Posted on February 2, 2023

Medical Schools Bail on Academic Merit and Intellectual Rigor

Ira Stoll, Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2023

To see how the diversity, equity and inclusion mania is colliding with meritocracy in American higher education, pay attention to the flap over graduate schools pulling out of the U.S. News rankings. Readers who aren’t applying to medical school may have missed the controversy. But anyone who plans on seeing a doctor or benefiting from research or treatment at an academic medical center has an interest in the outcome.

So far, U.S. News has resisted demands from the graduate schools to base the rankings on equity rather than on the grades and test scores of incoming students. U.S. News has been transparent about the method it uses for its rankings, including factors such as a reputation survey, MCAT scores and grade point averages of incoming students.

The medical schools have been similarly clear about why they disagree with the U.S. News method and will stop participating. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in a Jan. 24 statement, said the U.S. News rankings undermine the school’s “commitment to anti-racism” and “outreach to diverse communities.”

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are important factors in our decision,” the school’s deans, Dennis Charney and David Muller, said. “We believe that the quality of medical students and future physicians is reflected in their lived experiences, intersecting identities, research accomplishments, commitment to social and racial justice, and a set of core values that are aligned with those of our school.”


The dean of Stanford Medical School, Lloyd Minor, made a similar claim, announcing that instead of participating in the U.S. News rankings, the school would start issuing its own data “emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

A Jan. 24 statement from the dean of the medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, J. Larry Jameson, complained that the U.S. News rankings “measure the wrong things” and “encourage the acceptance of students based upon the highest grades and test scores.” {snip}


U.S. News already does provide a list ranking universities that have the most racial and ethnic diversity among students. The medical school deans and the activists pushing them, however, apparently won’t be satisfied until test scores and grades are totally eliminated from the rankings, replaced by a commitment to anti-racism and diversity, equity and inclusion, which are less easily quantified.