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VUSM ranked among nationís top schools

BY: DOUG CAMPBELL

4/15/2010 - Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is once again included among the nation's top medical education programs according to U.S. News and World Report's annual tabulation of graduate education programs and health disciplines released this week.

In the new 2011 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools, VUSM stands alone at 15th out of 126 accredited U.S. medical schools, achieving an overall score of 66 to move ahead of the University of California-San Diego. Last year, the two schools were tied at 15th.

“I am proud to say this report reflects the commitment to excellence and dedication to service exhibited by our faculty and staff,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

“To be one of the best is both a privilege and a great responsibility. People look to us not just for the best in health care but also for creative insight and innovation that will continue to push the upper limits of quality.

“We strive to train the next generation of leadership with the knowledge and spirit of service that reaches people all over the world, effectively raising the bar for health care everywhere,” Balser said.

Not all graduate education programs and health disciplines are re-ranked every year, though U.S. News does include its most recent rankings of all programs in each year's issue of Best Graduate Schools.

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing ranked 19th when nursing programs were last evaluated by U.S. News in 2007.

“Our top national ranking reflects our commitment to advancing the art and science of nursing,” said Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., dean of VUSN.

“In just the past few years, we have become the largest professional school at Vanderbilt, started a masters in Nutrition program, transitioned Vine Hill Community Center to a Federally Qualified Health Center, have received Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality funding to develop virtual clinic sites with 'Second Life,' are just weeks away from graduating our first class of Doctor of Nursing Practice students, and are continuing to develop our faculty research expertise.

“These are just some examples in these exciting times made possible by the dedication of our deans, faculty and staff,” Conway-Welch said.

Vanderbilt's Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology programs ranked first and fifth, respectively, when these disciplines were most recently ranked in 2008.

“Such sustained, external validation of the superb efforts of the members of the Hearing and Speech Department is inspirational,” said Ron Eavey, M.D., chair of the Department of Otolaryngology and director of the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center.

“The Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center is absolutely unique — and such recognition highlights our responsibility as a national and global leader.”

Anne Marie Tharpe, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and associate director of the Bill Wilkerson Center, was also pleased with the latest ranking.

“I was thrilled to learn that our graduate programs in audiology and speech-language pathology maintained their superb rankings as determined by U.S. News and World Report. These rankings are a reflection of the quality of faculty scholarship, teaching and clinical guidance that our students in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences receive.”

Included in this year’s Schools of Medicine ranking, VUSM had four programs listed among the nation’s best in the Specialties category. Rankings for the Specialty categories are determined by medical school deans and senior faculty. VUSM’s programs in Internal Medicine (12), Pediatrics (20), AIDS (18) and Primary Care (42) all made the list in their respective categories.

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. The University of Pennsylvania moved ahead of Johns Hopkins University to claim the No. 2 spot. The University of California-San Francisco and Washington University in St. Louis tied for fourth place.

Several other Vanderbilt programs were ranked in this latest edition of America's Best Graduate Schools, including:
Peabody School of Education — 1st
Vanderbilt School of Law — 17th
Owen Graduate School of Management — Schools of Business — 36th
Vanderbilt School of Engineering — 37th.

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