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 Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health ... Released: November 26, 2013
    Liquid fuels are a major part of modern life, supplying energy for all modes of transportation as well as power for industrial and farming machinery. But fossil fuels – the dominant liquid fuel for well over a century – have many disadvantages. New policies encourage the development of renewable sources of energy in general and biofuels in particular, but it is important to understand how these policies may impact human health. The IOM held a workshop on the intersection of biofuels, climate change, and human health in January 2013. The workshop focused on air, water, land use, food security, and social impacts of biofuels as an energy resource.
  • Creating Equal Opportunities for a Healthy Weight - Workshop ... Released: November 25, 2013
    The 2012 IOM report Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention identified five environments in which change is needed to accelerate progress in obesity prevention. Each of these settings -physical activity, food and beverage, messaging, health care and worksites, and schools– interact with the others, creating a set of interconnected systems that can be changed only through engagement, leadership, and action among many groups and at many levels. The IOM Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention held a workshop to examine the role of the many factors that contribute to health disparities and to explore ways to create equity.
  • Global Development Goals and Linkages to Health and ... Released: September 30, 2013
    The IOM Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine’s Global Environmental Health and Sustainable Development Innovation Collaborative seeks to connect and leverage expertise across a variety of fields related to sustainable development, including economics, energy, environmental medicine, public health, and health communication. Following the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the roundtable held a series of webinars to help inform the UN post-2015 development agenda process. The webinars covered lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals process and offered insights on topics and goals that may be considered for global development frameworks being debated and negotiated.
  • Technologies to Enable Autonomous Detection for BioWatch ... Released: September 04, 2013
    In response to a request from DHS, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council hosted a workshop June 25-26, 2013, that explored alternative cost-effective systems that would meet the requirements for a BioWatch autonomous detection system for aerosolized agents. The workshop, which was catalyzed by five commissioned white papers, considered the advantages and disadvantages of several technologies—nucleic acid signatures, immunoassays and protein signatures, genomic sequencing, and mass spectrometry — and the timeframe in which an integrated autonomous biodetection system using these technologies might be deployed. Additionally, the features and capabilities of an autonomous detection system that would be of value to public health officials and decision makers were discussed. This document summarizes the workshop.
  • Health Impact Assessment of Shale Gas Extraction ... Released: August 30, 2013
    The governmental public health system lacks critical information about environmental health impacts of shale gas extraction technologies and is limited in its ability to address concerns raised by federal, state, and local regulators, as well as employees in the shale gas extraction industry and the general public. Members of the IOM Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine recognized the need to discuss the human health impact of shale gas extraction through the lens of health impact assessment. The Roundtable held a workshop in 2012 to examine the state of the science regarding shale gas extraction, the direct and indirect environmental health effects of shale gas extraction, and the use of health impact assessment as a tool to help identify the public health impact of shale gas extraction.
  • Public Health Linkages with Sustainability - Workshop ... Released: July 19, 2013
    It has been 20 years since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro when world leaders gathered to reaffirm the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment that was adopted in 1972. From this meeting, the member states adopted Agenda 21, an unprecedented framework for the transition to a more sustainable world. As leaders prepared to gather again in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, to assess and reaffirm the importance of the world’s progress toward these efforts, the IOM Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine organized a workshop to inform the policies that would be considered at the conference and discuss the linkages between sustainability and health.
  • Review of the Department of Labor's Site Exposure Matrix ... Released: March 27, 2013
    In 2000, Congress authorized compensation for Department of Energy (DOE) workers and contractors who attest that they suffer from a disease that is linked to their occupational exposure to toxic material at nuclear-related sites and facilities. To assist with compensation determinations for DOE contractors, the Department of Labor (DOL) uses a database, the Site Exposure Matrix (SEM), which was designed to organize, display, and communicate information on the toxic substances found at those sites and health effects associated with exposure to the substances. The IOM reviewed the SEM database and its use of a particular database, Haz-Map, as the sources of its toxic substance-occupational disease link. This report describes the strengths and shortcomings of both databases, and offers recommendations for improvements that could be made in both databases with a focus on enhancing the scientific rigor of SEM for both DOL claims examiners and former DOE workers.
  • Challenges and Opportunities for Change in Food Marketing ... Released: March 04, 2013
    The childhood obesity epidemic is an urgent public health problem, and it will continue to take a substantial toll on the health of Americans. The most recent data show that almost a third of U.S. children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Children are exposed to an enormous amount of commercial advertising and marketing for food. In 2009, children age 2-11 saw and average of more than 10 television food ads per day. The marketing of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages is linked to overweight and obesity. The IOM hosted a workshop which examined contemporary trends in marketing of foods and beverages to children and youth and the implications of those trends for obesity prevention.
  • Environmental Decisions in the Face of Uncertainty : Health ... Released: February 08, 2013
    The EPA estimates the nature, magnitude, and likelihood of risks to human health and the environment; identifies the potential regulatory actions that will mitigate those risks and protect public health and the environment; and uses that information to decide on appropriate regulatory action. Uncertainties in the data and analyses on which these decisions are based enter into the process at each step. As a result, the informed identification and understanding of the uncertainties inherent in the process is an essential feature of environmental decision making. The EPA asked the IOM to provide guidance to its decision makers and their partners in states and localities on approaches to managing risk in different contexts when uncertainty is present as well as guidance on transparency in its communications with the public.
  • Alliances for Obesity Prevention: Finding Common Ground ... Released: May 11, 2012
    Many organizations are making focused efforts to prevent obesity. To achieve their goals, accelerate their progress, and sustain their success, the assistance of many other individuals and groups—not all of them with a singular focus on obesity prevention—will be essential. In October 2011 the Institute of Medicine held a workshop that provided an opportunity for obesity prevention groups to hear from and hold discussions with many of these potential allies in obesity prevention. They explored common ground for joint activities and mutual successes, and lessons learned from efforts at aligning diverse groups with goals in common.