'What is the best medical school?' ChatGPT centers on critics' approach

U.S. News and World Report's medical school rankings have faced backlash from many participants this year. As it turns out, ChatGPT appears to be on the medical schools' side. 

When Becker's asked the AI to name the best medical school, it was reluctant to conjure just one: 

Becker's: "What is the best medical school in the U.S.?"

ChatGPT: "There is no one 'best' medical school in the United States, as there are many excellent medical schools that offer high-quality education and training to their students. However, some medical schools consistently rank highly in various surveys and rankings.

According to the U.S. News & World Report 2022 rankings, the top five medical schools in the United States are:

  1. Harvard Medical School
  2. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  3. Stanford University School of Medicine
  4. University of California San Francisco School of Medicine
  5. Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

It's important to note that while these schools are considered to be among the best, there are many other excellent medical schools in the United States that provide rigorous training and produce highly skilled physicians. The best medical school for you will depend on a variety of factors, such as your academic background, career goals and personal preferences."

That response featured various arguments against the U.S. News rankings made by schools that chose not to actively participate in the list's curation — most notably, the idea that medical schools are not one-size-fits-all. 

When asked if U.S. News' rankings are fair, ChatGPT responded that they are recognized as one of the most popular and influential rankings, yet "have their limitations and biases." The AI listed four "things to keep in mind" when using the rankings to research medical schools: 

"1. The rankings rely heavily on surveys of medical school deans and faculty, which can be subjective and biased. These individuals may be more likely to rate schools they are familiar with or those that are similar to their own school more favorably.

2. The rankings also take into account various objective measures such as research funding and faculty/student ratios, which can be useful indicators of a school's resources and quality of education. However, these measures may not reflect the actual quality of the education or clinical training that students receive.

3. The rankings tend to favor larger, research-focused medical schools over smaller, community-based schools that may have a greater focus on primary care and serving underserved communities.

4. The rankings do not take into account other important factors that can influence a student's experience and success, such as diversity, location and cost of attendance."

Finally, when asked if the rankings are accurate, the AI kept a noncommittal tone. 

"It's difficult to determine the accuracy of the U.S. News & World Report rankings of medical schools because 'accuracy' is a somewhat subjective term when it comes to rankings," ChatGPT said. "However, the rankings are based on a methodology that includes both objective data and subjective surveys, and the methodology is transparently presented on the U.S. News website.

"It's a good idea to consider a variety of rankings and other factors when researching medical schools, rather than relying solely on one source of information. Ultimately, the 'best' medical school for an individual student will depend on their own unique goals, preferences and circumstances."

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