The School of Medicine continues to raise money, rank high in NIH funding, initiate new programs, and draw the best students.

The School of Medicine continues to raise money, maintain its commitment to financial aid, launch new programs, and make plans to revise the curriculum. And, Dean Robert J. Alpern, M.D., reported in his annual State of the School address at this year’s alumni reunion, the school also continues to attract the brightest applicants it has seen. 

Next year’s incoming freshmen, Alpern said, have the highest mean per section MCAT scores the school has ever seen: 12.15. And this past year saw the most applications ever, 4,243 for 100 slots.

However, he added, students graduate with an average debt of $132,013.  “It’s huge,” said Alpern, Ensign Professor of Medicine, “but much less than the national average for private schools.” To help our students graduate with lower debt, financial aid remains a top priority. This year the school implemented a sliding scale for contributions from parents whose annual income falls between $100,000 and $140,000. (This follows a 2008 change that increased the income level requiring a parental contribution from $45,000 to $100,000.)

To improve the quality of a Yale medical education, the school is revisiting its curriculum. An educational strategic planning committee formed last year and led by Richard Belitsky, M.D., deputy dean for education and the Harold W. Jockers Associate Professor of Medical Education, has identified curriculum reform and elevating the status of teaching as top priorities. (The committee issued its final report this spring and, in June, Alpern gave it his approval for implementation.)

Moving from education to research, Alpern said that as interdisciplinary programs grow at the medical school, top scientists are being recruited to join leaders in the field already working here. “Breaking down barriers between departments,” he said, “is a big emphasis at Yale today.” New programs in cancer biology, biodesign, and chemical biology are all under way at West Campus, and at the medical campus scientists and physicians are pursuing interdisciplinary research in vascular biology and therapeutics, stem cell biology, human genetics, translational immunology, and cellular neuroscience, neurodegeneration, and repair.

Researchers continue to bring in NIH dollars—the school ranked fifth last fiscal year in total NIH dollars for research grants, and first in grants per faculty member.

On the clinical side, the Yale Medical Group has seen constant growth in revenues and patient volume. The practice is about to implement an ambulatory electronic medical record (EMR) system for patient records that would increase efficiency and lead to better care and outcomes. Epic, “the gold standard,” Alpern said, has been selected for the medical school’s EMR. Further, an analysis of the medical school’s clinical space needs and potential market over the next 10 years is in its second phase—considering such scenarios as a central clinical facility, satellite offices, or some combination of the two for Yale Medical Group.

“The take-home message,” Alpern told alumni, “is your medical school is doing great.”