scattered

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Okay, I'll admit that I looked at them as I assume most medical school applicants have. Do you think that the US News and World Report Medical School rankings are particularly good at differentiating schools from each other? Why or why not?
 

MedicineBird

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scattered said:
Okay, I'll admit that I looked at them as I assume most medical school applicants have. Do you think that the US News and World Report Medical School rankings are particularly good at differentiating schools from each other? Why or why not?
no simply because everyone has different priorities for their educational experience.
 

Without Wax

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scattered said:
Okay, I'll admit that I looked at them as I assume most medical school applicants have. Do you think that the US News and World Report Medical School rankings are particularly good at differentiating schools from each other? Why or why not?
Yes because it gives us a rough idea. It is a very difficult task that could offend a lot of people and I know people do not like the ranking, how some students are obsessed with it, but I think it lets us know which schools we can and can not apply.
 

Homer Doughnuts

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they do an ok job, but not good enough; they dont always reflect the quality of a school. The rankings are heavily based on the absolute amount of NIH funding, not amount per investigator. Hence, the rankings are biased in favor of schools with large faculty. Only b.c ive been reading about stanford since ill be attending, i know they get adversely screwed, but im certain there are many others at varying degress. Stanford has the highest nih funding per faculty member, but b.c the med school faculty is small (1/2 the size of ucsf for example) they get a lower ranking b.c absolute amount of funding is less. Size is something students can find out on their own, but quality is not, which is what should be reflected in the rankings and quite possibly will in the near future. So the rankings are an ok indicator, but not good enough.
 

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Haybrant said:
Size is something students can find out on their own, but quality is not which should be reflected in the rankings, and quite possibly will in the near future. So the rankings are an ok indicator, but not good enough.
How in the world would one assess "quality" in a reasonable manner?

Rankings will always be only rough guidelines
 

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ComfortableWolf said:
How in the world would one assess "quality" in a reasonable manner?

Rankings will always be only rough guidelines

im talking about quality of research my friend; this is research rankings, but if you want to talk about clinical rankings that is more subjective i imagine.
besides, if you dont believe amount of funding says anything about quality of researchers, how does absolute number of researchers say anything?
 

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Theyre good for distinguishing ranked 1-10 vs. ranked 50-60, so don't try to choose between Columbia and Cornell based on rankings. You can use them to figure out that Tufts isn't quite as respected as Hopkins.
 

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MWillie said:
Theyre good for distinguishing ranked 1-10 vs. ranked 50-60, so don't try to choose between Columbia and Cornell based on rankings. You can use them to figure out that Tufts isn't quite as respected as Hopkins.
I 100% agree- one or two or even 7 or 8 steps in the rankings is not that significant when differentiating between schools.
 
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scattered

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Haybrant said:
they do an ok job, but not good enough; they dont always reflect the quality of a school. The rankings are heavily based on the absolute amount of NIH funding, not amount per investigator. Hence, the rankings are biased in favor of schools with large faculty. Only b.c ive been reading about stanford since ill be attending, i know they get adversely screwed, but im certain there are many others at varying degress. Stanford has the highest nih funding per faculty member, but b.c the med school faculty is small (1/2 the size of ucsf for example) they get a lower ranking b.c absolute amount of funding is less. Size is something students can find out on their own, but quality is not which should be reflected in the rankings, and quite possibly will in the near future. So the rankings are an ok indicator, but not good enough.
I've also heard about how some schools will manipulate their numbers in an attempt to improve their rank (since it is an algorithm). Is it really fair to count NIH grants from affiliated hospitals and not just the medical school? When calculating a school's "selectivity" is it fair to include only people who sent primary applications through the AMCAS or should only the completed applications be used? The US News rankings certainly require a healthy helping of salt with them but, at the same time, they're so tempting due to their apparent simplicity.
 

