Here Are the Best Medical Schools in Colorado

Move over, Harvard! Ivy League medical schools are not the only ones who train the best physicians and healthcare providers in the country, even though they do seem to get most of the attention from significant publications. Here we would like to buck the trend and shine the spotlight on top-notch medical schools in a state that seldom receives attention for its educational institutions: Colorado.

Colorado is primarily known for its picturesque and mountainous landscapes, high altitude, desert lands, and other stunning, topographic features. It is also home to some of the most excellent schools in the nation, including medical schools.

Future doctors should consider the schools on this list. Both are nationally renowned schools that offer excellent curricula, emphasizing clinical experience and patient-centered care. The missions of these schools are underpinned by a vision to deliver the best and most affordable care to underserved communities throughout the state and the U.S. With dedicated faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and vast clinical networks, the schools deliver on their promise to train exceptional physicians.

We selected the schools based on their placement in the US News & World report medical schools rankings. The quality and breadth of their clinical experience opportunities was also another factor, as well as community impact. 

Although there are only two medical schools in Colorado, they are worth the attention of an ambitious medical student prospect. Here are the best medical schools in Colorado.

2. Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (Parker, CO)

Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Jeffrey Beall, Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, CC BY 3.0

The Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine is a fantastic choice for aspiring physicians looking to study in Colorado. The school yields a remarkably high number of graduates practicing in a primary care field. According to the US News & World Report, it is one of the highest in the nation

Additionally, Rocky Vista boasts many graduates caring for underserved and rural populations, which is a handy piece of information for future doctors who want to make a meaningful impact in the health professions by improving access to quality care, while delivering competent and compassionate care. It has accomplished this as the nation’s first for-profit medical program. It is as renowned as any non-profit medical program in the country, combining stellar education and training with a commitment to serving underserved communities.

Despite its for-profit status, it is held to the same academic and medical accreditation standards as other schools and has proven itself to be a renowned school, delivering excellent results and making a difference in the community. In fact, the campus’s current location was specifically chosen due to its proximity to a large number of underserved counties. The school was established to address the dire shortage of physicians and affordable health care in these areas.

RVUCOM operates a clinic with a wide range of services, including internal medicine, primary care, osteopathic manipulative medicine, and telemedicine. The Rocky Vista Health Center has a unique Internal Medicine residency program in which medical students are trained to become internal medicine and research leaders. The program is carried out in cooperation with the Skyridge Internal Medicine program for residents.

Interdisciplinary collaboration and an osteopathic approach are the heart of the RVUCOM curriculum. Students are inculcated with the understanding that the patient is a “whole person” and not a mere checklist of symptoms. While the first two years of education are primarily focused on the fundamentals of human physiology and scientific research and methodology, students receive training in a clinical setting as early as the first year. Under physician supervision, students have an increasing number of opportunities to interact with patients in various settings over the final three years. This is made possible by RVUCOM’s growing clinical training network.

RVUCOM walks the talk when it comes to training the next generation of competent and compassionate physicians. Despite being a relatively young school, the College of Osteopathic Medicine has successfully matched its students with the most coveted specialty residencies around the country. Among the Class of 2021, students have landed residencies at John Hopkins Hospital, the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, the Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systems, and many more.

Because of its adherence to the highest standards in education and training, RVU requires its student doctors to pass the COMLEX national exams. The Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) is a series of exams required for becoming a licensed practitioner in osteopathic medicine. In recent years, RVUCOM students have passed the COMLEX exams at an unprecedented rate of approximately 97%!

A prospective student with their eye on RVUCOM should have a solid academic record and an MCAT score of around 506. In recent years, the average overall GPA of admitted students has been higher than 3.40. A decent GPA and MCAT score will not be enough to get you accepted; prospective students should stand out from the other applicants. Recommendation letters and secondary essays are two ways to show uniqueness and stand out from the other applicants. 

The school requires one recommendation from a healthcare provider who has worked with the candidate in some capacity. While RVUCOM admits more out-of-state students than in-state students, a connection to Colorado would boost an applicant’s profile.

1. University of Colorado School of Medicine (Aurora, CO)

University of Colorado School of Medicine
Rinaldodsouza, Anschutz Medical Campus, CC BY-SA 3.0

The University of Colorado School of Medicine has a track record of outstanding clinical and research accomplishments and is part of a university system that has had a significant economic impact on Colorado. According to one report, the school’s economic impact has been measured to total around $14.9 billion in 2019. In addition to being a trailblazer in research, teaching, and healthcare service, the School of Medicine is part of an economic powerhouse. 

The CU School of Medicine is one of the top 10 medical schools in the nation for primary care and one of the top 50 for Research, according to the latest US News & World Report rankings. It also occupies the top of the list for family medicine and pediatrics. The school has been at the top for several years in a row, attesting to its enduring quality and impact.

Its investment in research and education certainly pays off. One of the most critical assets of the School of Medicine is its world-class faculty. In 2020, the CU School of Medicine Faculty earned numerous prestigious awards and accomplishments. For several years in a row, Todd Bull, MD has been recognized as a top doctor for Critical Care and Pulmonary medicine and has published his research in high-ranking journals. He is also a CU School of Medicine alum! 

Dr. Anne Caldwell, an Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes, has been recognized as one of the 25 “Emerging Luminaries in Nutrition, Exercise, and Metabolism.”  

Aspiring physicians who want to study with these luminaries in the field of medicine should look no further than CU School of Medicine. Half of the physicians named in 5280’s survey of best doctors in the area are CU faculty or clinical volunteers.

Like all excellent medical schools, the school combines a substantial academic component with robust, experiential education in a clinical or field setting. The curriculum at the School of Medicine consists of an Essentials Core and Clinical Core. The goal of the Essentials Core is to give students a solid foundation in scientific principles and inquiry, which are tools that will be relevant for the duration of their medical careers.

Admission into the CU School of Medicine is extremely competitive, with an acceptance rate hovering around 2%. The average overall GPA for admitted applicants was a high 3.83 and the median MCAT score was 514. However, as we mentioned previously, a stellar academic record will not be enough to get your foot in the door. There are other components of the application that will be considered to determine whether an applicant would be a good fit for the school and will be able to thrive in the program. Secondary essays and interviews give candidates a chance to shine and maximize their chances for acceptance, so it is important to put significant effort in these areas.