Announcement Regarding Participation in U.S. News & World Report Medical School Rankings
January 24, 2023
Dear Perelman School of Medicine Community:
I write to share with you that the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania will no longer contribute data to U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) for its medical school rankings. Our withdrawal from the rankings will go into effect in 2024, as we have already submitted our data for this year.
This decision follows several years of internal review and consultation. You may be aware of similar recent decisions by many law schools, as well as other medical schools including, most recently, Harvard Medical School and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.
The USNWR ranking system is a long-standing benchmark with considerable influence on applicants and institutions. We reached the decision to end our participation not because of concerns that these rankings are sometimes based on data that can be inaccurate or misleading, but because the rankings measure the wrong things.
The USNWR rankings perpetuate a vision for medical education and the future physician and scientist workforce that we do not share.
USNWR reinforces a legacy approach to training and a narrow, subjective perception of schools by their peers. While the Perelman School of Medicine has consistently ranked well by these measures, and we are proud of our reputation, we aspire to be judged more on our innovation, impact, the far-reaching accomplishments of our faculty and graduates, and our ability to keep our sights forward.
The USNWR measures encourage the acceptance of students based upon the highest grades and test scores. The Perelman School of Medicine has done well by these measures, too. Yet, we strive to identify and attract students with a wide array of characteristics that predict promise. The careers of transformative physicians, scientists, and leaders reveal the importance of other personal qualities, including creativity, passion, resilience, and empathy.
The Perelman School of Medicine aims to serve the needs of a changing world, including diverse communities and stakeholders ranging from prospective students to the patients who rely on the physicians, scientists, and leaders we train.
USNWR places heavy weighting on federal research funding, which is another area where we excel. Research funding is a reasonable proxy for the scale and caliber of research. But we know that medical schools vary widely in their research emphases and in their organizational structures, making comparisons difficult. Perhaps most important is the impact of research to open new fields, create new treatments, transform clinical guidelines, or to improve clinical care. Our goal is to foster discovery and creative approaches to seemingly intractable challenges.
External evaluations and transparency of information are important to us. They assist prospective students as they consider the path to their future. They also help schools continuously improve in preparing students and faculty for that future. We remain committed to providing objective information about who we are and what we offer. The kinds of data previously shared with USNWR will be included on our school’s admissions site. And we will work with others to develop new and better measures that are valid, meaningful, and more reflective of what students and the world need from us. Importantly, the decision we announce today does not have any bearing on our participation in the USNWR Best Hospitals rankings, which is a separate program.
Taking action that is right for the future of medical education is one way that we live our values and uphold our mission. Each of us in the Perelman School of Medicine should be proud of our ability to shape the future of health and health care.