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Results recently released from the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Graduation Questionnaire (GQ) provide insight on student performance, quality of medical education and student satisfaction at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.
The data revealed that medical students at the USA College of Medicine performed at the highest level when compared to other medical students from across the United States. USA medical students scored in the top quartile of medical schools on several measures that demonstrate student academic performance and achievement.
According to Dr. John Marymont, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the USA College of Medicine, this new data speaks to the caliber of our faculty members, students, educational process and learning environment.
“The USA College of Medicine has always enjoyed a reputation of providing outstanding education for medical students,” he said. “The mentorship and encouragement demonstrated by faculty members coupled with the dedication and hard work displayed by students creates a nurturing environment that breeds academic success.”
According to Dr. Susan LeDoux, associate dean for medical education and student affairs at USA, students at the USA College of Medicine performed exceptionally well on both the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2.
The USMLE Step 1 is the first of three licensure exams that students take to assess their ability to apply knowledge, concepts and principles, and to demonstrate fundamental patient-centered skills.
“In 2017 the average score for USA medical students taking Step 1 was 235, compared to a national average of 230,” Dr. LeDoux said.
The USMLE Step 2 exam measures clinical knowledge and is taken during the beginning of the fourth year of medical school. According to Dr. Tony Gard, assistant dean for medical education at the USA College of Medicine, out of 102 medical schools reporting their scores, only 13 outperformed USA during the 2015-2016 academic year, when the upward trending of scores for our students first became clear. This placed USA’s graduating Class of 2016 in the top quartile of performance compared to other medical schools.
“For the graduating Class of 2017, the average score for USA medical students increased further to 248, while the national average on this exam did not change from the preceding year,” Dr. Gard said. “The results for the current senior class are just as promising. These results predict that successive classes of senior USA graduates are sustaining a high level of competence in medical knowledge ranking among the very best medical schools in the country.”
The GQ, administered by the AAMC, is designed to identify issues critical to the future of medical education and the well-being of medical students, and is used by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) for benchmarking and improving medical education.
Dr. LeDoux said one of the key questions graduates are asked concerns satisfaction with their educational experience. “The results from the 2017 AAMC graduation questionnaire showed that 98 percent of students from the USA College of Medicine were either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with their education,” she said. “When compared to other schools across the United States, the results put us above the ninetieth percentile in student satisfaction.”
Dr. Keith Peevy, professor of pediatrics and a member of the curriculum committee at the USA College of Medicine, said the USA College of Medicine has experienced a positive trend in student performance since the implementation of the organ-system, competency-based curriculum in 2012. “The USMLE scores continue to reflect the excellence of the revised curriculum,” he said. “The way our curriculum is designed results in students who are better prepared to address clinical problems and excel in the clinical environment.”
The USA College of Medicine is a vibrant and expanding academic medical center providing all facets of medical education, research and patient care. Founded in 1973, the USA College of Medicine is the region’s only medical school and one of only two allopathic medical schools in the state of Alabama. More than 2,500 medical students have graduated from the USA College of Medicine and approximately one-third of local practicing physicians trained at the USA College of Medicine and/or USA Health. The College is a member of the AAMC and accredited by the LMCE and by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
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