U.S. News & World Report unveils updated rankings for medical schools

Dive Brief:

  • Harvard University, Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, University of California-San Francisco, and the University of Pennsylvania earned the top spots in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of medical schools for research.

  • University of Washington, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of California-San Francisco, Oregon Health and Sciences University, and University of Michigan ranked highest in medical schools for primary care.

  • Critics of the U.S. News & World Report rankings suggest they incentivize schools to make changes to boost their rank without improving value for students.

Dive Insight:

U.S. News & World Report based its rankings on surveys from 118 out of 170 medical colleges with accreditation from the Liaison Committee or Medical Education and the American Osteopathic Association. Factors considered include student selectivity, median MCAT score of students, research activity and acceptance rate.

The rankings hold considerable sway over prospective graduate students and medical schools will often promote their high ranks in ads, articles and campus banners, according to an August 2016 Health Affairs Blog post by Dr. Charles Rice and Dr, Arthur Kellermann of the Uniformed Services University (USU). However, for more than a decade, researchers and educators have questioned the methodology behind the rankings.

The White House under President Barack Obama threatened to undermine rankings such as those developed by U.S. News & World Report when it proposed a government rating system for colleges. While the plans did not materialize, the rating system could have had significant implications for federal funding received by medical schools.

Some medical schools refuse to play along with institutions like U.S. News & World Report. USU has declined to participate in rankings in recent years. At least 50 other schools have made a similar decision if the number of responses received by U.S. News & World Report are any indication. While it seems unlikely the federal government under the administration of President Donald Trump will pursue a rating system as the Obama administration had, it is something to look out for.

Recommended Reading:

Filed Under: Hospital Administration