 2011 as the Associate Director for the Residency Program in Internal Medicine. Here, she was warmly welcomed by dynamic colleagues who share her commitment to health care for the underserved and her passion for medical education. Dr. Stark completed her medical degree at Boston University and her internship and residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Her interest in medical education and public health led her to stay on at Mount Sinai to complete a fellowship in General Internal Medicine and a Master's degree in Public Health.

Since completing her training, Dr. Stark has been actively involved in resident education in Internal Medicine, first at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx and then at Boston Medical Center. She has particular interest in curriculum innovation, and teaching evidence-based medicine and clinical decision-making. She has honed skills in these areas through participation in numerous highly recognized faculty development programs, including the including the Stanford Faculty Development Course in Clinical Teaching at Mount Sinai and the How to Teach Evidence Based Clinical Practice Workshop at McMaster University. She was also selected to be a Harvard Macy Scholar.

In her first year at CHA, Dr. Stark was the recipient of the Outpatient Attending of the Year awarded by the residents. In 2013, she was honored by CHA as one of four awardees of the prestigious first annual Academic Council Award for Academic Excellence. Additionally, Dr. Stark was a recipient of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Award for Humanism and Excellence in Teaching during her time at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and was supported by a HRSA residency training grant to enhance training for Primary Care Residents in substance abuse, HIV, obesity/diabetes, arthritis and pain while at Montefiore. More recently, she was the PI for a two year project at CHA using the art of public narrative to address the hidden curriculum in residency training, sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. Presently, she is the co-PI for the Harvard School of Medicine Academic Innovations Collaborative at the Somerville Hospital Primary Care site. In 2014, she was also honored by the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) as the New England Clinician Educator of the Year. She has published on her work on teaching evidence-based medicine, medical professionalism, and ambulatory education and has presented this work at regional and national meetings. She has also taught as faculty of the Harvard Macy Program for Post-Graduate Trainees: Future Academic Clinician Educators, and was recently nominated the Harvard Medical School Excellence in Mentoring Award.

Priyank Jain, MD
Associate Program Director

Priyank Jain, MDClinical Instructor in Medicine,
Harvard Medical School (Email me)

"Medicine has imperceptibly led us into the social field and placed us in a position of confronting directly the great problems of our time." - Rudolf Virchow 1848

Dr. Priyank Jain graduated from medical school in India at All India Institute of Medical Science in New Delhi. He came to US for his internal medicine residency at Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Then he went to India for a year and worked in variety of healthcare settings including remote villages and metropolitan hospitals. He no longer sees illness as an accidental inconvenience of humans, but rather an expression of socio-economic conditions affecting communities.

Dr. Jain believes that the ultimate duty of physicians is to advocate for their patients. The responsibility does not end at providing compassionate and effective medical care but further to address the behavior and systemic barriers which compound illness. To this end a physician has to become a change agent within his professional and social community. Medical education should prepare future healthcare providers empowered to lead such a change. This is his guiding principle for medical education.

Cambridge Health Alliance provides care to the most vulnerable members of our society, in an environment which strives to find systemic solutions, and thrives on exceptionally committed residents and faculty. Dr. Jain came to CHA in 2009 to work as a hospitalist. He enjoys learning with the residents to further their education and delivering the Alliance's mission. The residents have honored him with the 'Attending of the year' award in 2011 and welcomed him as the Assistant Program Director of residency program soon thereafter.

Dr. Jain is interested in capacity building for healthcare in underprivileged communities, and is involved in projects in rural India. He is also involved in medical education reform in India, inspired by his experience in the United States.