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.


  • Evaluation of PEPFAR : Health and Medicine Division Released: February 20, 2013
    Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United States has provided an unprecedented level of health and development assistance and health diplomacy around the world. PEPFAR has saved and improved the lives of millions of people; supported HIV prevention, care, and treatment; strengthened systems; and engaged with partner countries to facilitate HIV policy and planning for sustainable responses to their epidemic. The IOM evaluation drew upon a variety of data sources, including quantitative data, extensive document review, and primary qualitative data collection through more than 400 interviews, including some site visits, with diverse stakeholders in 13 PEPFAR partner countries, at PEPFAR’s headquarters, and at other institutions and agencies involved in the global HIV response.
  • Countering the Problem of Falsified and Substandard Drugs ... Released: February 13, 2013
    Falsified and substandard medicines provide little protection from disease and, worse, can expose consumers to major harm. Bad drugs pose potential threats around the world, but the nature of the risk varies by country, with higher risk in countries with minimal or non-existent regulatory oversight. It is difficult to measure the public health burden of falsified and substandard drugs, the number of deaths they cause, or the amount of time and money wasted using them. The FDA asked the IOM to assess the global public health implications of falsified, substandard, and counterfeit pharmaceuticals to help jumpstart international discourse about this problem.
  • The Social Biology of Microbial Communities - Workshop ... Released: December 10, 2012
    The vast majority of microorganisms live in highly complex communities within which they lead intensely interactive lives—competing, cooperating, and forming associations with one another and with their living and nonliving host environments. Indeed, microbial communities are intricately intertwined with the biology of all ecosystems on Earth—from the extreme environments of the human gut to deep sea hydrothermal vents and the windswept plains of Antarctica. Despite these observations, very little is actually known about the factors and processes that influence community assembly, stability, and function. The IOM's Forum on Microbial Threats hosted a workshop to explore the emerging science and potential applications of the “social biology” of microbial communities.
  • Contagion of Violence - Workshop Summary : Health and ... Released: October 03, 2012
    In exploring the occurrence of violence, researchers have recognized the tendency for violent acts to cluster, to spread from place to place, and to mutate from one type to another – similar to the infectious disease model, in which an agent or vector initiates a specific biological pathway leading to symptoms of disease and infectivity. On April 30-May 1, 2012, the IOM held a workshop that focused on the epidemiology of the contagion, possible processes and mechanisms by which violence is transmitted, how contextual factors mitigate or exacerbate the issue, and ways in which the contagion of violence might be interrupted.
  • Improving Food Safety Through a One Health Approach ... Released: September 10, 2012
    Globalization of the food supply has created conditions favorable for the emergence, reemergence, and spread of food-borne pathogens—compounding the challenge of anticipating, detecting, and effectively responding to food-borne threats to health. In the United States, food-borne agents affect 1 out of 6 individuals and cause approximately 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths each year. A One Health approach to food safety may hold the promise of harnessing and integrating the expertise and resources from across the spectrum of multiple health domains including the human and veterinary medical and plant pathology communities with those of the wildlife and aquatic health and ecology communities. The IOM’s Forum on Microbial Threats hosted a public workshop on December 13 and 14, 2011 that examined issues critical to the protection of the nation’s food supply.
  • Communications and Technology for Violence Prevention ... Released: June 13, 2012
    As we learn more about what works to reduce violence, the challenge facing those who work in the field is how to use all of this new information to rapidly deploy or enhance new programs. At the same time, new communications technologies and distribution channels have altered traditional means of communications, and have made community-based efforts to prevent violence possible by making information readily available. How can these new technologies be successfully applied to the field of violence prevention? The IOM’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention held a workshop to explore the intersection of violence prevention and information and communications technology.
  • Ensuring Safe Foods and Medical Products Through Stronger ... Released: April 04, 2012
    Whether it’s suspect scallions from Mexico or contaminated ingredients from China used in the blood thinner heparin, the FDA is intimately familiar with the daunting task of policing the safety of food and medical products faced by regulators abroad. The FDA is responsible for protecting American consumers from unsafe food, medicines, biologics, and medical products that originate from many different countries and are transported through complex supply chains. The IOM formed a committee to identify the core elements of food, medicine, medical product, and biologics regulatory systems in developing countries; to pin-point the main gaps in these systems; and to design a strategy to leverage the expertise of the FDA and other stakeholders to strengthen regulatory systems abroad.
  • Country-Level Decision Making for Control of Chronic ... Released: April 02, 2012
    A 2010 IOM report, Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World, found that not only is it possible to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and related chronic diseases in developing countries, but also that such a reduction will be critical to achieving global health and development goals. As part a series of follow-up activities to the 2010 report, the IOM held a workshop that aimed to identify what is needed to create tools for country-led planning of effective, efficient, and equitable provision of chronic disease control programs.
  • The Science and Applications of Synthetic and Systems ... Released: November 23, 2011
    The completion of the initial draft of the human genome sequence in 2001 represented a fundamental shift in the way biology was studied, and allowed for vast post-genomic possibilities. Until the past decade, the work was often painstakingly slow; however, new strategies combining engineering and biological techniques have enhanced researchers' abilities. These new synthetic techniques allow for genes and long chains of DNA to be designed and manufactured from scratch using a computer and relevant chemical compounds, rather than manipulating pieces of existing genes from living cells. The IOM’s Forum on Microbial Threats hosted a public workshop March 14-15, 2011 to explore the scientific and policy dimensions of recent developments in genetic engineering and their applications to emerging infectious diseases.
  • Social and Economic Costs of Violence - Workshop Summary ... Released: October 25, 2011
    Measuring the social and economic costs of violence can be difficult, and most estimates only consider direct economic effects, such as productivity loss or the use of health care services. Communities and societies feel the effects of violence through loss of social cohesion, financial divestment, and the increased burden on the health care and justice systems. Initial estimates show that early violence prevention intervention has economic benefits. The IOM Forum on Global Violence Prevention held a workshop to examine the successes and challenges of calculating direct and indirect costs of violence, as well as the potential cost-effectiveness of intervention.