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View a list of Sustainability-related meetings at The National Academies 

Past Events:

Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability
December 10-11, 2014
Washington, DC

Homelessness and Urban Sustainability: Implications of Changes to the US Health System on a Vulnerable Population

November 12, 2014
Washington, DC

Considerations for the Future of Animal Science Research

September 8-9, 2014
Washington, DC

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View a list of Sustainability-related meetings at The National Academies

Ongoing Studies

View a list of Sustainability-related ongoing studies at The National Academies
People & Their Communities

"People-centered development focuses on the "quantity" of life as seen in the survival of children or increased life expectancy, and on the quality of life in terms of education, equity, and equal opportunity."
Our Common Journey



Public Health Linkages with Sustainability: Workshop Summary (2013)
In preparation to the 2012 Earth Summit, the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine held a workshop to inform some the policies that were discussed. The workshop, held in July 2011, focused on the issue of sustainability and health as well as the linkages that are currently present between the two. The workshop included presentations and discussions which are summarized in this report. The report presents how different areas of public health, such as food and water resources, link to sustainability and opportunities or venues that can be examined.

Disaster Resilience:  A National ImperativeDisaster Resilience: A National Imperative (2012)
No person or place is immune from disasters or disaster-related losses. Infectious disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism, social unrest, or financial disasters in addition to natural hazards can all lead to large-scale consequences for the nation and its communities. Communities and the nation thus face difficult fiscal, social, cultural, and environmental choices about the best ways to ensure basic security and quality of life against hazards, deliberate attacks, and disasters. One way to reduce the impacts of disasters on the nation and its communities is to invest in enhancing resilience--the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from and more successfully adapt to adverse events. This report addresses the broad issue of increasing the nation's resilience to disasters. It defines "national resilience", describes the state of knowledge about resilience to hazards and disasters, and frames the main issues related to increasing resilience in the United States. It also provide goals, baseline conditions, or performance metrics for national resilience and outlines additional information, data, gaps, and/or obstacles that need to be addressed to increase the nation's resilience to disasters.

Sustainability and the U.S. EPA (2011)
A new report from the National Research Council presents a framework for incorporating sustainability into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's principles and decision making.  The framework, which was requested by EPA, is intended to help the agency better assess the social, environmental, and economic impacts of various options as it makes decisions. The recommended sustainability approach both incorporates and goes beyond an approach based on assessing and managing the risks posed by pollutants that has largely shaped environmental policy since the 1980s. The report recommends that EPA formally adopt as its sustainability paradigm the widely used "three pillars" approach, which means considering the environmental, social, and economic impacts of an action or decision.

Climate Change Education Goals, Audiences, and Strategies: A Workshop Summary (2011)
The global scientific and policy community now unequivocally accepts that human activities cause global climate change. Although information on climate change is readily available, the nation still seems unprepared or unwilling to respond effectively to climate change, due partly to a general lack of public understanding of climate change issues and opportunities for effective responses. Congress, in its 2009 and 2010 appropriation process, requested that the National Science Foundation create a program in climate change education to provide funding to external grantees to improve climate change education in the United States. To support and strengthen these education initiatives, the Board on Science Education of the National Research Council created the Climate Change Education Roundtable. This report is a summary of the discussions and presentations from the first workshop, held October 21-22, 2010. 

In recent years, significant advances have been made in the science and technology of earthquake engineering, but problems, barriers, and bottlenecks still stand in the way of making the nation earthquake resilient. To help plan future research investments in the field, the NRC hosted a workshop to discuss next-generation U.S. needs for basic earthquake engineering research. Workshop participants from a variety of disciplines assembled to identify high-priority grand challenges that define the frontiers in basic earthquake engineering research, and to describe the networks of experimental facilities and cyberinfrastructure tools that could help address these challenges.
Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters: The Perspective from the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi: Summary of a Workshop (2011)
Natural disasters are having an increasing effect on the lives of people in the United States and throughout the world. Every decade, property damage caused by natural disasters and hazards doubles or triples in the United States. More than half of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coast, and all Americans are at risk from such hazards as fires, earthquakes, floods, and wind. This report reviews the effects of Hurricane Katrina and other natural and human-induced disasters on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi and to learn more about the resilience of those areas to future disasters. Topics explored in the workshop range from insurance, building codes, and critical infrastructure to private-sector issues, public health, nongovernmental organizations and governance.

Waste Forms Technology and Performance: Final Report (2011)
The Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) is responsible for cleaning up radioactive waste and environmental contamination resulting from five decades of nuclear weapons production and testing that are stored at over 100 sites across the United States. A major focus of this program involves the retrieval and processing of stored waste to reduce its volume and incorporate it into suitable waste forms to facilitate safe handling and disposal. Waste forms immobilize radioactive and hazardous constituents of wastes in a stable, solid matrix. This report was produced to assist DOE in making decisions for improving current methods for processing radioactive wastes and for selecting and fabricating waste forms for disposal.  
The Emerging Threat of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in Southern Africa: Global and Local Challenges and Solutions (2011)
Tuberculosis (TB) kills approximately 4,500 people worldwide every day. TB is the leading killer of people with HIV, and it is also a disease of poverty-the majority of TB deaths occur in the developing world. Although antibiotics are effective in treating many cases, some strains have developed resistance to these drugs. The treatments for drug-resistant TB are less effective, more expensive, and more toxic to the patient than antibiotics are for drug-susceptible TB. The IOM Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation and the Academy of Science of South Africa held a workshop March 3-4, 2010, in Pretoria, South Africa-the first in a series of international meetings designed to gather information from experts on the threat of drug-resistant TB and ways it can be combated. 
Spring Issue of The Bridge on Urban Sustainability (2011)
Cities are home to half of the world's population--about 80% in the United States. These vibrant centers of activity impact global sustainability with their large footprints; concentrations of pollution and consumption; financial, technological, and knowledge networks; global business reach; and cultural influence. As the world urban population increases, however, risks to urban dwellers also increase. the articles in this issue are part of ongoing discussions about the challenges of urban sustainability. Glen Daigger of C2HM Hill focuses on the effective, efficient treatment and overall management of water resources. The potential of "city mining" is the subject of an article by Tom Graedel of Yale University.

Preparing for the Future of HIV/AIDS in Africa: A Share Responsibility (2010)
HIV/AIDS is a catastrophe globally but nowhere more so than in sub-Saharan Africa, which in 2008 accounted for 67 percent of cases worldwide and 91 percent of new infections. The Institute of Medicine recommends that the United States and African nations move toward a strategy of shared responsibility such that these nations are empowered to take ownership of their HIV/AIDS problem and work to solve it.

