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.


  • The Science and Applications of Synthetic and Systems ... Released: November 23, 2011
    The completion of the initial draft of the human genome sequence in 2001 represented a fundamental shift in the way biology was studied, and allowed for vast post-genomic possibilities. Until the past decade, the work was often painstakingly slow; however, new strategies combining engineering and biological techniques have enhanced researchers' abilities. These new synthetic techniques allow for genes and long chains of DNA to be designed and manufactured from scratch using a computer and relevant chemical compounds, rather than manipulating pieces of existing genes from living cells. The IOM’s Forum on Microbial Threats hosted a public workshop March 14-15, 2011 to explore the scientific and policy dimensions of recent developments in genetic engineering and their applications to emerging infectious diseases.
  • Facilitating Collaborations to Develop Combination ... Released: October 31, 2011
    Advances in biomedical research have increased our understanding of the complex nature of disease and the interaction of multiple molecular pathways involved in cancer. Combining investigational products early in their development is thought to be a promising strategy for identifying effective therapies. The IOM’s National Cancer Policy Forum held a workshop to discuss challenges and identify potential solutions to improve collaboration and advance the development of combination investigational cancer therapies.
  • Fungal Diseases: An Emerging Threat To Human, Animal, and ... Released: September 09, 2011
    Fungal diseases have contributed to death and disability in humans, triggered global wildlife extinctions and population declines, devastated agricultural crops, and altered forest ecosystem dynamics. Despite the extensive influence of fungi on health and economic well-being, the threats posed by emerging fungal pathogens to life on Earth are often underappreciated and poorly understood. On December 14 and 15, 2010, the IOM’s Forum on Microbial Threats hosted a public workshop to explore the scientific and policy dimensions associated with the causes and consequences of emerging fungal diseases.
  • Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality : Health ... Released: August 25, 2011
    Immunizations are a cornerstone of the nation’s efforts to protect people from a host of infectious diseases. Though generally very rare or very minor, there are side effects, or “adverse effects,” associated with some vaccines. The IOM reviewed a list of adverse events associated with eight vaccines to evaluate the scientific evidence about the event–vaccine relationship. Using epidemiologic and mechanistic evidence, the committee developed 158 causality conclusions, assigning each relationship between a vaccine and an adverse health problem to one of four causation categories. Overall, the IOM committee concludes that few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines.
  • A Nationwide Framework for Surveillance of Cardiovascular ... Released: July 22, 2011
    Surveillance systems have a potentially key role in reducing the health toll of chronic diseases. Currently, surveillance data are collected from a variety of sources, but there is no national surveillance system to fill the gaps between these monitoring approaches. To help close the gap, the IOM presents a conceptual framework for national surveillance of cardiovascular and chronic lung disease and calls on the Department of Health and Human Services to adopt it and take the lead in developing a national surveillance system.
  • Implementing a National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the ... Released: July 22, 2011
    The National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program works to advance patient care and research. Despite broad participation in the program, financial strain and procedural burdens limit the ability of the Cooperative Group Program to undertake medical practice-changing clinical research. The IOM’s National Cancer Policy Forum and the American Society of Clinical Oncology held a workshop on March 21, 2011 to follow up on the 2010 IOM report A National Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century: Reinvigorating the NCI Cooperative Group Program, which made recommendations to strengthen the NCI Cooperative Group Program.
  • Patient-Centered Cancer Treatment Planning: Improving the ... Released: June 13, 2011
    The life-threatening nature of cancer and the complexity of cancer treatment options, each with its own set of potential risks and benefits, make it difficult for people with cancer to make decisions about their care. A cancer treatment plan—a written document describing the path of care and who is responsible for each portion of that care—can provide patients with a roadmap to navigate the uncertain path they face. However, most providers lack the tools, time, and resources needed to efficiently and effectively prepare such plans with their patients. The IOM’s National Cancer Policy Forum held a workshop to discuss ways to create a more coordinated, patient-centered cancer treatment planning process.
  • Glutamate-Related Biomarkers in Drug Development for ... Released: June 08, 2011
    Problems with how the neurotransmitter glutamate functions in the brain have been linked to a wide variety of disorders, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, substance abuse, and traumatic brain injury. Efforts to understand, treat, and prevent glutamate-related disorders can be aided by the identification of valid biomarkers. The IOM’s Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders held a workshop June 21-22, 2010, to explore ways to accelerate the development, validation, and implementation of such biomarkers.
  • The Causes and Impacts of Neglected Tropical and Zoonotic ... Released: June 01, 2011
    Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) afflict more than 1.4 billion people, many of whom live on less than $1.25 a day. While there are effective ways to manage NTDs, policy-makers and funders have only recently begun to recognize the economic and public health importance of controlling NTDs. The IOM’s Forum on Microbial Threats held a workshop September 21-22, 2010, to discuss the science of and policy surrounding NTDs.
  • Critical Needs and Gaps in Understanding Prevention ... Released: April 20, 2011
    A single tick bite can have debilitating consequences. Lyme disease is the most common disease carried by ticks in the United States, and the number of those afflicted is growing steadily. If left untreated, the diseases carried by ticks—known as tick-borne diseases—can cause severe pain, fatigue, neurological problems, and other serious health problems. The IOM held a workshop October 11-12, 2010, to examine the state of the science in Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.