Dr. Douglas Richman

Douglas D. Richman, M.D.

The HIV/AIDS training program in the UC San Diego School of Medicine holds a top-10 position once again in the “America’s Best Medical Schools” rankings from U.S.News & World Report.

U.S. News evaluates the nation’s medical schools every year for the quality of their training programs in research, primary care, and selected internal medicine specialties including HIV/AIDS.

The new rankings, released April 15, place the UC San Diego School of Medicine 10th in the nation in HIV/AIDS specialty training, 16th in research training, and 28th in primary care. A total of 122 medical schools are included in the rankings.

“The department’s clinical and research programs in HIV/AIDS have been a model for how the concerted efforts of faculty, fellows and support staff can make a major difference in the lives of patients with the devastating disease,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., M.A.C.P., Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine.

In the HIV/AIDS specialty, the Department of Medicine offers research and clinical training via the teaching activities of the Division of General Internal Medicine and Division of Infectious Diseases.

Those divisions operate a variety of clinical and research entities including the Owen Clinic, the Antiviral Research Center, the AIDS Research Institute, and the Center for AIDS Research.

“Over the years at UCSD, we have been fortunate in accumulating and retaining a remarkable group of outstanding clinicians, basic, translational and clinical investigators involved in the care and study of HIV/AIDS,” said Douglas D. Richman, M.D., Professor of Pathology and Medicine and the Florence Seeley Riford Chair in AIDS Research.

Dr. Richman, Director of the UCSD Center for AIDS Research, has served as principal investigator of UCSD’s AIDS training grant for many years.

“UCSD investigators have made remarkable contributions in the areas of treatment and pathogenesis,” he said. “In recent years, we have enhanced our strength with outstanding programs in epidemiology and global health.

“What is special about UCSD,” Dr. Richman said, “is the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of HIV/AIDS research which has been fostered by our Center for AIDS Research.”

The UC San Diego School of Medicine has 1,035 full-time faculty members, of whom over 420 are in the Department of Medicine.

The Department’s 2009 research funding amounted to more than $113 million, not including grants received through the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, the San Diego VA Healthcare System, and the Veterans Medical Research Foundation.

The U.S. News rankings of medical specialties, including HIV/AIDS, are based on the opinions of medical school deans and senior faculty members who are asked to name the schools that offer the best training programs in each specialty.

In HIV/AIDS specialty training, two University of California medical schools are ranked higher than UC San Diego’s: UC San Francisco at first and UCLA at 6th.

Two UC medical schools are placed higher than UC San Diego’s in the research rankings: UC San Francisco at 4th and UCLA at 11th.

In primary care, three UC medical schools are ranked above UC San Diego: UC San Francisco at 5th, UCLA at 14th and UC Davis at 20th.

In the nation overall, Harvard Medical School is ranked first in research and the University of Washington School of Medicine is first in primary care.

Behind the Rankings

For the annual “Best Medical Schools” rankings, U.S. News invites all fully accredited medical schools and schools of osteopathic medicine in the nation to provide information about their own programs and to assess the quality of other schools’ programs.

In this year’s survey, 122 of 146 schools responded.

The primary care and research rankings are based on two indicators of medical school quality: descriptive data for faculty, research, and students; and peer opinions about program quality.

The research rankings depend most heavily on peer assessments from other schools and research activity as reflected in NIH funding data. UC San Diego’s School of Medicine consistently ranks as one of the top in the nation in NIH funding.

For academic years 2007-2009, 42% of the UC San Diego School of Medicine graduates entered a primary-care residency program. Nationally, that percentage ranged from 80.5% (Michigan State University) to 19.3% (University of Nevada – Reno).

That percentage was one of seven factors taken into account in the primary care rankings.

Details of the medical school ranking methodology are presented here.

U.S. News published the medical school rankings as part of “America’s Best Graduate Schools, 2011 Edition.” Patient care rankings are published in a separate edition, “America’s Best Hospitals,” to be released in July.

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from UC San Diego News

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