Antibiotic Resistance: Implications for Global Health and Novel Intervention Strategies: Workshop Summary (2010)
Years of using, misusing, and overusing antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs has led to the emergence of multidrug-resistant 'superbugs.' The IOM's Forum on Microbial Threats held a public workshop April 6-7 to discuss the nature and sources of drug-resistant bacteria and viruses and their implications for global health. Speakers explored the evolutionary, genetic, and ecological origins of antimicrobial drug resistance and its effects on human and animal health worldwide. This document summarizes the workshop.

Building Community Disaster Resilience through Private-Public Collaboration (2010)
Natural disasters--including hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods--caused over 220,000 deaths worldwide in the first half of 2010 and wreaked havoc on homes, buildings, and the environment. To withstand and recover from natural and human-caused disasters, it is essential that citizens and communities work together to anticipate threats, limit their effects, and rapidly restore functionality after a crisis. This book assesses the current state of private-public sector collaboration dedicated to strengthening community resilience, identifies gaps in knowledge and practice, and recommends research that could be targeted for investment. Specifically, the book finds that local-level private-public collaboration is essential to the development of community resilience.

Engineering, Social Justice, and Sustainable Community Development: Summary of a Workshop (2010)
This report is the first in a series of biennial workshops on the theme of engineering ethics and engineering leadership. This workshop addresses conflicting positive goals for engineering projects in impoverished areas and areas in crisis. These conflicts arise domestically as well as in international arenas. The goals of project sponsors and participants, which are often implicit, include protecting human welfare, ensuring social justice, and striving for environmental sustainability alongside the more often explicit goal of economic development or progress.

Facilitating Climate Change Responses: A Report of Two Workshops on Insights from the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2010)
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, understanding the need for policy makers at the national level to entrain the behavioral and social sciences in addressing the challenges of global climate change, called on the National Research Council to organize two workshops to showcase some of the decision-relevant contributions that these sciences have already made and can advance with future efforts. Facilitating Climate Change Responses documents the information presented in the workshop presentations and discussions. This material illustrates some of the ways the behavioral and social sciences can contribute to the new era of climate research.

Infectious Disease Movement in a Borderless World: Workshop Summary (2010)
As a result of our global interconnectedness, infectious diseases emerge more frequently; spread greater distances; pass more easily between humans and animals; and change rapidly into new and more virulent strains. To explore issues related to infectious disease movement in a borderless world, The Institute of Medicine (IOM)'s the Forum on Microbial Threats hosted a workshop December 16-17, 2008, summarized in this document.

NOAA's Education Program: Review and Critique (2010)
There is a national need to educate the public about the ocean, coastal resources, atmosphere and climate. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency responsible for understanding and predicting changes in the Earth's environment and conserving and managing coastal and marine resources to meet the nation's economic, social and environmental needs, has a broad mandate to engage and coordinate education initiatives on these topics. Since its creation in 1970, the NOAA has supported a variety of education projects that cover a range of topics related to the agency's scientific and stewardship mission. This book provides a summary of the national education context for NOAA's role in education which is twofold: first is to advance the environmental literacy of the nation, and second is to promote a diverse workforce in ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, atmospheric and climate sciences.

Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World: A Critical Challenge to Achieve Global Health (2010)
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), once thought to be confined primarily to industrialized nations, has emerged as a major health threat in developing countries. Cardiovascular disease now accounts for nearly 30 percent of deaths in low and middle income countries each year, and is accompanied by significant economic repercussions. Yet most governments, global health institutions, and development agencies have largely overlooked CVD as they have invested in health in developing countries. Recognizing the gap between the compelling evidence of the global CVD burden and the investment needed to prevent and control CVD, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) turned to the IOM for advice on how to catalyze change. 

Research Priorities for Assessing Health Effects from the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: A Letter Report (2010)
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, spilling millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf before it was successfully capped in mid-July. It is as yet uncertain how the spill itself and the use of chemical dispersants to remove the oil will affect the health of clean-up workers, residents, and visitors in the Gulf region. The IOM recommends that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services focus on researching psychological and behavioral health, exposure information to oil and dispersants, seafood safety, communication methods for health studies, and methods for conducting research in order to better understand and mitigate the effects on human health for this oil spill and for future disasters.

The Causes and Impacts of Neglected Tropical and Zoonotic Diseases - Implications for Global Health and Opportunities for Novel Intervention Strategies (2010)
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, causing an oil leak one mile beneath the ocean's surface. The explosion killed 11 workers and unleashed one of the largest offshore oil spills in history. The oil well was plugged in mid-July, but the effects of the spill on the short- and long-term health of individuals-including workers, volunteers, residents and visitors-remain uncertain. At the request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the IOM convened a public workshop June 22-23 to begin planning for the surveillance of the Gulf oil spill's effects on human health. Speakers explored the potential adverse health effects for at-risk populations living in the Gulf region or assisting with clean-up activities. Participants considered effective ways to communicate potential health risks to the public and to engage them in research on the spill's effects. This document summarizes the workshop. Presentations from the meeting as well as full video and transcripts are available online.

Applications of Social Network Analysis for Building Community Disaster Resilience: Workshop Summary (2009)
Social network analysis identifies the relationships and attributes of members, key actors, and groups that make up social networks. This document sums up discussions at a workshop held February 11-12, 2009, at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, to provide guidance on a potential research agenda to increase the effectiveness of social network analysis for improving community disaster resilience. Researchers gathered with emergency management practitioners to explore the state of the art in social network analysis and its applications; current work on theories, principles, and design or strengthening of networks; and gaps in knowledge that prevent its application to building networks. 

Contaminated Water Supplies at Camp Lejeune: Assessing Potential Health Effects(2009)
In the early 1980s, two water-supply systems on the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina were found to be contaminated with the industrial solvents trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). The water systems were supplied by the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point watertreatment plants, which served enlisted-family housing, barracks for unmarried service personnel, base administrative offices, schools, and recreational areas. The Hadnot Point water system also served the base hospital and an industrial area and supplied water to housing on the Holcomb Boulevard water system (full-time until 1972 and periodically thereafter). This book examines what is known about the contamination of the water supplies at Camp Lejeune and whether the contamination can be linked to any adverse health outcomes in former residents and workers at the base.

Environmental Health Sciences Decision Making: Risk Management, Evidence, and Ethics: Workshop Summary (2009)
Environmental health decision making can be a complex undertaking, as there is the need to navigate and find balance among three core elements: science, policy, and the needs of the American public. Policy makers often grapple with how to make appropriate decisions when the research is uncertain. The challenge for the policy maker is to make the right decision with the best available data in a transparent process. The Environmental Health Sciences Decision Making workshop, the first in a series, was convened to inform the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine on emerging issues in risk management, ''weight of evidence,'' and ethics that influence environmental health decision making. The workshop, summarized in this volume, included an overview of the principles underlying decision making, the role of evidence and challenges for vulnerable populations, and ethical issues of conflict of interest, scientific integrity, and transparency.

