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A son celebrates his soon-to-be 72-year-old mother’s long commitment to long-distance running. A recent study, however, puts a dent in this kind of thinking. It proposes that rankings should reflect enduring quality and therefore vary only minimally with small changes to data inputs. One explanation for this discrepancy is that one side simply focused on the wrong components in their rankings.
Comparing apples from two grocery stores depends on how we weigh sweetness, size, juiciness, etc. Regardless, we’re left with an important philosophical issue: even the most thoughtful methodological debates can cloud the vital horizon of possibility. Scores of doctors have changed courses along their career paths, and it’s common (some would argue, healthy) for students to thoughtfully consider multiple specialties. The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the writer and do not in any way reflect the views of WBUR management or its employees. Joshua Liao, MD, is a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School.
I agree that US News and World Report should not be the sole  indicator of a medical school’s quality, but the USNWR has published some articles that are useful in gauging the quality of a medical school.
Where can prospective students look to to identify an institution’s diversity climate? Choosing a medical school is an important decision, so use this data as one piece of your decision making process. News and World Report recently released its medical school rankings, a list that ignites lively debate every year. If instead, rankings change by large, implausible degrees, the underlying algorithms may not reflect reality.


Things become even harder when we begin comparing apples to oranges, fruit to poultry, and entire stores to each other. Some schools are incorporating health economics in response to exorbitant national healthcare costs. I took turns through surgery and neurology on my path to primary care, discovering and refining important personal and professional motivations along the way.
Dan Tancredi, Klea Bertakis, and Anthony Jerant titled, “Short-term stability and spread of the U.S. Barnum was right with his observation, “There’s a sucker born every minute!”  To me, members of the academic medical community who believe that the USN & WR medical school rankings accurately reflect the quality of medical education offered at each school only strengthen and promote Barnum’s claim.
More and more medical schools are becoming aware of the importance of institutional culture and climate around diversity and inclusion.
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In this photo, prospective students at the Central Michigan University Medical School in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
On the other, educators decry what they feel are marketing, rather than educational, motivations. Instead, it means we can’t wed ourselves to ordinal lists that may mislead more than help, ones that attractively dub winners and losers but overlook important markers of educational quality. Others are developing shared decision-making and patient satisfaction material to make healthcare more patient-centered.
And we need to champion possibility as something that links passion with action to produce leaders and innovations. News & World Report Primary Care Medical School Rankings” in the August 2013 issue of Academic Medicine, accompanied by the commentary “From Rankings to Mission” written by Drs.


Proposing alternative methodologies, they altered inputs and found that in many cases, rankings changed considerably. It means that tools that compare schools to educational needs, instead of to each other, provide better ways forward.
Students at top grant-funded institutions don’t always have bandwidth to participate in research, and many primary care graduates plan all along to sub-specialize.
The endeavor of medical education is not simply to equip doctors with enough knowledge to change their communities.
Darrell Kirch and John Prescott would close the door on this sad legacy.  These reports show once again the fallacy of arbitrary medical school rankings. They compare a heterogenous group — public and private, large and small, expensive and affordable, homogenous and diverse, county vs. Despite the goal of representing primary care and research environments, these parameters are too general to hit the mark. Rankings that highlight this kind of contextual excellence would be specific enough to promote progress.
It is also to allow the patients, illnesses, and communities they engage to affect and change them.
And our students themselves need educations that prepare them for careers within a rapidly evolving profession.



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