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Ranking of Medical Schools’ Global Health Programs


Photo courtesy of

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When I first began advising premedical students in 1993 there was minimal interest in global health. Since then, the focus on global health among premedical and medical students has exploded. Most premedical students want a global health experience and many are interested in pursuing additional training in global health as medical students. We are truly a global society and students have become more aware of global issues, especially the lack of access to outstanding care.

Medical schools have responded by adding programs and opportunities in global health, although it’s often difficult for applicants to weigh one program against another. That has now changed: the University Global Health Impact Report Card ranks the top 54 research universities in North America in regard to their contributions to global health. The analysis and ranking is sponsored by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, a student-run health advocacy organization.  Only one school receives a grade in the A range and it’s an A-. The rest of the schools receive B+ grades or below. There is obviously room for improvement. Read the methodology carefully (in the link above) to understand how this ranking was derived. Here are the top ten universities on the list:

1. Johns Hopkins

2. Emory

3. University of Washington, Seattle

4. Harvard

5. University of California, San Francisco

6. Boston University

7. Case Western

8. Yale

9. Duke

10. Stanford

One of the most august and well-respected global health programs is the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard. The medical school at Johns Hopkins has a strong affiliation with its Bloomberg School of Public Health, which has outstanding international programs.

Despite the interest in global health among premed and medical students, they should be mindful of the glaring disparities that also exist in our own country in both inner-city and rural regions; students should also make an attempt to understand the insufficiencies that exist within our own borders.

–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting

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