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.


  • Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains in Electronic Health ... Released: April 08, 2014
    Traditionally, research and interventions on social and behavioral determinants of health have largely been the purview of public health which has focused on disease prevention and maintenance of the public’s health. Health care systems, in contrast, have focused primarily on the treatment of disease in individual patients, and, until recently, social determinants of health have not been linked to clinical practice or health care delivery systems. Electronic health records (EHRs) provide crucial information to providers treating individual patients, to health systems about the health of populations, and to researchers about the determinants of health and the effectiveness of treatments. The IOM was asked to form a committee to identify domains and measures that capture the social determinants of health to inform the development of recommendations for meaningful use of EHRs. This Phase 1 report is the first of two reports by the IOM committee.
  • 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.
  • Applying a Health Lens to Decision Making in Non-Health ... Released: March 27, 2014
    Health is influenced by a variety of factors, many of which fall outside the health care delivery sector. These determinants of health include the characteristics of where people live, work, learn, and play. Decision and policy making in areas such as transportation, housing, and education at different levels of government, as well as in the private sector, can have far-reaching impacts on health. There has been increasing dialogue on incorporating a health perspective into policies, programs, and projects outside the health field. The IOM held a workshop to foster cross-sectoral dialogue and to consider the opportunities for and barriers to improving the conditions for health in the course of achieving other sectors’ objectives, such as economic development and efficient public transit.
  • Understanding the Connections Between Coastal Waters and ... Released: February 20, 2014
    Humans rely on the natural environment – such as oceans and coastal waters – for essential human services like providing food and essential dietary nutrients and purifying drinking water. These benefits are referred to as ecosystem services. Humans also rely on the environment for the natural cycles that renew the oxygen in the air, reduce carbon dioxide in the air, and recycle nitrogen. Disruption to these processes can create negative human health effects. The IOM held a workshop to discuss coastal waters and ocean ecosystem services in the United States and to understand the impacts on human health.
  • Including Health in Global Frameworks for Development ... Released: January 17, 2014
    In the spring of 2013, the IOM held three webinars which examined frameworks for global development goals and connections to health indicators, the role for health in the context of novel sustainable economic frameworks, and scenarios to project climate change impacts and health outcomes. The webinars were based on themes identified by the IOM Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine’s Global Environmental Health and Sustainable Development Innovation Collaborative.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Population Health Implications of the Affordable Care Act ... Released: October 07, 2013
    Several provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) offer an unprecedented opportunity to shift the focus of health experts, policy makers, and the public beyond health care delivery to the broader array of factors that play a role in shaping health outcomes. The shift includes a growing recognition that the health care delivery system is responsible for only a modest proportion of what makes and keeps Americans healthy. The IOM Roundtable on Population Health Improvement held a workshop to explore the likely impact on population health improvement of various provisions within the ACA.
  • Ranking Vaccines: A Prioritization Software Tool - Phase II ... Released: September 30, 2013
    In 2012, the IOM released Ranking Vaccines: A Prioritization Framework (Phase I: Demonstration of Concept and a Software Blueprint) which offered a framework and proof of concept for a software prototype called SMART Vaccines to account for various factors influencing vaccine prioritization — demographic, economic, health, scientific, business, programmatic, social, policy factors and public concerns. In this report, Ranking Vaccines: A Prioritization Software Tool (Phase II: Prototype of a Decision-Support System) a functional version of SMART Vaccines 1.0 is discussed and elaborated along with its potential application in making decisions about new vaccine development.