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KU School of Medicine rises to No. 9 in U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of best medical schools for primary care

March 30, 2021

By Kristi Birch

Celebratory image that says "2022" and the word "Best"

The University of Kansas School of Medicine now ranks in the top ten medical schools in the country for primary care, according to U.S. News and World Report's rankings of medical schools in the United States for 2022, released today. The KU School of Medicine, which comprises campuses in Kansas City, Salina and Wichita, catapulted from its 38th place national ranking a year ago to the No. 9 spot. Among public institutions, the school ranked eighth. This is the first time the KU School of Medicine has ranked in the top 10 since U.S. News began producing primary care rankings in 1999 for all accredited medical schools.

"Producing excellent primary care physicians for the state of Kansas and beyond is a crucial part of our mission, and we are proud to be recognized for our hard work toward achieving that goal," said Robert D. Simari, M.D., executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center. "Primary care doctors are often the first doctor patients see when they become ill, and they are essential to helping people stay healthy by identifying risk factors to prevent disease and in helping them navigate and coordinate care for chronic conditions."

U.S. News surveyed 191 medical schools across the country to produce the rankings. The schools ranked were evaluated on the basis of faculty resources, the academic achievement of their entering students and qualitative assessments by schools and residency directors. The rankings for primary care specifically incorporate a metric on the proportions of graduates who enter primary care residencies.

For the 2022 rankings, U.S. News added a new metric, the proportion of a medical school's graduates who are now practicing medicine in primary care specialties, which their methodology description calls "a fuller measure of a school's imprint in primary care than exclusively assessing the proportions of graduates in primary care residencies." The new metric uses the American Medical Association's Masterfile, which contains comprehensive data on all U.S. physicians.

The top 10 medical schools for primary care as ranked by U.S. News and World Report for 2022 are:

1.   University of Washington
2.   University of California--San Francisco
3.   University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill
4.   Oregon Health and Science University
5.   University of Minnesota
6.   University of Colorado
7.   University of Nebraska Medical Center
8.   Harvard University (MA)
9.   University of Kansas Medical Center
10. University of Massachusetts--Worcester

The KU School of Medicine also ranked 19th in the nation in the rankings for its family medicine program. Family medicine doctors are primary care practitioners who care for the whole family, across all ages, in a variety of areas including obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and geriatrics. The family medicine ranking, as with the other specialties ranked by U.S. News, was based solely on ratings from medical school deans and senior faculty from the schools surveyed. Survey respondents each identified up to 15 schools offering the best programs in family medicine.

Primary care doctors, including family medicine physicians, have been critical providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are also in short supply in the state of Kansas, especially in rural areas. Meanwhile, the demand for these providers is expected to grow as physicians retire and the population ages and thus requires more medical care.

"We are proud to be recognized as one of the top 20 family medicine programs across the country," said Akinlolu Ojo, M.D., executive dean of the KU School of Medicine. "As the only medical school in the state of Kansas, we have strived to create excellent residency programs in family medicine as well as other specialties within primary care. We will continue to train top-notch primary care physicians to help address the physician shortage and to improve the health of Kansans."

Last modified: Mar 30, 2021