BOSTON (WWLP) – Around 50 medical students who are currently enrolled in the Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health program, better known as the PURCH program at UMass Chan Medical School Baystate, came to the State House Wednesday to advocate for a bill that will affect their future patients.

Medical students stepped out of the classroom and into the State House to lobby for a bill that deals with housing and racial equity. The students of the PURCH program traveled from western Massachusetts to inform legislatures on why the Healthy Homes Bill is important. The program is a community based education, where they learn about outside factors that affect patient health, like jobs, transportation and housing.

“Our first and second year curriculum is to get introduced to advocacy, so we got to experience a little bit of advocating for our patients for different bills and legislation, so this is an opportunity to learn a little bit more about that process and to be here and learn from the folks that are doing that,” said Ryan Marano from UMass Chan Medical School.

The bill these students are advocating for is looking to create the Massachusetts Health Homes Program fund which will set aside funding to address lead paint, poor indoor quality and other problems that have a disproportionate health impact on people of color.

Michael Cabral from UMass Chan Medical School told 22News, “So our studies at UMass and the PURCH program is about studying social determinants of health, and we found that homes that have poor air quality and lead exposure can lead to poor health outcomes, so we’re here to try to improve those outcomes.”

At least 50 percent of the funds will go to owners located in Gateway Cities like Springfield. The students broke into groups Wednesday to visit western Massachusetts legislators to ask them to co-sponsor the legislation in order for it to gain more traction this legislative cycle.