Global Environmental Health: Research Gaps and Barriers for Providing Sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Services (2009)
The Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine of the Institute of Medicine convened a workshop in October 2007, summarized in this volume, to address objectives related to Sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Services. One of the objectives of the workshop was to think about the interdependence of environmental health and human health as connected through water. A second objective of the workshop was to consider how planning, management, and interdisciplinary approaches-including technology, social behavioral issues, gender, health, environment, economic, and political aspects-can be integrated to arrive at sustainable solutions. Many organizations and agencies are trying to forge a path toward sustainable practices in water, but the various sectors utilizing and governing water services are not interconnected. More integration and a greater understanding of holistic approaches are needed. 

Global Issues in Water, Sanitation, and Health Workshop: Summary (2009)
As the human population grows - tripling in the past century while, simultaneously, quadrupling its demand for water - Earth's finite freshwater supplies are increasingly strained, and also increasingly contaminated by domestic, agricultural, and industrial wastes. Recognizing that water availability, water quality, and sanitation are fundamental issues underlying infectious disease emergence and spread, the Institute of Medicine held a two-day public workshop, summarized in this volume. Through invited presentations and discussions, participants explored global and local connections between water, sanitation, and health; the spectrum of water related disease transmission processes as they inform intervention design lessons learned from water-related disease outbreaks; vulnerabilities in water and sanitation infrastructure in both industrialized and developing countries; and opportunities to improve water and sanitation infrastructure so as to reduce the risk of water related infectious disease.

Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations A Letter Report (2009)
The influenza pandemic caused by the 2009 H1N1 virus underscores the immediate and critical need to prepare for a public health emergency in which thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people suddenly require and seek medical care in communities across the United States. At the request of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the Department of Health and Human Services, the Institute of Medicine convened a committee to develop guidance for crisis standards of care that should apply in disaster situations both naturally occurring and manmade under scarce resource conditions. This report is focused on articulating current concepts and guidance that can assist state and local public health officials, healthcare facilities, and professionals in the development of systematic and comprehensive policies and protocols for crisis standards of care in disasters where resources are scarce.

HHS in the 21st Century: Charting a New Course for a Healthier America (2009)
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) profoundly affects the lives of all Americans. Its agencies and programs protect against domestic and global health threats, assure the safety of food and drugs, advance the science of preventing and conquering disease, provide safeguards for America's  vulnerable populations, and improve health for everyone. However, the department faces serious and complex obstacles, chief among them rising health care costs and a broadening range of health challenges. At the request of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, this report assesses whether HHS is "ideally organized" to meet the enduring and emerging health challenges facing our nation. The committee identifies many factors that affect the department' s ability to address its range of responsibilities, including divergence in the missions and goals of the departments agencies, limited flexibility in spending, impending workforce shortages, difficulty in retaining skilled professionals, and challenges in effectively partnering with the private sector.

Book CoverIntegrative Medicine and the Health of the Public: A Summary of the February 2009 Summit (2009)
Integrative medicine can be described as orienting the health care process to create a seamless engagement by patients and caregivers of the full range of physical, psychological, social, preventive, and therapeutic factors known to be effective and necessary for the achievement of optimal health throughout the life span. Integrative medicine envisions a health care system that focuses on efficient, evidence-based prevention, wellness, and patient-centered care that is personalized, predictive, preventive and participatory. On February 25-27, 2009, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) convened the Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public in Washington, DC. This publication summarizes the background, presentations, and discussions that occurred during the summit.

Book CoverMitigating the Nutritional Impacts of the Global Food Price Crisis: Workshop Summary (2009)
The Institute of Medicine held a workshop, summarized in this volume, to describe the dynamic technological, agricultural, and economic issues contributing to the food price increases of 2007 and 2008 and their impacts on health and nutrition in resource-poor regions. The compounding effects of the current global economic downturn on nutrition motivated additional discussions on these dual crises, their impacts on the nutritional status of vulnerable populations, and opportunities to mitigate their negative nutritional effects.

Science in Action: Saving the Lives of Africa’s Mothers, Newborns, and Children (2009)
This report presents an overview of the current status of maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) in sub-Saharan Africa and estimates that the lives of nearly 4 million women, newborns, and children in sub-Saharan Africa could be saved every year if already well-established, affordable health interventions reached 90 percent of families. This publication was prepared for the Fifth Annual Meeting of the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI), hosted by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on November 10-11, 2009 as part of its 50th anniversary celebration.

Sustainable Critical Infrastructure Systems: A Framework for Meeting 21st Century Imperatives (2009)
For the people of the United States, the 20th century was one of unprecedented population growth, economic development, and improved quality of life. The critical infrastructure systems - water, wastewater, power, transportation, and telecommunications - built in the 20th century have become so much a part of modern life that they are taken for granted. Large segments and components of the nation's critical infrastructure systems are now 50 to 100 years old, and their performance and condition are deteriorating. However, approaching infrastructure renewal by continuing to use the same processes, practices, technologies, and materials that were developed in the 20th century will likely yield the same results: increasing instances of service disruptions, higher operating and repair costs, and the possibility of catastrophic, cascading failures. If the nation is to meet some of the important challenges of the 21st century, a new paradigm for the renewal of critical infrastructure systems is needed. This book discusses the essential components of this new paradigm, and outlines a framework to ensure that ongoing activities, knowledge, and technologies can be aligned and leveraged to help meet multiple national objectives.

Book CoverThe Domestic and International Impacts of the 2009-H1N1 Influenza A Pandemic: Global Challenges, Global Solutions: Workshop Summary (2009)
On September 15-16, 2009, the IOM’s Forum on Microbial Threats held a public workshop to discuss the domestic and international impacts of the 2009 H1N1 influenza A pandemic. Participants explored the origins, evolution, and epidemiology of the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus as well as prospects for development and distribution of vaccines and other mitigation measures. In addition, participants discussed the value of disease detection and surveillance in understanding the epidemiology of the virus and in evaluating the success of various interventions to reduce the virus's spread. This report summarizes the workshop’s discussions.

The Public Health Effects of Food Deserts: Workshop Summary (2009)
In the United States, people living in low-income neighborhoods frequently do not have access to affordable healthy food venues, such as supermarkets. Instead, those living in ''food deserts'' must rely on convenience stores and small neighborhood stores that offer few, if any, healthy food choices, such as fruits and vegetables. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) convened a two-day workshop on January 26-27, 2009, to provide input into a Congressionally-mandated food deserts study by the U.S. Department of Agricultures Economic Research Service. The workshop, summarized in this volume, provided a forum in which to discuss the public health effects of food deserts.

The U.S. Commitment to Global Health: Recommendations for the Public and Private Sectors (2009)
The global health community has reached a critical juncture in that now, more than ever, the knowledge, innovative technologies, and proven tools to help millions of people in need are within reach. Despite demonstrated success in tackling certain health issues, a wide gap remains between what can be done with existing knowledge, and what is actually being done in disadvantaged communities. Neither the U.S. government nor any one U.S. organization can achieve global health acting alone, but only as part of a shared global endeavor/campaign. Addressing the vision for a renewed U.S. commitment to global health, the book communicates specific recommendations not just for the U.S. government, but also for several nongovernmental sectors, including foundations and philanthropies, academia, nonprofit organizations, and the commercial sector.