Without Wax

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Haybrant said:
Only b.c ive been reading about stanford since ill be attending, i know they get adversely screwed, but im certain there are many others at varying degress. Stanford has the highest nih funding per faculty member, but b.c the med school faculty is small (1/2 the size of ucsf for example) they get a lower ranking b.c absolute amount of funding is less.
It seems like you are saying since Stanford is being screwed, the ranking sucks.

By the way, it is funny you mention Stanford. Today's episode of the Simpsons had a funny joke about Stanford. Homer, Marge, Lisa and Bart are playing monopoly, and they get into a fight. They are arrested by police for domestic disturbance, and they are jailed. Lisa says "Since I got arrested, I won't be able to attend Ivy League schools" and Bart and Homer laugh at her "You are going to Stanford, You are going to Stanford". It was funny
 

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Without Wax said:
It seems like you are saying since Stanford is being screwed, the ranking sucks.

By the way, it is funny you mention Stanford. Today's episode of the Simpsons had a funny joke about Stanford. Homer, Marge, Lisa and Bart are playing monopoly, and they get into a fight. They are arrested by police for domestic disturbance, and they are jailed. Lisa says "Since I got arrested, I won't be able to attend Ivy League schools" and Bart and Homer laugh at her "You are going to Stanford, You are going to Stanford". It was funny

Yeah dude / dudette, that is a kick ass episode, D'oh. :p
 

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scattered said:
I've also heard about how some schools will manipulate their numbers in an attempt to improve their rank (since it is an algorithm). Is it really fair to count NIH grants from affiliated hospitals and not just the medical school? When calculating a school's "selectivity" is it fair to include only people who sent primary applications through the AMCAS or only people who completed their application? The US News rankings certainly require a healthy helping of salt with them but, at the same time, they're so tempting due to their apparent simplicity.
I read that HMS uses research $ garnered from very, very peripheral hospitals. And because HMS has so many affiliated hospitals (which may or may not even be accessible to medical students), it blows every other school out of the water in terms of NIH funding. If it did not have quadruple--or maybe triple--the amount of NIH funding of its nearest competitor, HMS would probably slip out of pole position in the rankings. HMS is obviously fantastic, but I have read it would not be #1 if it reported NIH funds in the same manner as most other schools, including other top schools. Regardless of any reporting improprieties, its reputation will always be tough to beat.
 

yeah right

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People accepted to high ranked schools like USN&WR

People not accepted to high ranked schools are skeptical of USN&WR

It's more psychology than objectivity
 

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Haybrant said:
they do an ok job, but not good enough; they dont always reflect the quality of a school. The rankings are heavily based on the absolute amount of NIH funding, not amount per investigator. Hence, the rankings are biased in favor of schools with large faculty. Only b.c ive been reading about stanford since ill be attending, i know they get adversely screwed, but im certain there are many others at varying degress. Stanford has the highest nih funding per faculty member, but b.c the med school faculty is small (1/2 the size of ucsf for example) they get a lower ranking b.c absolute amount of funding is less. Size is something students can find out on their own, but quality is not, which is what should be reflected in the rankings and quite possibly will in the near future. So the rankings are an ok indicator, but not good enough.
Yeah this is true. For instance USC has a decent amount of NIH grant as a university. They have a ton of faculty who don't have grants too. So if you divided the total with number of faculty, they won't rank too high. They are trying to recruit more investigators with grants so their total funding will increase.
 

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Without Wax said:
It seems like you are saying since Stanford is being screwed, the ranking sucks.
funny
i dont mean to be rude but i cant stand when people dont contentualize their arguments; I was worried someone would think i thought the rankings suck b.c of that which is why i proceeded to give rationale; I dont think the rankings suck, i think they have flaws, and not just b.c stanford gets jacked, but alot of schools do up and down the list, just at differing degrees. I believe that quality of research, since this is research rankings we are discussing, ought to be the primary focus of the rankings and as it stands it just isnt.

not sure how accurate this link is but interesting nonetheless:
http://homepage.mac.com/dsacco/rankings.html

btw, that is a pretty funny simpsons outtake!
 

