Institute of Medicine

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A component of the National Academy of Sciences[1] (NAS), the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies[2], acting upon its own initiative to study policy relating to public health, began operation in 1970 under the auspices of the NAS acting through its congressional charter to advise the federal government on matters of science. The IOM undertakes to identify and study matters pertaining to medical care, medical research, and education in its broadest sense.

The IOM´s website describes the IOM as follows:

The nation turns to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies for science-based advice on matters of biomedical science, medicine, and health. A nonprofit organization specifically created for this purpose as well as an honorific membership organization, the IOM was chartered in 1970 as a component of the National Academy of Sciences….The Institute provides a vital service by working outside the framework of government to ensure scientifically informed analysis and independent guidance. The IOM's mission is to serve as adviser to the nation to improve health. The Institute provides unbiased, evidence-based, and authoritative information and advice concerning health and science policy to policy-makers, professionals, leaders in every sector of society, and the public at large.[3][4]

The IOM elects it members based on their professional achievement, including at least one-quarter of members from professions not primarily involved in matters of health or medicine, including "natural, social, and behavioral sciences, law, administration, government service, and engineering", important to achieve a diversity of perspectives on the health problems that face Americans.[5]  Members consider it an honor to serve, and do so without compensation. Staff professionals support the work of the Institute's members. The Institute's reputation for integrity, competence, and independence enables it to recruit volunteer specialists when needed for special projects.

According to the IOM website, only Institute members can nominate individuals for membership, and nominees must qualify based on:

(a) distinguished professional achievement in a field related to medicine and health; (b) demonstrated and continued involvement with the issues of health care, prevention of disease, education, or research; (c) skills and resources likely to contribute to the Institute's tasks of assessing current knowledge, conducting studies, and considering policy issues; and, (d) willingness to be an active participant in the Institute.[6]

Work organization of IOM

The IOM has organized itself into seventeen topic areas, each of which invovles current projects, dissemination of reports, and for most, sponsorship of events:[7]

  • mental health
  • child health
  • food & nutrition
  • aging

  • women's health
  • education
  • public policy
  • healthcare & quality

  • diseases
  • global health
  • workplace
  • military & veterans

  • health sciences
  • environment
  • treatment
  • public health & prevention
  • minority health

In 2008, IOM published nearly 50 reports, in book form, purchasable or readable free online from the National Academies Press,[8] touching upon most of its designated topic areas. The IOM website gives a list of its reports, with links to free online reading of them, dating back to its inception in 1970.[9]

A few examples of 2005-2009 reports (readable online, or purchasable):

  • Projects underway as of Jul 19 2007

The IOM website lists "the committee studies and other activities that are currently underway at the Institute of Medicine."[10] See Reports[9] for those which have released reports.

History of the Institute of Medicine

Holding reference:[11]

References and notes cited in text as superscripts