On the heels of last week’s news that Harvard Medical School would no longer submit data to or participate in the annual US News & World Report placements, other institutions have followed suit.
As of press time Tuesday, top schools, including Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Stanford School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, had also announced their withdrawals. The medical school’s decampment follows a group of the country’s top law schools last year.
Katrina Armstrong, MD, dean of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, detailed the school’s intent to withdraw from american news rankings in a letter sent to staff and students at the end of last week and shared with MedPage today in an email Tuesday, in which she noted that she wanted to “speak to a driving factor in our decision that goes to the essence of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.”
That american news medical school rankings “perpetuate a narrow and elitist perspective on medical education,” she wrote. “Their emphasis is on self-reinforcing criteria such as reputation and institutional wealth, rather than measuring a school’s success in producing a diverse and well-educated group of physicians capable of changing medicine for the better and meeting the needs of society.”
“Their focus on standardized test scores comes at a time when it is widely understood that prioritizing those scores rewards well-resourced applicants without regard to selecting the individuals who can best serve the future needs of a diverse and changing world,” she added.
However, Armstrong also pointed out that the medical school recognizes that in making the decision to withdraw american news placements, there is a need to establish “effective means of sharing information” with prospective students.
“I look forward to productive discussions and innovative thinking across the larger medical education community on this matter,” Armstrong wrote, adding that Columbia “will be actively engaged in this effort and explore ways to provide consolidated data that are both meaningful for potential students and ensures accountability.”
In a letter announcing the Stanford School of Medicine’s withdrawal from the rankings, Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the school, wrote that “Ultimately, we believe that the methodology as it stands does not capture the full extent of what makes a exceptional learning environment.”
He said that starting March 1, the Stanford School of Medicine will begin independently reporting data on its performance.
“Our metrics will reflect and assess our faculty’s efforts and achievements in education, research and patient care, as well as faculty and trainees’ innovation and impact on biomedicine and their roles in developing tomorrow’s leaders,” Minor wrote. “Our reporting will also represent our tripartite mission and key priorities that our students have identified as important to their educational experience, including access to comprehensive patient care and research opportunities.”
He further explained that the medical school’s process will “reflect our core values that emphasize diversity, equity and inclusion, and will ensure that our metrics are measurable, verifiable and transparent,” adding that opportunities to discuss the school’s metrics with stakeholders will be welcome as they are completed.
In particular, Minor stated in the letter that the medical school’s withdrawal does not change Stanford Health Care’s or Stanford Medicine Children’s Health’s participation in the annual “Best Hospitals” rankings from american news.
“Medical school and hospital rankings are separate and independent and use different methods,” he pointed out.
J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, also stated in a letter announcing his school’s withdrawal from the rankings that its decision does not affect participation in the “Best Hospitals” rankings . But when it comes to the medical school’s decision to no longer attend, Jameson was clear.
That american news rankings “perpetuate a vision for medical education and the future physician and scientist workforce that we do not share,” Jameson wrote, notes that the business “reinforces an old approach to training and a narrow, subjective perception of schools by their peers.”
“While the Perelman School of Medicine has consistently ranked well on these measures and we are proud of our reputation, we strive to be judged more on our innovation, impact, the far-reaching achievements of our faculty and graduates, and our ability to keep our aim forward,” he added.
Jameson said that kind of data was previously shared with american news for the rankings will now appear on the medical school’s admissions website. “And we will work with others to develop new and better initiatives that are valid, meaningful, and more reflective of what students and the world need from us,” he wrote.
For its part, american news declined further comment beyond his initial statement on the matter when Harvard Medical School announced its withdrawal.
At the time, american news CEO and Executive Chairman Eric Gertler said in a statement: “We know that comparing different academic institutions across a common data set is challenging, which is why we have consistently stated that the rankings must be a component of a prospective student’s decision-making process. .”
“In fact, millions of potential students visit annually american news medical school rankings because we provide students with valuable data and solutions to help with that process,” he continued.
To what extent other medical schools will also withdraw american news Medical school placements remain to be seen.