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What I think is really funny is that everyone looks to the research rankings to determine which school is best. How many of us are going into medical research or academics!! Like 5%?

Look at the primary care rankings if you are going to actually treat patients.
 

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dnelsen said:
What I think is really funny is that everyone looks to the research rankings to determine which school is best. How many of us are going into medical research or academics!! Like 5%?

Look at the primary care rankings if you are going to actually treat patients.

True enough - though I think people don't look at them as much partly because some of the top schools in those rankings just aren't accessible to out-of-staters.

Bottom line is that USNWR is perfectly accurate. It provides an exact ranking of schools based on the algorithm they've made up. Since I am not particularly worried about some of their categories, and I am interested in some details they leave out, they're just not completely helpful for me.

I think they do give a rough guide to how well respected a school is, but even that may not matter much to your future career in any way other than personal ego.
 

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Haybrant said:
they do an ok job, but not good enough; they dont always reflect the quality of a school. The rankings are heavily based on the absolute amount of NIH funding, not amount per investigator. Hence, the rankings are biased in favor of schools with large faculty. Only b.c ive been reading about stanford since ill be attending, i know they get adversely screwed, but im certain there are many others at varying degress. Stanford has the highest nih funding per faculty member, but b.c the med school faculty is small (1/2 the size of ucsf for example) they get a lower ranking b.c absolute amount of funding is less. Size is something students can find out on their own, but quality is not, which is what should be reflected in the rankings and quite possibly will in the near future. So the rankings are an ok indicator, but not good enough.

Though I agree with you that the rankings do not in any way reflect the quality of your education, the rest of your message sounds like it was taken write out of a Stanford handbook. The Dean there is notorioius for touting this "amount per investigator" but who really cares? It's just something Stanford happens to be relatively good at, so they are pushing to have it in the rankings. In other words, they, too, want to play this little game. But what good does that do the students? It's all about CHOICE of research options, and amount of money per investigator in no way translates to more choice of research options for the students. It actually translates to less. None of us are looking to win a nobel prize--we are looking to get our feet wet in a very specific arena, and more money per investigator and less money total translates into LESS specificity and LESS choice. For this reason US News will NEVER rank "amount per investigator" because it is a totally meaningless ranking. What if Emory had 1 investigator who got $170 million dollars per year in NIH funding? Should then Emory be #1 in research, and does this translate to a better quality research experience and more research arenas for medical students at Emory than let's say at Harvard where there are 900 investigators each with $1 million/year in funding?

But I agree that the US News rankings are terribly flawed because each school is an individual choice for people to make. They in no way rank location and educational experience because these are too personal of decisions. But these things translate more than anything else into creating a good doctor. Too many people treat this list as if they were shopping for cars. These are not products and commodities you are purchasing, this is YOUR life we are talking about, and no one elses. You are not shopping for a car to drive around and look cool in. This is 4 years of your life (at least) and your very own learning experience. US News in no way touches on this very real reality.
 

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ctwickman said:
But I agree that the US News rankings are terribly flawed because each school is an individual choice for people to make. They in no way rank location and educational experience because these are too personal of decisions. But these things translate more than anything else into creating a good doctor. Too many people treat this list as if they were shopping for cars. These are not products and commodities you are purchasing, this is YOUR life we are talking about, and no one elses. You are not shopping for a car to drive around and look cool in. This is 4 years of your life (at least) and your very own learning experience. US News in no way touches on this very real reality.
While I do agree with you that the highest ranked school may not be the best school for a specific individual I am also somewhat more cynical about what we are buying with our financial and time investments- I think that a brand name definately is something important to consider if one is looking to get into academia or super competitive fields-

I attended an undergrad institution with a prestigious name and while I did very well there I am convinced that I would have not done as strongly in the interview process if I did not have a prestiogious name on my application. (This is of course anecdotal evidence just as I am sure you can find several people from Podunk U or Bumblefcuk State who got into HMS or Columbia P&S)

Bottom line is that buying a brand name may smooth the road a little later in your career depending on what you are trying to do- I think that the repuatation and name of a school should be one of thel deciding factors when choosing a school but by no means the only factor.

