Stanford Medical School exits US News rankings, crafts its own system

Approximately one week after Boston-based Harvard Medical School withdrew from U.S. News & World Report's rankings, Stanford (Calif.) School of Medicine has done the same. 

Lloyd Minor, MD, Stanford School of Medicine's dean, announced the decision in a Jan. 23 letter to the community. 

"Ultimately, we believe that the methodology, as it stands, does not capture the full extent of what makes for an exceptional learning environment," Dr. Minor wrote. 

The school will begin independently reporting its performance metrics on March 1 to help prospective students weigh their options, according to the letter. Its report will detail accomplishments of faculty members and students' access to patient care and research opportunities. 

"Moreover, our process will reflect our core values, emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will ensure that our metrics are measurable, verifiable, and transparent," Dr. Minor wrote. "We welcome opportunities to discuss our metrics with key stakeholders as they are finalized."

U.S. News may still rank the school using publicly available data, but it will no longer self-report, Dr. Minor clarified. Additionally, he specified that Stanford Health Care is still participating in the "Best Hospitals" rankings. 

Stanford's decision mirrors Harvard Medical School's withdrawal earlier this month, inspired by top law schools' exit from the rankings in November. The law schools, including Stanford's and Harvard's, were concerned that the rankings emphasized peer assessment surveys, test scores, grades and postgraduate employment — allegedly prioritizing prestige, discouraging public service and incentivizing schools to divert need-based aid. 

U.S. News has announced changes to its law school rankings, but has not yet shifted its medical school methodology. 

"We know that comparing diverse academic institutions across a common data set is challenging, and that is why we have consistently stated that the rankings should be one component in a prospective student's decision-making process," Eric Gertler, CEO and executive chair of U.S. News, told Becker's in a Jan. 18 statement after Harvard's withdrawal.

"The fact is, millions of prospective students annually visit U.S. News medical school rankings because we provide students with valuable data and solutions to help with that process," Mr. Gertler said. 

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