Duke Medical Center hits grand slam home run in ratings; Duke Global Health outpost in Tanzania loses key professor

✔ FC here.

A couple decades ago, Time Magazine, Newsweek and US News and World Report were important reads. Each week people flocked to news stands, or waited for the magazines in the mail.

No more. Time is a sliver of what it once was. Newsweek went belly up and was sold for $1; not long afterward it merged with the website Daily Beast, and the effort that emerged is very shaky.

Which brings us to US News and World Report, which sought new identity and sales by publishing rankings. The two most popular are the college and hospital rankings, but the list is far longer: law firms, vacation destinations, cars and trucks, mutual funds, places to retire, on and on. So many lists that you have to wonder how much research goes into each.

And that's the point. If you see your school on the list, that's bragging rights. But don't take it too seriously. Or as a recent Columbia grad said when her school soared from a tie with #8 Duke to #4 in the most recent ratings. "Wow. Wow. I can't believe it. How wonderful. And I can't believe I am celebrating this either."

And so we turn to the newest, a look at medical care in the country.

✔✔✔✔ Duke Medical Center is now ranked #9, up from #10. Brigham and Women's Hospital leaped an unusual 3 rungs to #8. The losers were the University of Pennsylvania and Barnes Jewish Hospital at Washington University in Saint Louis.

Duke garnered such a high position, even though only 10 of its specialties were ranked at the very top. Other schools had as many as 15. This proves there is room for the Fact Checker goal -- at the medical center and throughout Duke: to make every department as good as the best department.

For further perspective, only 17 of almost 5,000 hospitals ranked had six or more specialties with great depth and expertise.

Here are some specific specialties. We note that despite the antics of Dr. Anil Potti, Duke's cancer care went up a notch.

Geriatrics #5, up from #6 last year
Pulmonology #5, up from #6 last year
Orthopedics #6, same as last year
Cardiology & Heart Surgery #7, up from #9 last year
Ophthalmology #7, same as last year
Neurology & Neurosurgery #8, up from #11 last year
Urology, #8, down from #7 last year
Gynecology #9, down from #7 last year
Kidney disorders #9, up from #12 last year
Cancer #11, up from #12 last year
Rheumatology #12, same as last year
Gastroenterology #13, up from #18 last year
Psychiatry #16, down from #12 last year
Diabetes & Endocrinology #26, up from #27 last year
Ear, Nose & Throat #27, down from #24 last year

In case you did not find this FC report comprehensive enough, go to the magazine website:


✔✔✔✔ From the University of Otago, New Zealand, comes word this morning of the appointment of Dr. John Crump to an endowed chair in infectious diseases. In other words, Duke Global Health is losing one of its key people in Africa.

Since 2002, Crump has been based at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Moshi, Tanzania, wearing several hats, including that of an associate professor, Duke University. Much of his work as an epidemiologist has been supported by grants from the US Center for Disease Control. His work has centered on infectious diseases among the impoverished, with focus on the fever syndrome in East Africa and AIDS. He has also set up facilities and procedures to get accurate test results, for example from blood.

Dr. Crump is a native of New Zealand. He says he will continue his work on troubling public health problems from this base.

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