The University of South Alabama College of Medicine was cited as one of the leading medical schools in the United States based on its social mission of medical education. This ranking was published in an article appearing in this week’s Annals of Internal Medicine, a premier internal medicine journal with a readership that includes more than 129,000 members of the American College of Physicians.
The 141 U.S. medical schools were evaluated and ranked on a new scale based on the percentage of medical school graduates who practice primary care, work in health professional shortage areas (HPSAs), and are underrepresented minorities.
The rankings were compiled in an article titled “The Social Mission of Medical Education: Ranking the Schools” authored by a group led by Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, Murdock Head Professor and Health Policy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
"Throughout our history, the University of South Alabama College of Medicine has placed strong emphasis on serving the healthcare needs of our state by training doctors that ultimately practice in Alabama," said Dr. Samuel J. Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine. "Our high marks reflected in this peer-reviewed journal article validate this point, and underscores our effort and commitment to train doctors who establish their practices along the Gulf Coast and in underserved regions of our state."
Overall, USA ranked No. 8 out of the 141 medical schools and received a social mission score of 3.15. The school ranked No. 25 in primary care physician output with 42 percent of graduates practicing as a primary care physician.
USA ranked No. 2 in HPSA physician output with 52 percent of graduates practicing in HPSAs.
Educating physicians in medically underserved regions of the state is a significant part of the USA College of Medicine’s mission. At USA, an effort is made to admit at least 25 percent of the class from rural counties provided that they meet criteria of acceptance.
USA ranked No. 112 in the underrepresented minorities category with a total of 8.2 percent of underrepresented minorities in the school.
In addition to admissions criteria, several factors at USA point to high marks in these areas, including an emphasis on the importance of teaching, good role models, opportunities to conduct training in rural settings, and having smaller class sizes with more student-faculty interactions.
The ranking is based on Dr. Mullan’s research that included a review of 60,043 physicians in active practice who graduated from medical school between 1999 and 2001.
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The USA College of Medicine was established in 1973. With approximately 2,100 graduates, the medical school and affiliated hospitals have trained more than one-third of all practicing physicians in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. The school's smaller class size (74 students/class) provides students with a high degree of faculty interaction in a supportive learning environment.