Warren Alpert Medical School withdraws from U.S. News & World … – The Brown Daily Herald

The Warren Alpert Medical School will no longer submit data to U.S. News & World Report for its “Best Medical Schools” rankings, Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Mukesh Jain announced in a letter to the Brown community in late August.
The letter, circulated in Today@Brown, states that the medical school deliberated “for many years” on whether the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings “comport with our institutional values.” After consulting with current students, alumni, faculty and members of the Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — the school chose to end “continued participation in rankings that do not align with our measures of what constitutes quality preparation for medical students,” the letter reads.
According to an email to The Herald from Jain, discussions surrounding the decision reached a boiling point “last fall,” when several peer institutions announced they would no longer submit the data U.S. News & World Report uses in its rankings. The U.S. News & World Report’s scoring system considers research activity, grants from the National Institute of Health, median MCAT scores and qualitative assessments, among other metrics.  In January 2023, the medical schools of Harvard, Columbia, Penn, Cornell, Duke University, Stanford University and the University of Chicago announced that they would no longer participate in the medical school rankings, which prompted several medical schools across the country to follow suit.
Jain wrote in a message to The Herald that the decision to pull out of the ranking system was “motivated by our belief that our actions should match our values.”
“The metrics that go into determining the rank order are not consistent with the values that we believe are important for training a successful physician,” he wrote. “Take, for example, the MCAT and GPAs of matriculated students. Understanding that there are a number of paths to medicine and that these test scores can be problematic, we’ve moved to a more holistic review of applicants in the admissions process.”
In the letter to the community, Jain wrote that “such quantitative rankings do not adequately capture the quality of education nor the level of support provided to students at any medical school,” adding that “at their worst,” the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings “perpetuate a culture of rewarding the most elite and historically privileged groups.”
Jain also acknowledged in his letter that a reliance upon standardized metrics across medical schools can create “a perverse incentive” for schools to award greater financial aid to students with higher GPAs and MCAT scores in order to boost their ranking on the U.S. News & World Report list. 
This, Jain believes, allows for “schools to set policies and make decisions that serve the system instead of students or patients,” he wrote to The Herald. “While that hasn’t been an issue at Brown, we are choosing to no longer participate in such a system because of the impact it can have on medicine as a whole.”
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal responding to the departure of numerous medical and law schools from the publication’s rankings, U.S. News and World Report Executive Chairman and CEO Eric Gertler disputed schools’ rationales.
“Our rankings also don’t prevent any school from pursuing greater diversity or transparency. Nor do they seem to prod schools to shine light on the most opaque part of admissions: how schools decide who they accept,” he wrote. 
“Instead, elite schools object to our use of a common data set for all schools because our rankings are something they can’t control and they don’t want to be held accountable by an independent third party.”
Jain hopes that the decision to withdraw from rankings will allow Warren Alpert to focus on “the things that really matter to us: training the best doctors to impact our community here in Rhode Island and around the world, diversifying the physician workforce and investing in innovative research that will truly change people’s lives.”
After hearing from several students that first-generation medical school applicants often rely on the U.S. News & World Report rankings to determine which institutions might be the best fit for them, Alpert decided to display the data typically submitted to the U.S. News & World Report on its website, Jain wrote in a message to The Herald. Jain chalked this decision up to Warren Alpert’s prolonged commitment to “integrity and accountability.”
“At our medical school,” Jain wrote, “we value humanism and compassion, innovation and discovery. We value social responsibility and community engagement and service. We are dedicated to anti-racism and inclusiveness, diversity and equity. None of these can be adequately measured by a quantitative ranking scale.”
Sofia Barnett is a University News editor overseeing the faculty and higher education beat. She is a junior from Texas studying history and English nonfiction and enjoys freelancing in her free time.
The Brown Daily Herald, Inc. is a financially independent, nonprofit media organization with more than 250 students working across our journalism, business and web divisions.


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