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National rankings laud Medical, Nursing schools

BY: CRAIG BOERNER

3/30/2007 - For the first time, Vanderbilt's schools of Medicine and Nursing both rank among the top 20 in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report's annual ranking of graduate education programs and health disciplines released this week.

In the new edition of America's Best Graduate Schools, VUSM ranked 18th out of 125 accredited medical schools with an overall score of 65, which is one point behind a three-way tie for the 15th position.

The Nursing program jumped into the Top 20 this year at 19th place, scoring 3.9 out of 5 in that category. It previously ranked 29th when nursing programs were last evaluated by U.S. News in 2003.

Audiology placed first in the nation for the fourth consecutive year in its respective category with a score of 4.3 out of 5.

“Once again Vanderbilt is recognized as one of the premier medical schools in the country,” Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Harry Jacobson, M.D., said.

“And I am extremely pleased to add this year that our nursing program is equally recognized as being at the top of its class.”

Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, said she is "thrilled beyond words.

"This not only reflects the hard work of our faculty and staff here at the school of nursing and the quality of students that we're attracting, but it also reflects on the reputation of the medical center and the fact the hospital achieved Magnet status,” she said.

“This is a great day for every part of nursing at Vanderbilt," Conway-Welch said.

VUSM's overall score is up one point over last year and it remains one point away from 15th place. Dean Steven Gabbe, M.D., noted that the medical school improved its scores this year in five of the parameters.

“We improved in five of the criteria, including the assessment of our programs by residency directors. I think the rankings show that this is an amazing environment for medical education,” Gabbe said. “We attract the very best students and we have one of the highest faculty/student ratios among the top institutions in the country.”

U.S. News ranks schools with an overall score as determined by marks in 10 individual categories — peer assessment, assessment score by residency directors, undergraduate GPA and MCAT scores, acceptance rate, NIH research grants, research grants per faculty member, faculty/student ratio, out-of-state tuition and fees, and total enrollment.

Harvard University once again ranked first among research medical schools and Johns Hopkins University second.

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