Brown U medical school drops out of US News rankings

Another medical school has joined the exodus from U.S. News & World Report's once-renowned rankings. 

Beginning in 2024, Providence, R.I.-based Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School will no longer submit data for the publication's best medical schools ranking. Mukesh Jain, MD, the university's dean of medicine and biological sciences and senior vice president for health affairs, announced the decision in an Aug. 29 letter to the medical school community. 

"Central to Brown's decision to end participation is our belief that such quantitative rankings do not adequately capture the quality of education nor the level of support provided to students at any medical school," Dr. Jain wrote. "The rankings also do not reflect the unique foci and missions of all medical schools, instead ranking them on factors that are not equally valued by all schools. At their worst, they perpetuate a culture of rewarding the most elite and historically privileged groups."

Dr. Jain cited the rankings' emphasis on GPA and MCAT scores as problematic. Although these factors may be used to evaluate candidates, they are not the sole criteria that determine an applicants' admission to Brown, according to Dr. Jain. This could compel medical schools to devote more financial aid to candidates with high scores, he alleges. 

Additionally, the rankings rely on schools' research funding but focus solely on dollars spent, not research innovation or impact, Dr. Jain continued. They evaluate full-time faculty, which disadvantages medical schools like Brown where students learn from clinical faculty members who are also practicing physicians. 

Overall, the rankings "demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of what truly impacts medical education," Dr. Jain wrote. 

Brown joins at least 13 other medical schools in the boycott, many of which are historically U.S. News' top performers. Harvard Medical School led the way in January and was later joined by the likes of Stanford (Calif.) School of Medicine, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. 

Health systems have also directed scrutiny toward the publication, leading to a revamp of its best hospitals ranking. Read more here

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