Achieving Sustainable Global Capacity for Surveillance and Response to Emerging Diseases of Zoonotic Origin: Workshop Report (2008)
Most of the diseases that have emerged over the past six decades, including AIDS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and Avian Influenza, have been caused by zoonotic pathogens - infectious agents that are transmitted from animals to humans. In today's globalized world, the emergence of new zoonotic diseases could have devastating health, economic, environmental, agricultural, and sociopolitical impacts. At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council convened a workshop to discuss the current global capacity for zoonotic disease surveillance as a way of detecting and preventing zoonotic disease outbreaks in humans and animals; this workshop report summarizes the discussions from that workshop. An independent committee of experts will follow up these discussions with a consensus study on improving the global capacity for zoonotic disease surveillance and response, to be released in June 2009.

Book CoverPublic Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making(2008)
Federal agencies have taken steps to include the public in a wide range of environmental decisions. Proponents of public participation argue that those who must live with the outcome of an environmental decision should have some influence on it. Critics maintain that public participation slows decision making and can lower its quality by including people unfamiliar with the science involved. This book concludes that, when done correctly, public participation improves the quality of federal agencies' decisions about the environment. Well-managed public involvement also increases the legitimacy of decisions in the eyes of those affected by them, which makes it more likely that the decisions will be implemented effectively. This book recommends that agencies recognize public participation as valuable to their objectives, not just as a formality required by the law. It details principles and approaches agencies can use to successfully involve the public. 

Book CoverRebuilding the Research Capacity at HUD (2008)
Today, the nation faces an array of housing and urban policy challenges. No federal department other than the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) focuses explicitly on the well being of urban places or on the spatial relationships among people and economic activities in urban areas. If HUD, Congress, mayors, and other policy makers are to respond effectively to urban issues, they need a much more robust and effective Office of Policy Development and Research (PDandR). With adequate resources, PDR could lead the nation's ongoing process of learning, debate, and experimentation about critical housing and urban development challenges. This book makes seven major recommendations about PD&R's resources and responsibilities, including more active engagement with policy makers, formalizing various informal practices, strengthening surveys and data sets, and more. Acknowledging that the current level of funding for PDandR is inadequate, the book also makes several additional recommendations to help enable PDandR to reach its full potential.

Book CoverReview of ATSDR's Great Lakes Report Drafts (Letter Report) (2008)
This review presents the details of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee''s evaluation of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) unofficial report drafts looking at health and pollution data from the Great Lakes region, of ATSDRs response to review, as well as of the concerns of the Office of the Director of ATSDR and the Office of the Director of the Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention (CCEHIP). The committee found that the two drafts have problems and limitations that diminish the documents' scientific quality. These shortcomings hamper the usefulness of the drafts in addressing whether health risks might be associated with living near the lakes.

Book CoverScience and Technology and the Future Development of Societies--International Workshop Proceedings (2008)
In June 2006, seventeen scientists and educators selected by the National Academies, the Academy of Sciences of Iran, and the Acadmie des Sciences of France held a workshop at the estate of the Fondation des Treilles in Toutour, France, to discuss issues concerning the role of science in the development of modern societies. This book includes the presentations made at the workshop and summarizes the discussions that followed the presentations. Topics of the workshop included science and society issues, the role of science and engineering in development; obstacles and opportunities in the application of science and technology to development; scientific thinking of decision makers; management and utilization of scientific knowledge; and science, society, and education. This book also provides useful background for the further development of interactions of Western scientists and educators with Iranian specialists.

Book CoverState of the USA Health Indicators: Letter Report (2008)
Researchers, policymakers, sociologists and doctors have long asked how to best measure the health of a nation, yet the challenge persists. The nonprofit State of the USA, Inc (SUSA) is taking on this challenge, demonstrating how to measure the health of the United States. The organization is developing a new website intended to provide reliable and objective facts about the U.S. in a number of key areas, including health, and to provide an interactive tool with which individuals can track the progress made in each of these areas. In 2008, SUSA asked the Institute of Medicine's Committee on the State of the USA Health Indicators to provide guidance on 20 key indicators to be used on the organization''''s website that would be valuable in assessing health. The selected indicators reflect the overall health of the nation and the efficiency and efficacy of U.S. health systems. 

Book CoverThe Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation: Special Report 294 (2008)
TRB Special Report 294: The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation explores the roles that transit systems can play in accommodating the evacuation, egress, and ingress of people from and to critical locations in times of emergency. The report focuses on major incidents that could necessitate a partial to full evacuation of the central business district or other large portion of an urban area. According to the committee that produced the report, transit agencies could play a significant role in an emergency evacuation, particularly in transporting carless and special needs populations, but few urban areas have planned for a major disaster and evacuation that could involve multiple jurisdictions or multiple states in a region, or have focused on the role of transit and other public transportation providers in such an incident. The report offers recommendations for making transit a full partner in emergency evacuation plans and operations, while cautioning emergency managers, elected officials, and the general public to be realistic in their expectations, particularly in a no-notice incident that occurs during a peak service period. 

Book CoverThe U.S. Commitment to Global Health: Recommendations for the New Administration(2008)
At this historic moment, the incoming Obama administration and leaders of the U.S. Congress have the opportunity to advance the welfare and prosperity of people within and beyond the borders of the United States through intensified and sustained attention to better health. The United States can improve the lives of millions around the world, while reflecting America's values and protecting and promoting the nation's interests. The Institute of Medicine - with the support of four U.S. government agencies and five private foundations - formed an independent committee to examine the U.S. commitment to global health and to articulate a vision for future U.S. investments and activities in this area.

Book CoverVector-Borne Diseases--Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections, Workshop Summary (2008)
The Institute of Medicine's Forum on Microbial Threats convened a workshop--on June 19-20, 2007, in Ft. Collins, CO--entitled Vector-Borne Diseases: Understanding the Environmental, Human Health, and Ecological Connections. The purpose of this public workshop was to examine the global burden of vector-borne diseases of humans, animals, and plants, and to discuss prospects for successful mitigation and response strategies. Workshop participants explored the biological and ecological context of vector-borne diseases; their health and economic impacts; emerging domestic and global diseases; public, animal, and plant health preparedness; prevention, control, and therapeutic measures; scientific and technological advances; and integration strategies to address current and future threats.

Book CoverAnalysis of Global Change Assessments(2007)
Global change assessments inform decision makers about the scientific underpinnings of a range of environmental issues, such as climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, and loss of biodiversity. Dozens of assessments have been conducted to date by various U.S. and international groups, many of them influencing public policies, technology development, and research directions. This report analyzes strengths and weaknesses of eight past assessments to inform future efforts. Common elements of effective assessments include strong leadership, extensive engagement with interested and affected parties, a transparent science-policy interface, and well defined communication strategies. The report identifies 11 essential elements of effective assessments and recommends that future assessments include decision support tools that make use of information at the regional and local level where decisions are made.

