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.


  • How Far Have We Come in Reducing Health Disparities? ... Released: September 12, 2012
    At the turn of the 21st century, several important reports and events led to raised awareness of health disparities and described initial efforts to reduce health disparities. The Surgeon General’s office released reports on health disparities, legislation creating the National Center for Minority and Health Disparities was signed into law, and the IOM released its landmark report, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. Building upon these reports and events, the IOM held a workshop on April 8, 2010, that discussed progress to address health disparities and focused on the success of various federal initiatives to reduce health disparities.
  • How Can Health Care Organizations Become More Health ... Released: July 18, 2012
    Approximately 80 million adults in the United States have low health literacy – an individual’s ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information – creating a plethora of health-related difficulties. It is important for health care organizations to develop strategies that can improve their health literacy, yet organizations often find it difficult to determine exactly what it means to be health literate. The IOM Roundtable on Health Literacy held a workshop to discuss the growing recognition that health literacy depends not only on individual skills and abilities but also on the demands and complexities of the health care system.
  • 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.
  • Monitoring HIV Care in the United States: Indicators and Data ... Released: March 15, 2012
    Advances in medical treatment have made it possible for people infected with HIV to live longer, healthier lives. The CDC estimates that 1.2 million people live with HIV in the United States, with approximately 50,000 people newly infected each year. People with HIV require continuous access to quality care and treatment for HIV as well as their other health conditions. The White House Office of National AIDS Policy asked the IOM to identify core indicators related to continuous HIV care and access to supportive services, and to monitor the effect of both the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on improving HIV care.
  • Facilitating State Health Exchange Communication Through ... Released: February 14, 2012
    Deductible, co-insurance, out-of-pocket limits. Even to those with a basic understanding of health insurance, terms like these can be difficult to explain and understand. Under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, many more Americans will be eligible for health insurance through state insurance exchanges by 2014. Many of these individuals are among the 90 million American adults who lack basic health literacy. The IOM held a workshop that focused on ways in which health literate communication techniques can improve communication to potential enrollees.
  • 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.