UPDATED: January 18, 2023, at 9:40 a.m.
Harvard Medical School will no longer participate in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings, the school’s dean announced Tuesday, becoming the second of Harvard’s graduate schools to boycott the magazine.
The decision follows the withdrawal of top law schools from the magazine’s rankings, including Harvard Law School in November 2022. In a letter to affiliates, Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley ’82 said he was inspired by “the courageous and bold moves by my respected colleague Dean John Manning of Harvard Law School and those of peer law schools.”
Daley said the decision to withdraw from the U.S. News rankings was based on fairness and equity concerns, citing incentives to cut back on aid to students with the most financial need.
“Rankings cannot meaningfully reflect the high aspirations for educational excellence, graduate preparedness, and compassionate and equitable patient care that we strive to foster in our medical education programs,” Daley wrote. “As unintended consequences, rankings create perverse incentives for institutions to report misleading or inaccurate data, set policies to boost rankings rather than nobler objectives, or divert financial aid from students with financial need to high-scoring students with means in order to maximize ranking criteria.”
In the most recent U.S News ranking, HMS ranked No. 1 for research and No. 9 for primary care among medical schools. U.S. News announced in early January that it would continue to rank boycotting law schools using an updated methodology, but the magazine has not yet stated whether it would include HMS in its next rankings despite the boycott.
Eric J. Gertler, CEO and executive chairman of U.S. News, wrote in a statement that the mission of the rankings is to “help prospective students make the best decisions for their educational future.”
“Where students attend school and how they use their education are among the most critical decisions of their life, and with admissions more competitive and less transparent, and tuition increasingly expensive, we believe students deserve access to all the data and information necessary to make the right decision,” he wrote.
Gertler wrote that because contrasting different institutions across a common data set can be “challenging,” U.S. News regularly states that rankings should only be one aspect prospective applicants consider.
“The fact is, millions of prospective students annually visit U.S. News medical school rankings because we provide students with valuable data and solutions to help with that process,” he wrote.
In his letter, Daley acknowledged that prospective medical students would want to evaluate attributes of HMS before applying.
Daley wrote that HMS would continue to share key information on their admissions website.
In addition, Daley wrote that the Medical School Admission Requirements Reports for Applicants and Advisors includes unweighted data about HMS and other medical schools in the U.S.via the Association of American Medical Colleges website.
“What matters most to me as dean, alumnus, and faculty member is not a #1 ranking, but the quality and richness of the educational experience we provide at Harvard Medical School that encourages personal growth and lifelong learning,” Daley wrote.
—Staff writer Ammy M. Yuan can be reached at email@example.com.