Best Practices to Enhance the Transportation--Land Use Connection in the Rural United States (2007)
TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 582, Best Practices to Enhance the Transportation--Land Use Connection in the Rural United States explores how to integrate land use and transportation in rural communities. The report also highlights programs and investment strategies designed to support community development and livability while providing adequate transportation capacity.

Book CoverCitizen Engagement in Emergency Planning for a Flu Pandemic- A Summary of the October 23, 2006 Workshop of the Disasters Roundtable (2007)
Although human cases of avian influenza to date have been rare, there is growing concern that an influenza pandemic may arise from the mutation of avian influenza strains and subsequent transmission among humans. On October 23, 2006, the Disasters Roundtable of the National Academies in cooperation with the Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) convened a workshop on Citizen Engagement in Emergency Planning for a Flu Pandemic to explore the roles and needs of the citizenry in pandemic influenza preparedness planning. Panelists stressed the importance of citizen engagement in all stages of pandemic preparation and response. Topics of discussion included national and local preparedness, citizen education and cooperation, the importance of communication, and possible pandemic scenarios which highlighted key issues of citizen involvement. This report is a summary of that discussion.

Book CoverContributions of Land Remote Sensing for Decisions About Food Security and Human Health-Workshop Report (2007)
Land remote sensing-the use of space-based satellite technologies to obtain information on environmental variables such as land-use and land-covering combination with other types of data can provide information on changes in the Earth''s surface and atmosphere that are critical for forecasting and responding to human welfare issues, such as disease outbreaks, food shortages, and floods. This report summarizes a workshop on the potential contributions of remotely sensed data to land-use and land-cover change and ways to use physical, biological, temporal, and social characteristics of particular locations to support decisions about human welfare. The discussions focused on human health and food security, two aspects of human welfare in which remotely-sensed environmental conditions play a key role. Examples illustrating the possibilities for applying remote sensing for societal benefit are included throughout the report. 

Environmental Public Health Impacts of Disasters--Hurricane Katrina, Workshop Summary (2007)
On October 20 2005, the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine held a workshop entitled, Environmental Public Health Impacts of Disasters: Hurricane Katrina. The workshop brought together members of the scientific community to highlight the status of the recovery effort, consider the ongoing challenges in the midst of a disaster, look at the scientific issues involved, and be able to reassure the public with the best scientific information. The workshop provided an opportunity to explore some of the most pressing research and preparedness needs related to the health risks of Hurricane Katrina and also a chance to discuss the larger issues for scientific collaboration during a disaster of this magnitude. 

Global Environmental Health in the 21st Century--From Governmental Regulation to Corporate Social Responsibility--Workshop Summary (2007)
Global regulatory standards will always be a major driver in the field of environmental health, but there is a growing understanding of the value of voluntary standards to fill in gaps or to work in concert with formal regulations. The Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine held a workshop to examine some of the issues surrounding the impact international regulations and corporate social responsibility (CSR) has on environmental health. The workshop summary captures the dialogue on the challenges and advancement of non-regulatory mechanisms to address complex environmental exposures and opportunities to improve environmental health.

Green Healthcare Institutions--Health, Environment, and Economics, Workshop Summary (2007)
The Institute of Medicine''s Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine held a workshop and released the summary entitled, Green Healthcare Institutions-- Health, Environment, and Economics. The workshop focused on the environmental and health impacts related to the design, construction, and operation of healthcare facilities, which are part of one of the largest service industries in the United States. The workshop summary captures the discussions and presentations by the speakers and participants. They identified the areas in which additional research is needed, the processes by which change can occur, and the gaps in knowledge. 

Green Schools--Attributes for Health and Learning (2007)
Evidence has accumulated that shows that the quality of indoor environments can affect the health and productivity of adults and children. One consequence is that a movement has emerged to promote the design of schools that have fewer adverse environmental effects. To examine the potential of such design for improving education, several private organizations asked the NRC to review and assess the health and productivity benefits of green schools. This report provides an analysis of the complexity of making such a determination; and an assessment of the potential human health and performance benefits of improvements in the building envelope, indoor air quality, lighting, and acoustical quality, while also presenting an assessment of the overall building condition and student achievement, and offers an analysis of and recommendations for planning and maintaining green schools including research considerations.

Implementing the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants--Summary of a Workshop in China (2007)
This report summarizes a workshop organized as part of the Academies' workshop series on strengthening science-based decision-making in developing countries. The workshop, ''Implementing the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants'' was held June 7-10, 2004, in Beijing, China. The presentations and discussions summarized here describe the types of scientific information necessary to make informed decisions to eliminate the production and use of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) banned under the Stockholm Convention; sources of information; scientifically informed strategies for eliminating POPs; elements of good scientific advice, such as transparency, peer review, and disclosure of conflicts of interest; and information dealing with POPs that decision makers need from the scientific community, including next steps to make such science available and ensure its use on a continuing basis. This workshop was organized by the Science and Technology for Sustainability Program of the Academies' Office of Policy and Global Affairs. 

Improving Disaster Management: The Role of IT in Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery (2007)
Information technology (IT) has the potential to play a critical role in managing natural and human made disasters. Damage to communications infrastructure, along with other communications problems exacerbated the difficulties in carrying out response and recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina. To assist government planning in this area, the Congress, in the E-government Act of 2002, directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to request the NRC to conduct a study on the application of IT to disaster management. This report characterizes disaster management providing a framework for considering the range and nature of information and communication needs; presents a vision of the potential for IT to improve disaster management; provides an analysis of structural, organizational, and other non-technical barriers to the acquisition, adoption, and effective use of IT in disaster; and offers an outline of a research program aimed at strengthening IT-enabled capabilities for disaster management. 

Models in Environmental Regulatory Decision Making (2007)
Many regulations issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, are based on the results of computer models. Models help the EPA explain environmental phenomena in settings where direct observations are limited or unavailable, and anticipate the effects of agency policies on the environment, human health and the economy. Given the critical role played by models, the EPA asked the National Research Council to assess scientific issues related to the agency's selection and use of models in its decisions. The report recommends a series of guidelines and principles for improving agency models and decision-making processes. The centerpiece of the report's recommended vision is a life-cycle approach to model evaluation which includes peer review, corroboration of results, and other activities. This will enhance the agency''s ability to respond to requirements from a 2001 law on information quality and improve policy development and implementation.

