April 2, 2004

WORCESTER, Mass. ― The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) was ranked third in primary care among 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.” UMMS, which has held a spot near the top of the category since the magazine began its rankings in 1994, was tied with the University of Wisconsin-Madison for third; the University of Washington and Oregon Health & Science University were first and second, respectively. To read more about the US News & World Report rankings, log on to

“This medical school was founded by the Commonwealth to train outstanding primary care physicians for its people,” said Chancellor and Dean Aaron Lazare, MD. “The US News rankings underscore UMass Medical School’s successes in answering the Commonwealth’s call, and I am exceptionally proud of the faculty and staff.”

Jack Wilson, President of the University of Massachusetts, said, “It’s clear that UMass has earned its place among the top medical schools in the nation, an achievement that reflects well on higher public education in the state. The Medical School sets the standard of quality for all of the state’s universities, and we extend our congratulations to Dr. Lazare and his colleagues.”

Members of the class of 2004 were accepted into some of the most competitive residency programs in the country, with 52% of graduates entering primary care (70% 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 2003-2004—which include students of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing—include 408 medical students, 261 PhD students, 27 PhD/MD students, 39 PhD (nursing) students, 52 master’s nursing students and 3 post-masters nursing students. Degrees awarded, as of June 2002, include 2,446 doctor of medicine degrees, 227 doctor of philosophy in medical sciences degrees and 547 graduate nursing degrees. UMMS was the only school in the top 50 that accepts no out-of-state students into its medical degree program.

UMass Medical School was also ranked 53rd in the US News list of research schools. 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 $154 million in 2004, making it 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.

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 .

Contact: Mark Shelton, (508) 856-2000