Medical school is second most selective

The School of Medicine and Health Sciences was named the second most selective medical school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, an accolade medical school administrators attribute to strengthened research programs at the school.

SMHS was named the second most competitive medical school in the country after accepting only 3.1 percent of the 10,589 students who made it to the second round of the application process in 2010.

The only school to have a lower acceptance rate was the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., which accepted 2.2 percent of applicants.

Of all the schools that reported entrance data to U.S. News and World Report, an average of 8.9 percent of applicants gained admission.

In filling the school’s 177 seats – a number that has remained constant over the past five years – SMHS admissions officers target students who look beyond the curriculum to take advantage of the practical experiences the school offers.

“We absolutely want students with a strong academic background to meet the challenges?in the future of medicine. We also want collaborators, students who, in addition to the usual obvious experiences, have come out of their comfort-level experiences, who have a strong passion for serving others,” Diane McQuail, assistant dean of admissions for the school, said.

Continuing a decade-long trend, the medical school experienced a 3.4 percent jump in applications over the last year, well above the national average growth rate of 2.5 percent.

“We have a very large pool because we are in D.C. and specifically take advantage of all the city has to offer: locally, nationally and globally,” McQuail said. “Our students are educated in a program with a reputation for extraordinary clinical training, cutting-edge research, international public health, and service opportunities.”

In the area of research, GW’s medical school ranks 60th in the nation.

“We have worked very hard to enhance GW’s standing as a great research institution, and I think this is one of the main reasons for our rise in the rankings,” Jeffrey Akman, vice provost for health affairs and interim dean of SMHS, said.

In 2008 the school was put on probation for more than a year by its accreditation board due to issues with the curriculum, space and the administrative processes. Since then, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences has taken steps to remedy those issues raised by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which removed the school from probation in February 2010.

Last summer the school received more than $20 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health for research in HIV/AIDS and children’s health, which are both ongoing research initiatives pursued by the medical center.

“We have recruited some excellent new researchers to the faculty, and we intend to continue strengthening our research programs,” Akman said.

This article was updated on April 12, 2011 to reflect the following changes:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the three schools in the medical center are undergoing a review to remedy problems related to probation. The current review of the medical center is not related to the medical school’s previous probationary status.

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