Science, Engineering & Medicine - Working Toward a Better World
International Activities of the U.S. National Academies

Activities by topic:

bullet against gray Global Challenges
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Capacity Building
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Scientific Cooperation 
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Advising the U.S. Government

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Home - How we work

How we work

Operating under a congressional charter, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and National Academy of Medicine (NAM) —collectively the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine —are private, nonprofit institutions that advise the federal government and public on matters of science, technology, and health by establishing committees of experts to address critical technical and policy issues.

The Academies promote the use of science, engineering, and medicine to enhance the security and well-being of people throughout the world and to ease disparities in human welfare. To accomplish this, we cooperate with partner organizations and scientific communities internationally. We also work to increase the capacity of both individual national academies and regional and global networks of academies to provide evidence-based advice to their governments, policy makers, and the public, thus strengthening and shaping policy and programs worldwide.

Priorities for the Academies' international work include:

Furthering Sustainable Development
- Energy and the environment
- Water resources
- Food security
- Mitigating and adapting to climate change
- Protecting biodiversity

Enhancing Global Security
- Emerging infectious diseases
- Health surveillance
- Health care quality
- Containing the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons
- Preventing and recovering from conflict
- Averting and responding to natural and man-made disasters

Building Human and Institutional Capital
- Enhancing the capacity of academies to provide policy advice
- Strengthening education systems
- Improving public access to scientific, technical, and health information
- Supporting ethical systems and public-service mechanisms
- Defending human rights of scientists, engineers, and health professionals
- Fostering international links among young scientists 

The Foreign Secretaries

Foreign Secretaries, elected by the membership of NAS, NAE, and NAM, serve as official representatives of each institution to counterpart science academies and other international organizations. They provide leadership and coordination on international programs and help draw on the full range of capabilities of program units in developing international activities.

Ruth A. David, Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Engineering
Former President and Chief Executive Officer
ANSER (Analytic Services Inc.)

Margaret A. Hamburg, Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Medicine
Former Commissioner
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

John Hildebrand, Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Sciences
Regents Professor
Department of Neuroscience
The University of Arizona

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