The Warren Alpert Medical School will no longer submit data to US News & World Report for its Best Medical Schools rankings.
Mukesh K. Jain, MD, dean of medicine and biological sciences and senior vice president for health affairs, says the decision is based on “the flawed methodology of the rankings and their negative consequences on medical education.”
The move comes after years of discussions about whether the rankings comport with the School’s holistic approach to evaluating applicants. In recent months, the Medical School’s leadership team deepened these discussions and consulted with students, alumni, and faculty as well as members of the Corporation of Brown University.
“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,” Jain wrote in a letter to the community in August. “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.”
Jain cited the US News rankings’ emphasis on undergraduate GPAs and MCAT scores among the specific driving factors in the decision to withdraw. “We weigh a much broader set of criteria in reviewing applicants to The Warren Alpert Medical School, recognizing that there are many measures of preparation for medical school and many paths toward a life and career in medicine,” he wrote.
Additional factors that influenced the decision to withdraw from the rankings include an overemphasis on NIH research funding at the expense of research innovation and impact; a faculty evaluation approach that focuses on full-time faculty, which disadvantages schools like Brown that value the learning students gain from clinical faculty practicing in affiliated hospitals and the community; and the lack of metrics that measure how much student support a school provides, what amenities and systems students can access, or how they fare after graduation.
These factors, Jain wrote, “demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of what truly impacts medical education.”
The change will take effect in 2024, as the 2023 rankings have already been published.