About Publications

Publications from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide objective and straightforward advice to decision makers and the public. This site includes Health and Medicine Division (HMD) publications released after 1998. A complete list of HMD’s publications from its establishment in 1970 to the present is available as a PDF.


  • Building Communication Capacity to Counter Infectious ... Released: June 16, 2017
    Building communication capacity is a critical piece of preparing for, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats. Various organizations, including CDC (2011) and WHO (2008), have provided guidance on developing frameworks, standards, protocols, and conceptual approaches to communicating critical information during infectious disease outbreaks. Furthermore, governments and nongovernmental organizations have developed and implemented plans to address the gaps in communication capacity during these situations.
  • Big Data and Analytics for Infectious Disease Research ... Released: December 08, 2016
    With the amount of data in the world exploding, big data could generate significant value in the field of infectious disease. The Forum on Microbial Threats determined that the broader applications and implications of big data in these areas ought to be explored, where “big data” refers to any voluminous amount of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data that has the potential to be mined for insights and information.
  • The Ebola Epidemic in West Africa: Proceedings of a ... Released: December 06, 2016
    The most recent Ebola epidemic that began in late 2013 alerted the entire world to the gaps in infectious disease emergency preparedness and response. Building on previous outbreak workshops, the Forum on Microbial Threats convened this workshop to understand the recent developments in incidence, prevalence, and intervention strategies used to mitigate the disease in an increasingly interconnected world. Recognizing the opportunity to learn from the countless lessons of this epidemic, this workshop discussed the challenges to successful outbreak responses at the scientific, clinical, and global health levels.
  • Global Health Impacts of Vector-Borne Diseases: Workshop ... Released: April 05, 2016
    Pathogens transmitted among humans, animals, or plants by insects and arthropod vectors have been responsible for significant morbidity and mortality throughout recorded history. Such vector-borne diseases—including malaria, dengue, yellow fever, plague, trypanosomiasis, and leishmaniasis—together accounted for more human disease and death in the 17th through early 20th centuries than all other causes combined. Domestic and international capabilities to detect, identify, and effectively respond to vector-borne diseases are limited.
  • Global Health Risk Framework: Governance for Global Health ... Released: January 13, 2016
    Since the 2014 Ebola outbreak, many public- and private-sector leaders have experienced a need for improved management of global public health emergencies. The effects of the Ebola epidemic go well beyond the three hardest-hit countries and beyond the health sector. Education, child protection, commerce, transportation, and human rights have all suffered. The National Academy of Medicine has managed an independent, international commission on improving international management and response to outbreaks. As input to this effort, the Institute of Medicine convened four workshops in the summer of 2015 to inform the commission report. These workshops examined questions of resilient health systems, research and development of medical products, pandemic financing, and governance for global health. Each workshop gathered diverse perspectives on a range of policies, operations, and options for collaboration to improve the global health system.
  • Emerging Viral Diseases: The One Health Connection ... Released: March 26, 2015
    Over the course of more than two decades, beginning with the landmark report Microbial Threats to Health in the United States (IOM, 1992), the Forum on Microbial Threats and its predecessors within the Institute of Medicine have examined the growing body of research on Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) and the growing list of diseases that fit this description.
  • The Influence of Global Environmental Change on Infectious ... Released: September 03, 2014
    The Forum on Microbial Threats hosted a public workshop on September 24 and 25, 2013, to explore the scientific and policy dimensions of the impacts of global environmental change on infectious disease dynamics. Participants examined and discussed the observed and likely influences of environmental factors, acting both individually and synergistically on infectious disease dynamics. A range of approaches to improve global readiness and capacity for surveillance, detection, and response to emerging microbial threats to plant, animal, and human health in the face of ongoing global environmental change was also discussed.
  • Microbial Ecology in States of Health and Disease - Workshop ... Released: February 18, 2014
    Investigations of microbial ecology in a variety of organisms and contexts have begun to illuminate the properties of host-associated microorganisms. These observations have revealed a complex and dynamic network of interactions across the spectrum of host, microbe, and environmental niches that may influence states of health and disease. Alterations in the composition and dynamics of the human microbiome have been associated with a variety of complex diseases — including such chronic conditions as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and inflammatory bowel diseases. This ecologically-informed view is a paradigm shift away from the conventional "one-microbe, one-disease" perspective of infection and may lead to new insights and approaches to health maintenance, disease prevention, and treatment methods in humans, animals, and plants. The IOM Forum on Microbial Threats held a public workshop in Washington, DC, to explore the scientific and therapeutic implications of microbial ecology in health and disease.
  • The Science and Applications of Microbial Genomics ... Released: April 03, 2013
    Over the past several decades, new scientific tools and approaches for detecting microbial species have dramatically enhanced our understanding of the microbial flora and fauna and their dynamic interactions with the environments in which they reside. In June 2012, the IOM Forum on Microbial Threats convened a public workshop to discuss the scientific tools and approaches being used for detecting and characterizing microbial species, and the roles of microbial genomics and metagenomics to better understand the culturable and unculturable microbial world around us.
  • The Social Biology of Microbial Communities - Workshop ... Released: December 10, 2012
    The vast majority of microorganisms live in highly complex communities within which they lead intensely interactive lives—competing, cooperating, and forming associations with one another and with their living and nonliving host environments. Indeed, microbial communities are intricately intertwined with the biology of all ecosystems on Earth—from the extreme environments of the human gut to deep sea hydrothermal vents and the windswept plains of Antarctica. Despite these observations, very little is actually known about the factors and processes that influence community assembly, stability, and function. The IOM's Forum on Microbial Threats hosted a workshop to explore the emerging science and potential applications of the “social biology” of microbial communities.