U.S. News Holds Historic Meeting With Medical School Deans

Mount Sinai cosponsored a half-day meeting that focused on medical school rankings.

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U.S. News participated in an important half-day meeting about of our Best Medical School rankings with deans from many of our top ranked medical schools. The October 27 event, "The Impact and the Future of Medical School Rankings," was sponsored by U.S.News & World Report and Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and was held at Mount Sinai in New York.

The main purpose of the meeting was for those at U.S. News involved in producing our medical school rankings to discuss all aspects of those rankings with academics at leading medical schools. The medical school deans offered very sophisticated feedback on what aspects of the rankings were working and what areas needed to be improved.

This was the largest meeting U.S. News has held with medical school academics on our medical school rankings since we started publishing them in 1990. Among the key topics that were discussed: the history of how the medical school rankings were developed and that U.S. News's main purpose for the rankings is to provide comparative information on medical schools for prospective students to use as a tool in their application process.

There was a discussion on the need to improve the response rate of the reputation survey that goes to a cross-section of intern residency directors and changes the mix of those surveyed for that specific intern residency director reputation survey, which is a component of the rankings. Other topics included: the pros, cons, and problems of incorporating views of current or recently graduated medical school students into the rankings; the possibility of measuring learning outcomes of M.D. students; developing a more robust measure of faculty quality compared to what is currently being used in the rankings; if there are ways to improve how U.S. News calculates National Institutes of Health (NIH) dollar grants per medical school faculty member; and the accuracy of using total dollar amount NIH grants as an indicator of a medical school's overall quality; and the validity of an incoming class's MCAT score as an indicator of academic and student quality.

It was also noted frequently that if U.S. News were to change its medical school ranking methodology, then we should do so with a great deal of thought and caution in order to prevent any unintended consequences. In other words, any change shouldn't result in additional analytical problems.

U.S. News will also reach out to the Association of American Medical Colleges, which collects a great of deal of data on medical schools and medical students that may better inform the U.S. News rankings. U.S. News plans to follow up with participants to seek out more details on the practicality of implementing many of the points that were raised at the conference. We believe the meeting was a very important first step to permanently establish an ongoing dialogue with the medical school community.

The participants on panel included:

Dennis S. Charney, M.D., dean, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Brian Kelly, editor, U.S.News & World Report (moderator for all discussions)

Robert Morse, director of data research, U.S. News

Robert Alpern, M.D., dean, Yale University School of Medicine

Nancy C. Andrews, M.D., PhD., dean, Duke University School of Medicine

Robert N. Golden, M.D., dean, University of Wisconsin—Madison School of Medicine & Public Health

Joseph P. Grande, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean of academic affairs, Mayo Clinic, College of Medicine

Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., dean, Yeshiva University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Lee Goldman, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

R. Michael Tanner, PhD., chief academic officer and vice president, Association of Public & Land Grant Colleges

Jules L. Dienstag, M.D., dean for medical education, Harvard University Medical School