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.


  • Implications of Health Literacy for Public Health- Workshop ... Released: September 10, 2014
    Health literacy is the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions. The Institute of Medicine convened the Roundtable on Health Literacy to address issues raised in the report, Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion (IOM, 2004). The roundtable sponsored a workshop in Irvine, CA, on November 21, 2013, that focused on the implications of health literacy for the mission and essential services of public health.
  • Graduate Medical Education That Meets the Nation's Health ... Released: July 29, 2014
    Since the creation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs in 1965, the public has provided tens of billions of dollars to fund graduate medical education (GME), the period of residency and fellowship that is provided to physicians after they receive a medical degree; however, there is a striking absence of transparency and accountability in the GME financing system for producing the types of physicians that the nation needs. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) formed an expert committee to conduct an independent review of the governance and financing of the GME system. In its report, Graduate Medical Education That Meets the Nation’s Health Needs, the committee provides recommendations and an initial road¬map for reforming the Medicare GME payment system and building an infrastructure that can drive more strategic investment in the nation’s physician workforce.
  • Health Literacy and Numeracy - Workshop Summary : Health ... Released: April 03, 2014
    Although health literacy is commonly defined as an individual trait, it does not depend on the skills of individuals alone. Health literacy is the product of the interaction between individuals’ capacities and the health literacy-related demands and complexities of the health care system. Specifically, the ability to understand, evaluate, and use numbers is important to making informed health care choices. The IOM Roundtable on Health Literacy commissioned a paper on numeracy skills and hosted a workshop that featured the presentation of the paper by its authors. Speakers at the workshop discussed a number of topics related to numeracy, including the effects of ill health on cognitive capacity, issues with communication of health information to the public, and communicating numeric information for decision making.
  • Health Standards for Long Duration and Exploration ... Released: April 02, 2014
    As the US space program evolves, propelled in part by increasing international and commercial collaborations, long duration or exploration spaceflights – such as extended stays on the International Space Station or missions to Mars – become more realistic. These types of missions will likely expose crews to levels of known risk that are beyond those allowed by current health standards, as well as to a range of risks that are poorly characterized, uncertain, and perhaps unforeseeable. NASA asked the IOM to outline the ethics principles and practices that should guide the agency’s decision making for future long duration or exploration missions that fail to meet existing health standards. The IOM’s report identifies the an ethics framework, which builds on the work of NASA and others, and presents a set of recommendations for ethically assessing and responding to the challenges associated with health standards for long duration and exploration spaceflight.
  • Review of NASA's Evidence Reports on Human Health Risks ... Released: January 06, 2014
    In 2008, NASA asked the IOM to assess the process for developing evidence reports that NASA has compiled on human health risks for long-duration and exploration space flights. The resulting IOM report, Review of NASA’s Human Research Program Evidence Books: A Letter Report, provided an initial and brief review of the evidence report. This 2013 letter report builds on the work of the 2008 report and examines three NASA evidence reports: Risk of Injury from Dynamic Loads; Risk of Spaceflight-induced Intracranial Hypertension/Vision Alterations; and Risk of Clinically Relevant Unpredicted Effects of Medication. Over the next five years, the IOM will issue 4 additional letter reports and evaluate more than 30 NASA evidence reports, in total.
  • Leveraging Culture to Address Health Inequalities: Examples ... Released: December 19, 2013
    In Native American tradition, the medicine wheel encompasses four different components of health: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Health and well-being require balance within and among all four components. The IOM Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities held a workshop in Seattle, WA, to explore the ideas at the heart of the medicine wheel. The workshop brought together stakeholders to discuss the sizable health inequalities affecting Native American, Alaska Native, First Nation, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islander populations and the potential role of culture to help reduce those inequalities.
  • Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012 : Health and ... Released: December 03, 2013
    Because of continuing uncertainty about the long term health effects of the sprayed herbicides on Vietnam veterans, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991. The legislation directed the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to request the IOM to perform a comprehensive evaluation of scientific and medical information regarding the health effects of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam. Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012 is the ninth congressionally mandated biennial update. The committee reviewed all relevant literature published between October 2010 and September 2011 and integrated the new findings with the previously assembled epidemiologic data on each health outcome assessed with respect to exposure to the chemicals constituting the herbicides used in Vietnam, including the dioxin contaminant 2,3,7,8-TCDD. The single new conclusion was that there is limited or suggestive evidence of a scientifically meaningful association of stroke with exposure to the chemicals in question.
  • 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.
  • Organizational Change to Improve Health Literacy - Workshop ... Released: October 15, 2013
    Health literacy is the product of the interaction between individuals’ capacities and the health literacy-related demands and complexities of the health care system. Systematic changes are needed to better align health care demands with the public’s skills and abilities. In early 2012, members of the IOM Roundtable on Health Literacy published a discussion paper that focused on the attributes of a health literate health care organization or system. To examine what is known about implementation of the attributes of a health literate health care organization, the Roundtable on Health Literacy held a workshop on April 11, 2013.
  • Improving the Health, Safety, and Well-Being of Young Adults ... Released: September 27, 2013
    Young adults are at a significant and pivotal time of life. They are moving out of the systems and institutions that supported them as children and adolescents, but adult systems and institutions – such as the adult health care system and the labor market – may not be well suited to support their needs. The IOM and National Research Council held a workshop to highlight research on the development, health, safety, and well-being of young adults.