PEPFAR Implementation: Progress and Promise (2007)
In 2003 Congress passed the United States Leadership against HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act, which established a five-year, 15 billion dollar initiative to help countries around the world respond to their AIDS epidemics. The initiative is generally referred to by the title of the five-year strategy required by the act, PEPFAR, or the President''s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. A requirement of the act which established PEPFAR was that the Institute of Medicine, IOM, provide Congress with an evaluation of the initiative's progress three years after the passage of the Leadership Act. In response, the IOM Committee for the Evaluation of PEPFAR Implementation examined the initiative, including visits to most of the fifteen PEPFAR focus countries. Overall, the Committee concludes that PEPFAR has made a promising start, but it warns that there is an enduring need for U.S. leadership in the effort to respond to the HIV-AIDS pandemic. This report details the Committee''s recommendations for PEPFAR.

Putting People on the Map- Protecting Confidentiality with Linked Social-Spatial Data (2007)
Precise, accurate spatial data may revolutionize some fields of social science by opening new questions for investigation and, by linking to social and behavioral data, improving understanding of human behavior in its environmental context. Norms of science and government favor open access to all scientific data. However, sharing precise spatial data increases the risk that human research participants, who have provided some information under a promise of confidentiality, could be identified by a secondary data user who would thus break the promise. Several technical approaches to reducing the risk of identification have potential, but none yet adequately resolves conflicts among the objectives of data linkage, quality, access, and confidentiality protection. The report concludes that institutional approaches, involving establishing tiers of risk and access, will be required to balance these objectives. It offers recommendations for education, training, research, and practice to researchers, professional societies, federal agencies, institutional review boards, and data stewards.

Review of the U.S. Climate Science Program's Synthesis and Assessment Product 5.2: Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating, and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making (2007)
This report reviews the U.S. Climate Change Science Programs new draft assessment product on characterizing and communicating uncertainty information for climate change decision making, one of 21 climate change assessment products that the program is developing to meet the requirements of the 1990 Global Change Research Act. Although the draft assessment is effective in discussing methods of characterizing uncertainty, it falls short in several ways. It is written for researchers involved in assessment efforts and will likely be of use to them, but does not address other key audiences, particularly policymakers, decision-makers, and members of the media and general public. In addition, it does not assess the full range of "best practice approaches" for characterizing, incorporating, and communicating uncertainty. These weaknesses were due in part to a change in the prospectus after the process had begun to include new target audiences and a different scope of work. 

Science and Technology in Kazakhstan: Current Status and Future Prospects (2007)
Kazakhstan has an ambitious program to increase its technological competitiveness in the global market place during the next few years, but achieving success will depend in large measure on the effectiveness of upgraded science and technology capabilities. This report identifies important opportunities and limitations in the education system, research and development institutions, production companies, and service organizations to help governmental organizations in Kazakhstan with strong interests in science and technology chart the future course of the country.

Sustainable Management of Groundwater in Mexico: Proceedings of a Workshop, Series--Strengthening Science-Based Decision Making in Developing Countries (2007)
This report contains a collection of papers presented at a workshop in Merida, Mexico--Strengthening Science-Based Decision Making: Sustainable Management of Groundwater in Mexico. The cross-cutting themes of the workshop were the elements or principles of science-based decision making and the role of the scientific community in ensuring that science is an integral part of the decision making process. Papers included in this volume describe the groundwater resources of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, approaches to managing groundwater in Mexico and governmental and scientific institutions concerned with water resources. Other papers discuss US approaches to managing scarce water resources. Participants in the workshop included representatives from leading scientific and academic institutions, federal state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and businesses.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization, Present and Future (2007)
TRB's Conference Proceedings 39: The Metropolitan Planning Organization, Present and Future summarizes an August 2006 conference that explored the organizational structure of metropolitan planning organizations, MPOs, the current state of the practice for regional decision making among MPOs of various sizes, and approaches to integrating a wide array of additional considerations into the MPO planning process. The conference also examined approaches to institutionalizing an integrated approach to comprehensive planning, and development of relationships with local decision-making bodies within the MPO region. The conference proceeding includes summaries of the presentations made in each conference session, as well as a summary of the participants'  discussions in the final breakout sessions, focused on research and capacity building.

Book CoverThe New Science of Metagenomics: Revealing the Secrets of Our Microbial Planet(2007)
Although we can't usually see them, microbes are essential for every part of human life-indeed all life on Earth. The emerging field of metagenomics offers a new way of exploring the microbial world that will transform modern microbiology and lead to practical applications in medicine, agriculture, alternative energy, environmental remediation, and many others areas. Metagenomics allows researchers to look at the genomes of all of the microbes in an environment at once, providing a meta view of the whole microbial community and the complex interactions within it. It's a quantum leap beyond traditional research techniques that rely on studying, one at a time, the few microbes that can be grown in the laboratory. At the request of the National Science Foundation, five Institutes of the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Energy, the National Research Council organized a committee to address the current state of metagenomics and identify obstacles current researchers are facing in order to determine how to best support the field and encourage its success. The report recommends the establishment of a ''Global Metagenomics Initiative'' comprising a small number of large-scale metagenomics projects as well as many medium- and small-scale projects to advance the technology and develop the standard practices needed to advance the field. 

Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises (2007)
Worldwide, millions of people are displaced annually because of natural or industrial disasters or social upheaval. Reliable data on the numbers, characteristics, and locations of these populations can bolster humanitarian relief efforts and recovery programs. Using sound methods for estimating population numbers and characteristics is important for both industrialized and developing nations. Ensuring that the data are geographically referenced for projection onto maps is essential. However, good data alone are insufficient. Adequate staff training and strong organizational and political desire to maintain and use the information are also required. Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises, reviews the main methods and tools for making estimates of subnational populations and makes several recommendations to improve the collection and the use of population data for emergency response and development. 

Addressing Foodborne Threats to Health: Policies, Practices, and Global Coordination, Workshop Summary (2006)
Foodborne agents have been estimated to cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,200 deaths in the United States each year. More than 250 different foodborne diseases, including both infections and poisonings, have been described, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates costs associated with medical expenses and losses in productivity due to missed work and premature deaths from five major types of foodborne illnesses at 6.9 billion dollars annually. This figure likely represents the tip of the iceberg, since it does not account for the broad spectrum of foodborne illnesses or for their wide-ranging repercussions for consumers, government, and the food industry. In order to examine issues critical to the protection of the nation''''s food supply, the Institute of Medicine''''s Forum on Microbial Threats hosted a public workshop on October 25 and 26, 2005, in Washington, DC to explore existing knowledge and unanswered questions on the nature and extent of foodborne threats to health. This report is a summary of that workshop. 


