About Publications

Publications from the AffiliateMarketIngtools of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide objective and straightforward advice to decision makers and the public. This site includes We Treat You (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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Released: March 21, 2014
    The translation of research advances into clinical applications has been slower than anticipated due in part to the complexity of biology as well as the cost and time it takes to develop a product. Pharmaceutical companies, for example, are adapting their business models to improve the efficiency of product development by putting increasing emphasis on alliances, joint development efforts, early-phase research partnerships, and public-private partnerships. Though the potential benefits of collaboration are significant, the fact that partnerships are becoming more complex with both financial and non-financial relationships, even perceptions of conflict of interest or bias could impact the ability to engage in innovative research collaborations. In June 2013, the IOM Roundtable on Translating Genomic-Based Research for Health held a workshop to explore how to advance medical innovation while protecting the integrity of the research process and maintaining public trust.
  • Released: February 18, 2014
    Investigations of microbial ecology in a variety of organisms and contexts have begun to illuminate the properties of host-associated microorganisms. These observations have revealed a complex and dynamic network of interactions across the spectrum of host, microbe, and environmental niches that may influence states of health and disease. Alterations in the composition and dynamics of the human microbiome have been associated with a variety of complex diseases — including such chronic conditions as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and inflammatory bowel diseases. This ecologically-informed view is a paradigm shift away from the conventional "one-microbe, one-disease" perspective of infection and may lead to new insights and approaches to health maintenance, disease prevention, and treatment methods in humans, animals, and plants. The IOM Forum on Microbial Threats held a public workshop in , DC, to explore the scientific and therapeutic implications of microbial ecology in health and disease.
  • Released: February 12, 2014
    Genomic data can be used to identify new drug targets for both common and rare diseases, can predict which patients are likely to respond to a specific treatment, and have the potential to significantly reduce the cost of clinical trials. Recently, the realization of such benefits has led to the development and approval of several targeted therapeutics. A key component of each of these new drug approvals is the ability to identify the population of patients who will benefit from treatment, which is largely hinged on the co-development and co-submission to the U.S. FDA of a companion diagnostic test. This process has led to a change in the way drugs are developed with pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies working in close collaboration together. This summary describes an IOM workshop held to examine challenges and potential solutions for the co-development of targeted therapeutics and companion molecular tests for the prediction of drug response.
  • Released: February 03, 2014
    On January 7, 2014, the newly formed Roundtable on Obesity Solutions of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) held its first public event, a half-day workshop titled “The Current State of Obesity Solutions in the United States.” The purpose of the roundtable, which includes representatives from public health, health care, government, the food industry, education, philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and academia, is to engage leadership from multiple sectors to discuss potential solutions to the obesity crisis. Through meetings, public workshops, background papers, and innovation collaboratives, the roundtable will foster an ongoing dialogue about critical and emerging implementation, policy, and research topics to accelerate progress in obesity prevention and care.
  • Released: January 22, 2014
    Clinical trials are crucial to determining the safety of medical interventions and their ability to achieve particular health outcomes and represent a significant investment from all involved — patients and others who volunteer to participate, organizations that sponsor trials, and the researchers who conduct a study and analyze the data. Clinical trial data represent potential resources that, if shared, could facilitate new analyses and a deeper understanding of a particular therapy or condition. However, much of the data generated by clinical trials is not public or shared beyond the data holder, and significant barriers to sharing these data exist. In follow up to an October 2012 workshop at the IOM, the IOM is conducting a consensus study to recommend guiding principles and a framework for the responsible sharing of clinical trial data. A final report will be released in December 2014. This framework for discussion outlines the committee’s preliminary thoughts on guiding principles that underpin the responsible sharing of clinical trial data, defines key elements of data and data sharing activities, and describes a selected set of data sharing activities. One goal of this framework is to facilitate identification of the numerous complicated issues that the committee might need to take into account in the strategies and practical approaches to sharing of clinical trial data that will be recommended in the committee’s final report.
  • Released: January 17, 2014
    Caffeine is arguably the most ingested pharmacologically active substance in the world and has been a part of many cultures for centuries. But the caffeine-in food landscape is quickly changing. Along with energy drinks and supplements, the array of new caffeine-containing products is rapidly expanding. Historically, scientific research has shown that moderate consumption naturally-occurring caffeine in coffee and tea by healthy adults is not associated with adverse health effects. However, the inclusion of caffeine in products such as soft drinks and other beverages, foods, and supplements raises concerns about safety, whether new products target populations not normally associated with high caffeine consumption – like children and adolescents – and whether caffeine poses a greater health risk to those populations. The IOM held a workshop August 5-6, 2013, to review the available science on safe levels of caffeine consumption in foods, beverages, and dietary supplements and to identify data gaps.
  • Released: December 17, 2013
    Although children represent about 25 percent of the U.S. population, current state and local disaster preparedness plans often do not include specific considerations for children and families. The preparedness and resilience of communities related to children requires a systems framework for disaster preparedness across traditional and non-traditional medical and public health stakeholders. The IOM Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events held a workshop to discuss disaster preparedness, response, and recovery relative to the needs of children and families, including children with special health care needs.
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