There has been a lot of talk over the last, oh, 20 years about a possible merger between Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University.  What people outside of Texas don’t understand is that Baylor College of Medicine is not affiliated with Baylor University, and hasn’t been since 1969 when Michael Debakey broke free.  They kept the name though, so Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) has been a kind of free agent ever since.  The faculty of Rice keep comparing themselves to Stanford and any interaction between Rice and BCM, one will note, is tense.  Medical students who are currently in BCM that graduated from Rice often talk like they’ve made a step downward to come to BCM, which must be something instilled by the faculty there.

Rice is ranked 17th in the US News rankings.  Stanford is 4th.  Stanford has a medical school, whereas Rice does not.  Forty years ago, Rice and Stanford were comparable, but now they are not.  Rice is a great school, but no one I know is confusing it with Stanford.

Meanwhile, Baylor College of Medicine is ranked ahead of Stanford School of Medicine in Primary Care.  We’re 7th and they are 8th.  Though Stanford is ranked higher in research (they are seventh and BCM is 13th), there are several departments within BCM that are ranked 1st in the nation, such as pediatrics and cell biology.  So, I don’t think Rice should be looking down their nose at BCM.

This kind of arrogance reminds me of a story.  Once I asked a fresh faced graduate student from where she graduated.  She promptly replied, “Baltimore”.

“Oh,” I replied, “You mean University of Maryland, right?  I hear that’s a great school!”.

“No, no, Johns Hopkins.” She affirmed.

Shrugging, I said, “Oh yeah, four of the faculty in my old department graduated from there.  They always complained about the size of rats around the campus.  Did you notice that, too?”

I received no reply after that.  I didn’t want to knock this girl down a peg because she went to Hopkins, just because she had try to play a condescending connect-the-dots game with me, which I wanted no part of.   I can understand wanting to wait for the right moment to drop the “H”-bomb” about which school you went to, but if you are in a top graduate program, everyone is smart.  If you hide which school you go to, it looks like you haven’t done anything else worth talking about.  People who are real successful aren’t falsely modest about their accomplishments.

So, Faculty of Rice, sign on for heaven’s sake, BCM is ready.  If you could have done as good as Stanford without us, you would have by now.

On the arrogance of “Baltimore”
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