Aging in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recommendations for Furthering Research (2006)
This report adds to the empirical and conceptual knowledge of the situation of older people in sub-Saharan Africa and makes practical suggestions for further research in this area. The report is based on a workshop organized by the Committee on Population in collaboration with the Health and Population Division, School of Public Health, University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Human Biomonitoring for Environmental Chemicals (2006)
Biomonitoring is a method for measuring amounts of toxic chemicals in human tissues and is a valuable tool for studying potentially harmful environmental chemicals. Biomonitoring data have been used to confirm exposures to chemicals and validate public health policies. For example, population biomonitoring data showing high blood lead concentrations resulted in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s regulatory reduction of lead in gasoline; biomonitoring data confirmed a resultant drop in blood lead concentrations. Despite recent advances, the science needed to understand the implications of the biomonitoring data for human health is still in its nascent stages. Use of the data also raises communication and ethical challenges. In response to a congressional request, EPA asked the National Research Council to address those challenges in an independent study. Human Biomonitoring for Environmental Chemicals provides a framework for improving the use of biomonitoring data including developing and using biomarkers (measures of exposure), research to improve the interpretation of data, ways to communicate findings to the public, and a review of ethical issues. 

Review and Assessment of the Health and Productivity Benefits of Green Schools: An Interim Report (2006)
Some educational professionals have suggested that so-called green schools would result in superior performance and increased health for students and teachers. While there is no commonly accepted definition of a green school, there are a number of attributes that such schools appear to have: low cost operations, security, healthy and comfortable, and an environment that enhances learning are among them. To determine the health and productivity benefits of green schools, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the Barr and Kendall Foundations, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, and the U.S. Green Building Council asked the NRC to examine available studies about the effects of green schools on student learning and teacher productivity. This interim report presents an evaluation of evidence for relationships between various health, learning, and productivity outcomes and five characteristics of green schools: the building envelope, ventilation, lighting, acoustics, and condition. The final report will present evaluations for additional characteristics, a synthesis of the results of all assessments, and promising areas of research. 

Public Health Risks of Disasters: Communication, Infrastructure, and Preparedness (2005)
The workshop, summarized in this report, considered issues related to health risks of disasters. To explore the capacity needs for addressing health risk during disasters, the speakers, participants, and Roundtable members considered how the United States will rise to meet these challenges and what research and training priorities for communication, infrastructure, and preparedness were needed to strengthen its response to health-related risks. The workshop highlighted many improvements made in the nation''s risk communication strategies, and its enhanced capabilities to acquire, store, and distribute pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to the public since September 11th. However, workshop participants stressed the importance of addressing the gaps and shortfalls in current emergency management policies. 

Rebuilding the Unity of Health and the Environment: The Greater Houston Metropolitan Area (2005)
The Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine held a workshop in June 2000. This report is a summary of that workshop. The goal of this workshop was to emphasize the connection between human health and the natural, built, and social environments. Many believe that a new vision is needed because the infrastructure for linking environmental and public health is not working as well as it should. The summary reports presentations by invited experts on the relationships between human health and the environment as defined in various ways.

Eliminating Health Disparities: Measurement and Data Needs (2004)
Disparities in health and health care across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds in the United States are well documented. The reasons for these disparities are, however, not well understood. Current data available on race, ethnicity, SEP, and accumulation and language use are severely limited. The report examines data collection and reporting systems relating to the collection of data on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic position and offers recommendations.

Environmental Health Indicators: Bridging the Chasm of Public Health and the Environment (2004)
The Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine convened a workshop on Environmental Health Indicators: Bridging the Chasm of Public Health and the Environment as an opportunity to discuss current efforts by industry, private, global, and U.S. federal and state governments. The goal of the workshop was to look into monitoring systems of other nations; to consider the need for a national environmental health monitoring system; to foster a dialogue on the steps for establishing a nationwide monitoring system; and to explore how a national system will fit into current exposure and disease monitoring programs. This report provides a summary of the workshop discussions.

Health and Medicine: Challenges for the Chemical Sciences in the 21st Century (2004)
The report assesses the current state of chemistry and chemical engineering within the context of drug discovery, disease diagnosis, and disease prevention. Also addressed are chemical and chemical engineering challenges in pharmaceutical synthesis, delivery, and manufacture.

Urbanization, Energy, and Air Pollution in China (2004)
In October 2003, a group of experts met in Beijing under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Engineering, and National Academy of Engineering (NAE) / National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies to continue a dialogue and eventually chart a rational course of energy use in China. This collection of papers is intended to introduce the reader to the complicated problems of urban air pollution and energy choices in China. 

Cities Transformed: Demographic Change and Its Implications in the Developing World (2003)
Virtually all of the growth in the world s population for the foreseeable future will take place in the cities and towns of the developing world. Over the next twenty years, most developing countries will for the first time become more urban than rural. The benefits from urbanization cannot be overlooked, but the speed and sheer scale of this transformation present many challenges. A new cast of policy makers is emerging to take up the many responsibilities of urban governance as many national governments decentralize and devolve their functions, programs in poverty, health, education, and public services are increasingly being deposited in the hands of untested municipal and regional governments. Demographers have been surprisingly slow to devote attention to the implications of the urban transformation.

GIS for Housing and Urban Development (2003)
The report describes potential applications of geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analysis by HUD s Office of Policy Development and Research for understanding housing needs, addressing broader issues of urban poverty and community development, and improving access to information and services by the many users of HUD s data. It offers a vision of HUD as an important player in providing urban data to federal initiatives towards a spatial data infrastructure for the nation.

Microbial Threats to Health: Emergence, Detection, and Response (2003)
Infectious diseases are a global hazard that puts every nation and every person at risk. The recent SARS outbreak is a prime example. Knowing neither geographic nor political borders, often arriving silently and lethally, microbial pathogens constitute a grave threat to the health of humans. Indeed, a majority of countries recently identified the spread of infectious disease as the greatest global problem they confront. Throughout history, humans have struggled to control both the causes and consequences of infectious diseases and we will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. Following up on a high-profile 1992 report from the Institute of Medicine, Microbial Threats to Health examines the current state of knowledge and policy pertaining to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases from around the globe. It examines the spectrum of microbial threats, factors in disease emergence, and the ultimate capacity of the United States to meet the challenges posed by microbial threats to human health. From the impact of war or technology on disease emergence to the development of enhanced disease surveillance and vaccine strategies, Microbial Threats to Health contains valuable information for researchers, students, health care providers, policymakers, public health officials. and the interested public.

The Resistance Phenomenon in Microbes and Infectious Disease Vectors: Implications for Human Health and Strategies for Containment- Workshop Summary (2003)
The resistance topic is timely given current events. The emergence of mysterious new diseases, such as SARS, and the looming threat of bioterrorist attacks remind us of how vulnerable we can be to infectious agents. With advances in medical technologies, we have tamed many former microbial foes, yet with few new antimicrobial agents and vaccines in the pipeline, and rapidly increasing drug resistance among infectious microbes, we teeter on the brink of loosing the upperhand in our ongoing struggle against these foes, old and new. The Resistance Phenomenon in Microbes and Infectious Disease Vectors examines our understanding of the relationships among microbes, disease vectors, and human hosts, and explores possible new strategies for meeting the challenge of resistance.