IMHO
 

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ctwickman said:
Though I agree with you that the rankings do not in any way reflect the quality of your education, the rest of your message sounds like it was taken write out of a Stanford handbook. The Dean there is notorioius for touting this "amount per investigator" but who really cares? It's just something Stanford happens to be relatively good at, so they are pushing to have it in the rankings. In other words, they, too, want to play this little game. But what good does that do the students? It's all about CHOICE of research options, and amount of money per investigator in no way translates to more choice of research options for the students. It actually translates to less. None of us are looking to win a nobel prize--we are looking to get our feet wet in a very specific arena, and more money per investigator and less money total translates into LESS specificity and LESS choice. For this reason US News will NEVER rank "amount per investigator" because it is a totally meaningless ranking. What if Emory had 1 investigator who got $170 million dollars per year in NIH funding? Should then Emory be #1 in research, and does this translate to a better quality research experience and more research arenas for medical students at Emory than let's say at Harvard where there are 900 investigators each with $1 million/year in funding?

But I agree that the US News rankings are terribly flawed because each school is an individual choice for people to make. They in no way rank location and educational experience because these are too personal of decisions. But these things translate more than anything else into creating a good doctor. Too many people treat this list as if they were shopping for cars. These are not products and commodities you are purchasing, this is YOUR life we are talking about, and no one elses. You are not shopping for a car to drive around and look cool in. This is 4 years of your life (at least) and your very own learning experience. US News in no way touches on this very real reality.

just putting the arguments forward; look, choice is important, but quality is too; as it has been purposed they ought to rank like engineering grad schools and combine the two. By the opposite coin, what if a school had a million investigators that were each being granted $10? Does that make for a good environment. It ought to be assumed that those going to research schools have already gotten their feet wet, and now want quality direction and facilities. It should not just be a measure of quality, but should be heavily weighed in its favor. Thanks for the input!
 

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dnelsen said:
What I think is really funny is that everyone looks to the research rankings to determine which school is best. How many of us are going into medical research or academics!! Like 5%?

Look at the primary care rankings if you are going to actually treat patients.
The primary care rankings are stupid. Come on, they're based on how many people from each school match into IM/FP. That tells us nothing, especially about skill in treating patients.

Trust me, school name matters outside academia too.
 

dnelsen

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MWillie said:
The primary care rankings are stupid. Come on, they're based on how many people from each school match into IM/FP. That tells us nothing, especially about skill in treating patients.

Trust me, school name matters outside academia too.

Actually, only 30% of the weight of the ranking has anything to do with the number of graduates entering primary care. This replaces the 30% ranking of NIH funding in the research rankings. Otherwise the two ranking systems are pretty much identical.

What is it in the research rankings that tell us about skill in treating patients?
 

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dnelsen said:
Actually, only 30% of the weight of the ranking has anything to do with the number of graduates entering primary care. This replaces the 30% ranking of NIH funding in the research rankings. Otherwise the two ranking systems are pretty much identical.

What is it in the research rankings that tell us about skill in treating patients?
Haha comon now, noone pays attention to the primary care rankings. Yeah, like Michigan State D.O. school with its 25 or something avg MCAT is a better school than Yale. The only people that use the primary care rankings are people that go to a "lower tier" school but feel the need to tell people they go to a "highly ranked primary care" school. Just be happy where you go, and get that lower tier school chip off your shoulder. Besides, what does primary care rankings have to tell us about skill treating patients? Its no coincidence that the higest ranked research schools are also affililiated with the top medical centers that provide the best, most cutting edge medical care. so yes, research does reflect skill in patient care.
 

