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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Health Literacy: Improving Health, Health Systems, and Health ... Released: July 12, 2013
    Since the 1990s, health literacy has taken two different approaches; one oriented to clinical care and the other to public health. The public health approach is more prominent in developing nations, where organizations not only work to improve health for large groups of people but also provide educational opportunities. There are many opportunities for international research collaboration between the United States, European countries, and developing nations. The IOM hosted a workshop focused on international health literacy efforts. The workshop featured presentations and discussions about health literacy interventions from various countries as well as other topics related to international health literacy.
  • Toward Quality Measures for Population Health and the ... Released: July 09, 2013
    Public health practice and health care delivery in the United States share a common goal: longer, healthier lives for all. Quality in health care is essential for achieving this goal and is a central focus of implementing the Affordable Care Act. However, the notion of quality in the public health system has received less attention. Identifying measures of quality for the healthy system is essential to the work of assessment and quality improvement, and for demonstrating accountability throughout these systems. This IOM report examines the intersection of HHS’s public health quality effort and the Leading Health Indicators in Healthy People 2020, the nation’s 10-year agenda for advancing health in America.
  • Sodium Intake in Populations: Assessment of Evidence ... Released: May 14, 2013
    Despite public health efforts over the past several decades to encourage people in the United States to consume less sodium, adults still consume an average of 3,400 mg/day, well above the current federal guideline of 2,300 mg or less daily. Evidence has shown that reducing sodium intake reduces blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Some recent research, however, suggests that sodium intakes that are low may also increase health risks – particularly in certain groups. The CDC asked the IOM to examine the designs, methodologies, and conclusions in this latest body of research on dietary sodium intake and health outcomes in the general U.S. population and certain sub-populations. The IOM committee also was asked to comment on the implications of this new evidence for population-based strategies to gradually reduce sodium intake and to identify gaps in data and research and suggest ways to address them.
  • Oral Health Literacy - Workshop Summary : Health and ... Released: February 21, 2013
    Limited oral health literacy is associated with inaccurate knowledge about preventive measures such as water fluoridation, dental care visits, and oral health-related quality of life. The public and health care providers are largely unaware of the basic risk factors and preventive regimens for many oral diseases. Oral disease is expensive in terms of teeth, time, and money and results in pain, disfigurement, loss of school and work days, and even death when left untreated. The IOM Roundtable on Health Literacy held a workshop to examine the field of oral health literacy.
  • 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.
  • Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder ... Released: January 16, 2013
    Vaccines are among the most safe and effective public health interventions to prevent serious disease and death. Health care providers who vaccinate young children follow a schedule prepared by the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. New vaccines undergo rigorous testing prior to receiving FDA approval; however, like all medicines and medical interventions, vaccines carry some risk. Driven largely by concerns about potential side effects, there has been a shift in some parents’ attitudes toward the child immunization schedule. HHS asked the IOM to identify research approaches, methodologies, and study designs that could address questions about the safety of the current schedule. The IOM committee uncovered no evidence of major safety concerns associated with adherence to the childhood immunization schedule. Should signals arise that there may be need for investigation, however, the report offers a framework for conducting safety research using existing or new data collection systems.
  • US Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer ... Released: January 09, 2013
    The United States is among the wealthiest nations in the world, but it is far from the healthiest. For many years, Americans have been dying at younger ages than people in almost all other high-income countries. To gain a better understanding of this problem, the NIH asked the National Research Council and the IOM to investigate potential reasons for the U.S. health disadvantage and to assess its larger implications. No single factor can fully explain the U.S. health disadvantage. Without action to reverse current trends, the health of Americans will probably continue to fall behind that of people in other high-income countries.