Considerations for Viral Disease Eradication: Lessons Learned and Future Strategies (2002)
Since smallpox eradication, the science of eradication has changed and with it, our definitions of what diseases are possible to eradicate. However, eradication must not beget complacency. As has been learned from past control or eradication attempts with a variety of viral diseases, from yellow fever to influenza, accidental or intentional reintroduction is a real threat -- one that could strike anywhere and for which we need to be fully prepared. The criteria for assessing eradicability of polio, measles, and other viral infections have been debated extensively. With the elimination and eradication of several viral diseases on the horizon, issues surrounding the cessation of immunization activities become exceedingly important. In an effort to better understand the dynamics of disease eradication and post--immunization policies, the Institute of Medicine Forum on Emerging Infections hosted a two-day workshop (February 1--2, 2001) on The Consequences of Viral Disease Eradication. This book explores the principles underlying the biological challenges, medical interventions, the continuing research agenda, and operational considerations for post--immunization strategies for vaccine--preventable viral diseases, and highlights important efforts that may facilitate wise decision making.

Down to Earth: Geographical Information for Sustainable Development in Africa (2002)
In 1992, world leaders adopted Agenda 21, the work program of the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development. This landmark event provided a political foundation and action items to facilitate the global transition toward sustainable development. The international community marked the tenth anniversary of this conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2002. Down to Earth, a component of the U.S. State Department''s Geographic Information for Sustainable Development project for the World Summit, focuses on sub-Saharan Africa with examples drawn from case-study regions where the U.S. Agency for International Development and other agencies have broad experience. Although African countries are the geographic focus of the study, the report has broader applicability. Down to Earth summarizes the importance and applicability of geographic data for sustainable development and draws on experiences in African countries to examine how future sources and applications of geographic data could provide reliable support to decision-makers as they work towards sustainable development. The committee emphasizes the potential of new technologies, such as satellite remote-sensing systems and geographic information systems, that have revolutionized data collection and analysis over the last decade.

Estimating the Health-Risk-Reduction Benefits of Proposed Air Pollution Regulations (2002)
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that thousands of premature deaths and numerous cases of illness, such as chronic bronchitis and asthma attacks, could be prevented by reducing exposure to air pollution. In response to the EPA's request, the National Research Committee (NRC) convened the Committee on Estimating the Health-Risk-Reduction Benefits of Proposed Air Pollution Regulations.

The Drama of the Commons (2002)
The tragedy of the commons is a central concept in human ecology and the study of the environment. It has had tremendous value for stimulating research, but it only describes the reality of human-environment interactions in special situations. Research over the past thirty years has helped clarify how human motivations, rules governing access to resources, the structure of social organizations, and the resource systems themselves interact to determine whether or not the many dramas of the commons end happily. In this book, leaders in the field review the evidence from several disciplines and many lines of research and present a state-of-the-art assessment. They summarize lessons learned and identify the major challenges facing any system of governance for resource management. They also highlight the major challenges for the next decade: making knowledge development more systematic; understanding institutions dynamically; considering a broader range of resources (such as global and technological commons); and taking into account the effects of social and historical context. 

Growing Populations, Changing Landscapes: Studies from India, China, and the United States (2001)
As the world's population exceeds an incredible 6 billion people, governments and scientists everywhere are concerned about the prospects for sustainable development. The science academies of the three most populous countries have joined forces in an unprecedented effort to understand the linkage between population growth and land-use change, and its implications for the future. By examining six sites ranging from agricultural to intensely urban to areas in transition, the multinational study panel asks how population growth and consumption directly cause land-use change, and explore the general nature of the forces driving the transformations. Growing Populations, Changing Landscapes explains how disparate government policies with unintended consequences and globalization effects that link local land-use changes to consumption patterns and labor policies in distant countries can be far more influential than simple numerical population increases. Recognizing the importance of these linkages can be a significant step toward more effective environmental management.

Rebuilding the Unity of Health and the Environment: A New Vision of Environmental Health for the 21st Century (2001)
Responsible leadership requires that policy makers, health professionals, industry representatives, and the general public all carry an expanded and enhanced vision of environmental health forward into the 21st century. New approaches toward building environments that actively improve health will be required, including strategies to deal with waste, unhealthy buildings, urban congestion, suburban sprawl, poor housing, poor nutrition, and environment related stress. The involvement and leadership of individuals from many different sectors of society is needed to address environmental health concerns in their local communities. Environmental health has become narrowly focused and defined around regulations and debates about the impacts on economic growth and legal processes that promote harmful divisiveness or conflict. As a result, the perspective of human and ecosystem health is often lost when attempting to achieve a specific regulation. This workshop tryed to overcome the difficulties hindering the environmental health arena by creating new partnerships and developing new ideas to combat such problems.

Under the Weather: Climate, Ecosystems, and Infectious Disease (2001)
Since the dawn of medical science, people have recognized connections between a change in the weather and the appearance of epidemic disease. With today's technology, some hope that it will be possible to build models for predicting the emergence and spread of many infectious diseases based on climate and weather forecasts. However, separating the effects of climate from other effects presents a tremendous scientific challenge. This report evaluates our current understanding of the linkages among climate, ecosystems, and infectious disease; it then goes a step further and outlines the research needed to improve our understanding of these linkages. The book also examines the potential for using climate forecasts and ecological observations to help predict infectious disease outbreaks, identifies the necessary components for an epidemic early warning system, and reviews lessons learned from the use of climate forecasts in other realms of human activity.

Beyond Six Billion: Forecasting the World's Population (2000)
Is rapid world population growth actually coming to an end? As population growth and its consequences have become front-page issues, projections of slowing growth from such institutions as the United Nations and the World Bank have been called into question. This report asks what such projections really say, why they say it, whether they can be trusted, and whether they can be improved. The book includes analysis of how well past UN and World Bank projections have panned out, what errors have occurred, and why they have happened. Focusing on fertility as one key to accurate projections, the committee examines the transition from high, constant fertility to low fertility levels and discusses whether developing countries will eventually attain the very low levels of births now observed in the industrialized world. Beyond Six Billion illuminates not only the forces that shape population growth but also the accuracy of the methods we use to quantify these forces and the uncertainty surrounding projections.

Waste Incineration and Public Health (2000)
Incineration has been used widely for waste disposal, including household, hazardous, and medical waste, but there is increasing public concern over the benefits of combusting the waste versus the health risk from pollutants emitted during combustion. Waste Incineration and Public Health informs the emerging debate with the most up-to-date information available on incineration, pollution, and human health - along with expert conclusions and recommendations for further research and improvement of such areas as risk communication. The committee provides details on processes involved in incineration and how contaminants are released, environmental dynamics of contaminants and routes of human exposure, tools and approaches for assessing possible human health effects, scientific concerns pertinent to future regulatory actions. The book also examines some of the social, psychological, and economic factors that affect the communities where incineration takes place and addresses the problem of uncertainty and variation in predicting the health effects of incineration processes.