Harvard Medical School is not only the highest ranked medical school in the nation based on what it does, it is the most prestigious for a number of reasons. As far as Academic status symbols go, the ambitious, upwardly mobile medical professional who has graduated from Harvard has won the lottery for life.
Harvard is ranked number one on a list featuring a number of other prestigious school names like John Hopkins, Yale and Stanford Medical School. I found some more information here. In 2009 the Harvard Medical School Acceptance rate was 4.7, meaning that only above average
applicants got the chance to learn there. The average GPA of an accepted applicant to Harvard is 3.8. Annual tuition for a student at Harvard is a little over 45,000 so that it takes a considerable amount of wealth or a substantial effort earning scholarships to attend the school. It takes a lot of money to pay for the 11,000 total faculty and over 8,000 full-time faculty working at Harvard Medical School.
One Harvard innovation is team-based learning. Students are divided into four groups under the supervision of faculty. There are no letter-grades in the first two years at HMS, only a strict pass/fail grade.
Apart from being the top ranked medical school, The Harvard Medical School name has a certain amount of prestige in popular culture as well. It is synonymous with wealth and high intelligence. The grandiosity of the reputation is surpassed only by the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford in England. In many TV shows the Harvard name has been used as a device for showing how skilled a surgeon is. Harvard graduates on TV shows are all considered geniuses. To a certain extent this is validated by the number of famous and highly respected alumni. Among them are such notables as Oliver Wendell Holmes and the author Michael Crichton.