UMMS also ranks highly in research and biological sciences 

March 31, 2006 

WORCESTER, Mass. -- The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) was again ranked fourth in primary care among the nation's 125 fully accredited medical schools and 19 schools of osteopathic medicine by weekly news magazine U.S. News & World Report in its annual review entitled "America's Best Graduate Schools," to be released online Friday, March 31.  UMMS, which has held a spot near the very top of the category since the magazine began its rankings in 1994, is the only school in the top 50 that accepts no out-of-state students into its medical degree program. 

"Through unparalleled service and education, our outstanding faculty have a lasting and profound impact on the health of the Commonwealth and the nation," said Chancellor and Dean Aaron Lazare, MD. "It pleases me to no end to see public affirmation of our efforts to provide a high quality primary care education to tomorrow's physicians." 

Jack M. Wilson, President of the University of Massachusetts, said, "UMass has shown great successes in countless areas of public higher education thanks to the remarkable contributions of scores of the Commonwealth's most brilliant thinkers. The Medical School is a vibrant and exciting institution that has built a stellar reputation as a magnet for the highest caliber leaders in medicine, research and public service. We applaud Dr. Lazare and his colleagues for setting the standard of quality in medical education."

Graduates of UMMS are poised to excel in their medical careers. Members of the UMMS class of 2006 were accepted into some of the most competitive residency programs in the country, with 46% of graduates entering primary care (68% 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 in each annual class, all of whom are state residents. Enrollment figures for the academic year 2005-2006-for the Medical School, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing-include 399 medical students, 21 MD/PhD students, 347 GSBS students and 175 nursing students, along with 526 residents and fellows. Degrees awarded, as of June 2004, include 2,649 doctor of medicine degrees, 278 doctor of philosophy in medical sciences degrees and 601 graduate nursing degrees (masters, post-masters and PhD). 

In addition to the Medical School's standing in primary care, the PhD program of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMass Worcester was also ranked highly, at 51, by deans and department chairs. 

“I am absolutely thrilled,” said Anthony Carruthers, PhD, dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. “This reflects our combined efforts to recruit outstanding students, to offer a really challenging curriculum that prepares the student for research and to offer the most exciting research opportunities through the recruitment and development of outstanding research faculty. I extend my most sincere congratulations to our students, faculty, staff and leadership. National recognition of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is an aggregate measure of many individual efforts but especially reflects the work by students and faculty to push the envelope in their field of research. I am privileged to enjoy this very public acknowledgement of your success."

Founded in 1979, the GSBS trains scientists in a specialty area with a broad background in the basic medical sciences, in preparation for conducting research with direct relevance to human disease. Graduates are trained to collaborate with scientists and physicians involved in clinical investigations and to initiate careers as educators in schools of the health professions or in the biotechnology industry. The GSBS offers students a multidisciplinary program of study in which they have freedom of choice in curriculum and in the selection of mentors for their graduate thesis research-an approach that is matched by very few graduate programs in the nation.

In its listing of top research schools, U.S. News ranked UMMS 48th. 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 $174 million in 2006, 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. Notable advances made at UMMS include the co-discovery of RNA interference by Craig C. Mello, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine and distinguished professor of molecular medicine and cell biology; RNAi, was hailed as a "Breakthrough of the Year" 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, two UMMS faculty, Aldo Rossini, MD, the William and Doris Krupp Professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of Diabetes at UMMS, and Michael Czech, PhD, chair of the Program in Molecular Medicine, were awarded the American Diabetes Association Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement, the ADA's highest award for diabetes research. Dario C. Altieri, MD, UMMS professor and chair of cancer biology and Director of the UMass Cancer Center, recently received an exclusive and highly competitive Rapid Access to Intervention Development (RAID) Award from the National Cancer Institute for the clinical development of shepherdin, a novel molecular anti-cancer agent that he developed. UMMS faculty members are also nationally recognized authorities on AIDS, infectious diseases, pain control, arteriosclerosis, thyroid function, hypertension, joint replacement, organ transplantation, minimally invasive surgery, arthritis, senility and depression, among other areas. 

The U.S. News and World Report rankings of the nation's 125 accredited medical schools and 19 accredited schools of osteopathic medicine 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 U.S. News & World Report rankings, log on to . The 2007 rankings will be posted at 12:01 a.m. Friday, March 31; the printed magazine will hit newsstands Monday, April 3. 

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