Top rankings in both primary care and research lists

April 4, 2003

WORCESTER, Mass. ― The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) has again been ranked in the top ten percent of the nation’s 125 medical schools by weekly news magazine U. S. News & World Report in its much-anticipated annual review entitled “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” to be released online Friday.  UMMS is ranked twelfth in the increasingly competitive “Primary Care” schools category and has held a spot near the top of the category since the magazine began its rankings in 1994. 

“Every year, I look forward to the U.S. News & World Report rankings with anticipation,” said Chancellor and Dean Aaron Lazare, MD. “The rankings reinforce not only my belief that UMass is one of the country’s finest medical schools for primary care, but also my personal dedication to making this institution one of the best in research, as well.”

William M. Bulger, President of the University of Massachusetts, said, “It’s striking that UMass is the only school in the top 50 that accepts no out-of-state students. The residents of the Commonwealth should be exceptionally proud, as am I, of the high quality education provided to these bright young doctors who in turn serve and represent the Commonwealth. In fact, 60% of this year’s class chose residencies within the state.”

Members of the class of 2003 were accepted into some of the most competitive residency programs in the country, with sixty-four percent of graduates entering primary care (72% including obstetrics/gynecology and emergency medicine).  The school’s mission, as defined upon its creation by the state legislature in 1962, focuses on providing highly trained primary care physicians to practice in underserved areas of the state. The Medical School welcomed its first class of 16 students in 1970 and now accepts just 100 students per year, all of whom are state residents. UMMS enrollment figures for the academic year 2002-2003—which include students of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing—include 407 medical students, 224 PhD students, 14 PhD/MD students, 32 PhD (nursing) students, and 59 master’s (nursing) students. Degrees awarded, as of June 2002, include 2,387 doctor of medicine degrees, 190 doctor of philosophy in medical sciences degrees and 501 graduate nursing degrees.

UMass Medical School has also for the fifth straight year earned a top 50 ranking in the overall list of research schools, sharing 49th with Jefferson Medical College of Pennsylvania and the Medical College of Wisconsin.   Beyond its core mission of distinction in medical education, the past decade has seen UMMS explode onto the national scene as a major center for research. The institution also ranks near the top among public medical schools in the Northeast in the amount of funding awarded by the National Institutes of Health.  Federal and private research grants and contracts at UMMS rose from about $2 million in 1977 to more than $143 million in 2003, putting UMMS in the top third of all research medical schools, public or private. UMMS continues to be one of the fastest-growing research institutions in the U.S.

UMMS scientists have achieved national distinction as they undertake research to discover the causes of, and cures for, the most devastating diseases of our time. Recent notable advances made at UMMS include the discovery of RNA interference by Craig Mello, PhD, a finding that was hailed as a “Breakthrough of the Year” in 2002 by Science magazine and spawned an entirely new and promising field of research, the global import of which may prove astounding. RNAi technology has already been adopted as a remarkable research tool by laboratories around the world. Also, in early 2003, Aldo Rossini, MD, the William and Doris Krupp Professor of Medicine and director of the Division of Diabetes at UMMS, was the second UMMS faculty member to be awarded the American Diabetes Association Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement, the ADA’s highest award for diabetes research. Michael Czech, PhD, chair of the Program in Molecular Medicine, received the Banting Medal in 2001 for his study of type 2 diabetes.  UMMS faculty members are also nationally recognized authorities on AIDS, cancer, infectious diseases, pain control, arteriosclerosis, thyroid function, hypertension, joint replacement, organ transplantation, minimally invasive surgery, arthritis, senility and depression, among other areas.

In addition to the Medical School’s ranking, the Graduate School of Nursing placed 75th among more than 337 graduate nursing programs, according to Doreen Harper, PhD, Dean of the GSN.  “This is a significant milestone for the University of Massachusetts Graduate School of Nursing. The GSN is one of the few nursing schools in New England based at a thriving academic health center boasting abundant research and clinical resources. We have created a successful tradition of leadership in education, practice and research, positively impacting health care throughout the region, state and nation, and it’s rewarding to see our efforts recognized.”

U.S. News and World Report’'s rankings of the nation’s 125 accredited medical schools are based on measures of academic quality which are weighted by reputation among faculty and residents, research activity, student selectivity and faculty resources.  For additional information about the University of Massachusetts Medical School, visit . To read more about the US News & World Report rankings, log on to .

Contact: Alison Duffy, 508-856-2000