dnelsen

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eyeful said:
Haha comon now, noone pays attention to the primary care rankings. Yeah, like Michigan State D.O. school with its 25 or something avg MCAT is a better school than Yale. The only people that use the primary care rankings are people that go to a "lower tier" school but feel the need to tell people they go to a "highly ranked primary care" school. Just be happy where you go, and get that lower tier school chip off your shoulder. Besides, what does primary care rankings have to tell us about skill treating patients? Its no coincidence that the higest ranked research schools are also affililiated with the top medical centers that provide the best, most cutting edge medical care. so yes, research does reflect skill in patient care.
I'm very happy with where I'm going and I definitely don't have a chip on my shoulder. I picked my school based solely on proximity to where I currently live. My wife is in professional school as well so I didn't want us to have to live apart. Based on my stats I would have been very competitive for a 'top tier school,' but I didn't even apply because I wasn't willing to relocate.

No doubt when people think of top medical schools they think of the ivy schools, stanford, johns hopkins. My point is that people should take a step back and look at what type of doctor they want to become. If you want to become a primary care doctor (family, peds, IM - including subspecialties) then why do you care about NIH funding? Are the top research schools better than the top primary care schools at training primary care doctors?

I'm sure many will make the argument that the top ranked research schools crank out the best doctors period. Well, I would say it is a chicken and egg problem. These top schools attract the top students so is it really fair to assign a doctor's success/talent to their school? Wouldn't they probably have become just as good a doctor if they went to a different school?
 

brothersboff

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eyeful said:
Haha comon now, noone pays attention to the primary care rankings. Yeah, like Michigan State D.O. school with its 25 or something avg MCAT is a better school than Yale. The only people that use the primary care rankings are people that go to a "lower tier" school but feel the need to tell people they go to a "highly ranked primary care" school. Just be happy where you go, and get that lower tier school chip off your shoulder. Besides, what does primary care rankings have to tell us about skill treating patients? Its no coincidence that the higest ranked research schools are also affililiated with the top medical centers that provide the best, most cutting edge medical care. so yes, research does reflect skill in patient care.
There I'd have to disagree. most cutting edge care is good and all, but lots of doctors are going to be in places where that isn't terribly important. If you're looking for the place that's going to teach you how to be the best family practicioner / rural / international health doctor then the biggest baddest new diagnostic machine may be completely irrelevant. To be honest, I'm not sure that the biggest, baddest new machine is always an improvement for any doctor.

Regardless of what you think on that though, I really don't believe that access to the cutting edge of medicine equates to greater skill in patient care.
 

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Lets be honest. The rankings are a discussion for the same reason that there is generally a discussion of "osteopaths are doctors too" (and yes, they are board certified physicians) on the pre-osteo board. At some level many people value the assumed legitimacy of big name school just as many people value the allopathic md.

I intend to go into academic medicine and you can bet that the name of my medical school will count on some level. While I looked for schools that were in places I would be happy (i.e. left NYC out altogether), I took into account how those schools would look when I apply for a competitive residency in the future. Unfortunately, in the world of academics a Harvard MD brings with it immediate assumptions, however valid/invalid, about the quality of one's training and ability to get into the school in the first place. Ivy League undergraduate degrees are valued for the same reason. When I interviewed for HST I can only recall ONE other student who had attended a state school (and mine was a UC which is reasonably well regarded as far as state schools go).

On the other hand, whatever our beefs about the US system for the delivery of care, the US provides the best medical education in the world. Wherever I go, I will be provided with the tools to become a competent physician. And my happiness in said school will certainly affect how enthusiastic I am about learning. If I am happier, I will likely approach school with more enthusiasm. This factor will be different for everyone and USWR will never be able to measure it.
 

dnelsen

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scrappysurfer said:
On the other hand, whatever our beefs about the US system for the delivery of care, the US provides the best medical education in the world. Wherever I go, I will be provided with the tools to become a competent physician. And my happiness in said school will certainly affect how enthusiastic I am about learning. If I am happier, I will likely approach school with more enthusiasm. This factor will be different for everyone and USWR will never be able to measure it.

:thumbup: