Med School inches up in latest U.S. News rankings

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Alpert Medical School placed 31st for research and 23rd for primary care in U.S. News and World Report’s 2009 rankings of about 130 medical schools – improving from last year’s ranks of 34th and 27th, respectively.

The rankings were based on peer and residency director assessments, research activity, student selectivity and test scores, among other factors.

Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News and World Report, said Brown’s scores in those categories increased across the board this year. He said improvements were seen in the school’s scores for peer reputation, undergraduate GPA and MCAT scores. Brown medical students as a group had some of the highest MCAT scores on the list, he added.

The only area in which Brown’s scores decreased was in faculty-to-student ratio, he said. That decrease was the result of “slight fluctuation” in the year-to-year enrollment of students, Karen Scanlan, communications manager for Bio Med and Medical Affairs, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Eli Adashi said the medical school has “made significant progress,” but added that there “is still more work to be done.” That includes more than just climbing U.S. News’s list, he said.

“It is a mistake to tailor one’s strategy on (the rankings),” he said. “The way that we would prefer to look at that is … grow the substance and the rankings will follow.”

Medical Student Senate President Kartik Venkatesh MD’10 said Brown’s increased scores could be attributed to a number of factors. He said the school’s research programs have been growing, with a number of high profile national studies currently taking place at the school and its affiliated hospitals.

“At the administrative level it’s certainly been a focus of the University … to expand the research enterprise, and I think that’s being translated into the changes you’re seeing,” Venkatesh said.

Venkatesh added that the school’s recent switch to a standard application system open to pre-medical students outside those in the Program in Liberal Medical Education – instituted for the 2005-2006 school year – has helped the school gain recognition and, in turn, points at U.S. News and World Report and the attention of prospective students.

Adashi said his goal as dean, as well as his hopes for his announced successor, Professor of Medical Science Edward Wing, was to foster programmatic coordination among the various elements of Brown’s medical school.

“On campus we are fairly physically contiguous, and we are organized in a way that is more conducive to interacting physically with each other,” Adashi said. “(But) when you have seven hospitals (affiliated with the University) … it’s more of a challenge,” he added.

Adashi said he would like to see the different elements of the medical school “increasingly congregate and assume a single identity as much as possible” in the future in order to continue building quality and making the type of positive progress the school has already seen.

“That remains the main priority that we are to focus on,” he said.

Joshua Gepner MD’08 said that when he was looking at medical schools, he considered the rankings in weighing his choices. “I think it’s great that Brown is a competitive school that does well in the rankings,” Gepner said.

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