Few careers offer more satisfaction than that of the medical professional. Doctors are not only well compensated for their expertise and efforts, but they also actively serve their communities and fellow citizens. Whether your interests lean toward medical research or primary care, the best schools offer comprehensive preparation for a satisfying medical career. Top-tier medical programs are recognized for their consistent production of the most skilled professionals in the field.

Harvard University

“U.S. News and World Report” recognized the program at Harvard as its top choice for medical research. Harvard Medical School has partnerships with 17 hospitals and research institutions, including Beth Israel Medical Center, the Forsyth Institute and Boston’s Children Hospital. Students in this program not only benefit from access to these institutions, but also from Harvard’s long tradition of excellence in the field. Founded in 1782, Harvard Medical School is one of the oldest dedicated medical research departments in the world. Fifteen faculty members of the Harvard Medical School have won the Nobel Prize, with 62 elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

University of North Carolina

Ranked as the No. 1 “U.S. News and World Report” medical school for primary care, University North Carolina at Chapel Hill boasts a 98 percent pass rate for the USMLE licensing exam. As the host of the UNC Health Care System, the School of Medicine actively promotes the health of its community with top-level care and medical services. Students in this program have the opportunity to study with Nobel Laureate Dr. Oliver Smithies, an active member of the faculty. As a program that stresses applied medicine, UNC prepares students not only for the evaluation and management of patients, but for the social, communal and political demands placed upon physicians.

Stanford University

Stanford University School of Medicine, the runner-up in “U.S. News and World Report's” medical research school rankings, has generated dozens of medical breakthroughs, including the first application of a linear accelerator in cancer treatment and the experiments that led to cochlear hearing implants. Founded in 1858, Stanford’s School of Medicine has a research endowment of more than 300 million dollars and 825 full-time faculty members. Research areas at Stanford include work on deadly viruses like Nipah, new cancer treatments, stem cell research and the isolation of key hormones. With 29 individual departments within the School of Medicine, Stanford provides plenty of choices for students who wish to develop specializations.

University of Washington

As the second-best program for primary care in the “U.S. News and World Report” rankings of medical schools, University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle has trained some of the country’s best physicians since its foundation in 1946. This medical program places an emphasis on service, and many alumni take their expertise to rural or low-income areas. Interdisciplinary collaboration also defines the UW approach to medical education. Students work with scientists and educators from a wide array of other departments, such as biology and genetics, in the development of new and inventive treatments.

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