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The nation's medical schools are not all producing doctors to meet the country's growing health care needs, according to a study by researchers at the George Washington Univeristy published in the June 15 Annals of Internal Medicine.  

On the heels of health care reform legislation that will put millions more people into the ranks of the insured, the study ranked all U.S. medical schools based on their contributions of primary care physicians, doctors serving in underserved areas and minority physicians -- or their ability to meet a social mission.

The researchers found at 141 medical schools:
--Those in the Northeast generally performed poorly on all three measures.
--Public schools graduated higher proportions of primary care physicians than private schools.
--Schools with substantial National Institutes of Health research funding generally produced fewer primary care physicians and physicians practicing in underserved areas. 
--Several large research institutions (University of Minnesota and University of Washington) defied the trend.
--Historically black schools had the highest social mission rankings.
--Osteopathic schools produced more primary care physicians than allopathic schools but trained fewer minorities.
--Schools in progressively smaller cities produced more primary care physicians and physicians who practiced in underserved communities but graduated fewer minorities.

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Medical schools are expanding for the first time in three decades, researchers said. And the study shows how they can determine the make-up of the physician workforce.

"Where doctors choose to work, and what specialty they select, are heavily influenced by medical school," says lead author Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, professor of health policy at George Washington University. "By recruiting minority students and prioritizing the training of primary care physicians and promoting practice in underserved areas, medical schools will help deliver the health care that Americans desperately need."

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The study was funded with a grant from the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. The researchers looked at physicians in practice after the completion of all training and national obligations rather than initial residency to get a better picture of where doctors ended up. Data was for graduates from 1999 to 2001.

See the rankings on the next page (Hint: Hopkins didn't rank so high).

The 20 schools with the highest social mission scores (ranked from highest to lowest):
 
1. Morehouse College
2. Meharry Medical College
3. Howard University
4. Wright State University Boonshoft  School of Medicine
5. University of Kansas
6. Michigan State University
7. East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine
8. University of South Alabama, Ponce Medical College
9. University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine 10. Oregon Health & Sciences University
11. East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine
12. University of Mississippi
13. University of Kentucky
14. Southern Illinois University
15. Marshall University
16. Joan C. Edwards University
17. University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
18. University of Illinois
19. University of New Mexico
20. University of Wisconsin 
 
The 20 schools with the lowest social mission scores (ranked from highest to lowest):
 
122. Johns Hopkins University
123. Stanford University
124. Duke University
125. Texas A&M University
126. Columbia University
127. Albany Medical College, Columbia University
128. Medical College of Wisconsin
129. University of Pennsylvania
130. Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine
131. Boston University 132. Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
133. Stony Brook University
134. Thomas Jefferson University
135. Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
136. University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey
137. New York University
138. University of California Irvine
139. Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
140. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
141. Vanderbilt University 
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