By Ansley Pentz
The University of Florida’s College of Medicine received its highest-ever ranking in U.S. News & World Report’s annual report of the nation’s best research medical schools.
This year, the college ranked 40th out of the country’s 141 medical schools with M.D. programs, said Dr. Michael Good, dean of the College of Medicine. The ranking is up three spots from last year.
The rankings, which were released Wednesday, take into account assessments from leaders of American medical schools, such as deans, associate deans and program directors, Good said. U.S. News & World Report also looks at how much grant money the National Institutes of Health gives medical schools, along with how active faculty members are in conducting research.
“Our peers across the nation are seeing — increasingly — the quality of our education and the quality of our research programs,” Good said. Good said the ranking is important because it shows that UF Health Shands Hospital is using the best approaches to health care.
The college’s research can impact those who come to the hospital seeking care, Good said. He noted a College of Medicine neurologist who received a grant in 2013 that provided money for pediatric brain cancer research, which could directly help young patients who come to UF Health. High research rankings also matter to some UF pre-medical students — undergraduate students who plan to apply to medical school.
“It definitely means something to me because research is very important in the medical field,” said Ediel Almeida, a UF biology sophomore on the pre-med track. Though he’s 19, Almeida said he feels the need to start looking into medical schools to apply to. Applying “is definitely something that’s always on my mind,” he said. When looking at schools, Almeida said he focuses on the overall program offered by each medical college, including research, the average number of students who pass board exams and what current medical students think of the school. He said UF’s College of Medicine is his target school. “Ranking does have a decently sized play on where I would like to go,” Almeida said.
But Ghazel Farajzadeh, a UF applied physiology and kinesiology junior on a pre-med track, said rankings aren’t the reason she wants to attend UF’s College of Medicine. “Even without the rating, for me UF is one of my top choices,” the 20-year-old said. She said she plans to apply to medical schools next year and that she’s considering schools with quality student resources, labs and faculty. Still, Farajzadeh said the rankings show how many research opportunities UF has. “It shows that they’re doing something right, and it makes me feel good about my decision,” she said.
UF first-year medical student Hanna Peterson, 24, said that while she was excited about the school’s high ranking, it didn’t come as a surprise. “We’re really getting a comprehensive education that’s very modern, very collaborative,” she said.
Good said UF strives to be a preeminent medical school. “To do that, we want to continue to attract the very best students,” he said.