April 4, 2008

Med School moves up in ranking

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Med School moves up in ranking

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine now ranks 16th out of 126 accredited medical schools, according to U.S. News and World Report's annual ranking of graduate education programs and health disciplines released March 28.

In the new edition of America's Best Graduate Schools, VUSM jumped two spots from 18th to tie for 16th place with the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago.

Among the 50 research schools listed, VUSM's overall score increased from 65 to 67 points (out of a possible 100). That score is one point below the schools in 14th place – the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Pittsburgh.

“These rankings reflect the many — and growing — strengths of our School of Medicine,” said Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs. “They reflect the caliber of our faculty, staff, students and residents. Under the leadership of Dean Steven Gabbe, (M.D.) the School of Medicine has become renowned for its superior environment for education, patient care and research.”

Gabbe noted that the School of Medicine raised its scores this year in six ranking categories.

“We improved in six criteria, including NIH research funding, GPA and MCAT scores, and acceptance rate, and faculty/student ratio,” Gabbe said. “I believe Vanderbilt has an amazing environment for medical education. We attract the very best students and we have one of the highest faculty/student ratios among the top institutions in the country.”

According to the U.S. News report, VUSM ranked 15th in total National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants ($285.8 million), and 17th in NIH grants per faculty member ($155,900) among the top 20 schools.

Jacobson said these figures are especially impressive, and are a testament to the strength of the research enterprise under the guidance of Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research.

“Money is tight and federal research funding is hard to come by these days,” Jacobson said. “It's extremely competitive, and the fact that Vanderbilt is attracting such a high level of funding says volumes about the quality of the scientific research being done here.”

U.S. News ranks schools with an overall score as determined by marks in 10 individual categories – peer assessment, assessment score by residency directors, undergraduate GPA and MCAT scores, acceptance rate, NIH research grants, research grants per faculty member, faculty/student ratio, out-of-state tuition and fees, and total enrollment.

In addition to ranking individual schools, the magazine looked at fields of specialty for each school.

VUMC's speech pathology program tied for No. 5, up from No. 6 in 2004, and audiology retained the No. 1 ranking it first earned in 2004.

“We've received tremendous support from the leadership of the Medical Center, we have a wonderful facility and tremendous people that work here,” said Fred Bess, Ph.D., professor and chair of VUMC's Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences. “We're glad to have this affirmation of our work.”

Harvard University once again ranked first among research medical schools, with Johns Hopkins University second.