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.


  • Improving Health Literacy Within a State - Workshop Summary ... Released: November 14, 2011
    Nearly half of all American adults lack health literacy – an individual’s ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information. In order to improve knowledge among these 90 million people, the IOM, along with the UCLA Anderson School of Management, held a workshop on November 30, 2010, to explore ways in which state-based organizations and individuals can work to improve health literacy.
  • Promoting Health Literacy to Encourage Prevention and ... Released: November 01, 2011
    Several studies have found that health literacy – an individual’s ability to understand and retain information to make proper health decisions – makes a difference in how much populations use preventive services. The IOM’s Roundtable on Health Literacy held a workshop to explore approaches to integrate health literacy in to primary and secondary prevention. The workshop featured presentations and discussions on select topics related to health literacy’s role in preventive health care.
  • Long-Term Health Consequences of Exposure to Burn Pits in ... Released: October 31, 2011
    Many veterans returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have health problems they believe are related to their exposure to the smoke from the burning of waste in open-air “burn pits” on military bases. Particular controversy surrounds the burn pit used to dispose of solid waste at Joint Base Balad in Iraq, which burned up to 200 tons of waste per day in 2007. The Department of Veterans Affairs asked the IOM to form a committee to determine the long-term health effects from exposure to these burn pits. Insufficient evidence prevented the IOM committee from developing firm conclusions. This report, therefore, recommends that, along with more efficient data-gathering methods, a study be conducted that would evaluate the health status of service members from their time of deployment over many years to determine their incidence of chronic diseases.
  • Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy for Traumatic Brain Injury ... Released: October 11, 2011
    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may affect 10 million people worldwide. It is considered the “signature wound” of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. These injuries result from a bump or blow to the head, or from external forces that cause the brain to move within the head, such as whiplash or exposure to blasts. TBI can cause an array of physical and mental health concerns and is a growing problem, particularly among soldiers and veterans because of repeated exposure to violent environments. One form of treatment for TBI is cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT), a patient-specific, goal-oriented approach to help patients increase their ability to process and interpret information. The Department of Defense asked the IOM to conduct a study to determine the effectiveness of CRT for treatment of TBI.
  • State and Local Policy Initiatives To Reduce Health Disparities ... Released: September 13, 2011
    While state and local policy efforts to reduce health disparities often go unnoticed, some regions have seen real progress in this area. In order to see comparable progress at the national level, it is helpful to identify what has worked at other levels of government. On May 11, 2009, the IOM held a public workshop to discuss the role of state and local policy initiatives to reduce health disparities. The workshop brought together stakeholders to learn more about what works in reducing health disparities and ways to focus on localized efforts when working to reduce health disparities.
  • Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps ... Released: July 19, 2011
    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) addresses preventive services for both men and women of all ages, and women in particular stand to benefit from additional preventive health services. The Department of Health and Human Services charged the IOM with reviewing what preventive services are important to women’s health and well-being and then recommending which of these should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines. The IOM recommends that women’s preventive services include, among other services, improved screening for cervical cancer, sexually transmitted infections, and HIV; a fuller range of contraceptive education, counseling, methods, and services; services for pregnant women; at least one well-woman preventive care visit annually; and screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence.
  • Health Literacy Implications for Health Care Reform ... Released: July 15, 2011
    Due to low health literacy—the degree to which one can understand and make decisions based on health information—many people may have difficulty understanding what coverage they are eligible for under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; making informed choices about what is best for them and their families; and completing the enrollment process. On November 10, 2010, the IOM Roundtable on Health Literacy held a workshop to explore opportunities to advance health literacy in association with the implementation of health care reform.
  • Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming ... Released: June 29, 2011
    Chronic pain costs the nation up to $635 billion each year in medical treatment and lost productivity. At the request of HHS, the IOM assessed the state of the science regarding pain research, care, and education. The IOM recommends that HHS develop population-level strategies to increase awareness about pain and its treatments. In addition, the IOM offers a blueprint for action in transforming prevention, care, education, and research, with the goal of providing relief for people with pain in America.
  • Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange ... Released: May 20, 2011
    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established that Vietnam veterans are automatically eligible for disability benefits should they develop any diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure—but veterans who served on deep sea vessels in Vietnam are not included. These “Blue Water Navy” veterans must prove they were exposed to Agent Orange before they can claim benefits. At the request of the VA, the IOM examined whether Blue Water Navy veterans had similar exposures to Agent Orange as other Vietnam veterans.
  • The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender ... Released: March 31, 2011
    At a time when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals are becoming more visible in society and more socially acknowledged, clinicians and researchers are faced with incomplete information about their health status. The IOM finds that to advance understanding of the health needs of all LGBT individuals, researchers need more data about the demographics of these populations, improved methods for collecting and analyzing data, and an increased participation of sexual and gender minorities in research.