UM Faculty Accepted to Institute of Medicine

The Institute of Medicine, a nonprofit organization within the National Academy of Sciences that works to provide unbiased and authoritative advice on medical and health care issues, elected 70 new members this week, three of which are from the University of Michigan! Congratulations are in order for:

According to the Michigan Daily, Dr. Woolliscroft is looking forward to contributing to research and reporting on sub-committees related to health and safety. In the same article, he described the honor:

“Success is built on what people are willing to invest in you over the course of your career,” he said. “Now I see this as an opportunity to invest myself in others as people have done for me.”

There have been 53 UM representatives at the IOM over the years. Each member was elected by current members, then approved by a board based on their research and willingness to participate. There are currently 2,000 members who volunteer to act as advisers on the nations health care issues.


Institute of Medicine Webinar: Health & Global Climate Change

"Globe" by Nick Wheeler 2008 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Globe” by Nick Wheeler 2008 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The second in a series of webinars from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM),  this webinar will focus on Health in the Context of Global Climate Change.

When: From 2:30pm – 4:00pm Eastern Time on Thursday, June 27.

From the IOM’s Roundatble on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine, the webinar series aims to bring together audiences form academia, government, professional societies, and public health students. This one in particular will be a venue to:

  • Provide an overview of the set of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways being developed to aid in the modeling and analysis of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Discuss key narrative elements that can be utilized to describe health in the context of changing global climate change.
  • Identify mechanisms for developing and disseminating these climate change scenarios.
Learn more about the discussion here, and register for the webinar here.

Shorter Lives, Poorer Health in the US: New IOM report

From the National Academies Press:

The United States is among the wealthiest nations in the world, but it is far from the healthiest. Although life expectancy and survival rates in the United States have improved dramatically over the past century, Americans live shorter lives and experience more injuries and illnesses than people in other high-income countries. The U.S. health disadvantage cannot be attributed solely to the adverse health status of racial or ethnic minorities or poor people: even highly advantaged Americans are in worse health than their counterparts in other, “peer” countries.

In light of the new and growing evidence about the U.S. health disadvantage, the National Institutes of Health asked the National Research Council (NRC) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to convene a panel of experts to study the issue. The Panel on Understanding Cross-National Health Differences Among High-Income Countries examined whether the U.S. health disadvantage exists across the life span, considered potential explanations, and assessed the larger implications of the findings.

U.S. Health in International Perspective presents detailed evidence on the issue, explores the possible explanations for the shorter and less healthy lives of Americans than those of people in comparable countries, and recommends actions by both government and nongovernment agencies and organizations to address the U.S. health disadvantage.

Read the Prepublication PDF at the NAP web site.  Read the New York Times story here.

Interested in the health and environmental costs of food?

A prepublication edition of Exploring Health and Environmental Costs of Food: Workshop Summary is now available from the National Academies Press.

The U.S. food system provides many benefits, not the least of which is a safe, nutritious and consistent food supply. However, the same system also creates significant environmental, public health, and other costs that generally are not recognized and not accounted for in the retail price of food. These include greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, soil erosion, air pollution, and their environmental consequences, the transfer of antibiotic resistance from food animals to human, and other human health outcomes, including foodborne illnesses and chronic disease. Some external costs which are also known as externalities are accounted for in ways that do not involve increasing the price of food. But many are not. They are borne involuntarily by society at large. A better understanding of external costs would help decision makers at all stages of the life cycle to expand the benefits of the U.S. food system even further. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened a public workshop on April 23-23, 2012, to explore the external costs of food, methodologies for quantifying those costs, and the limitations of the methodologies.

Exploring Health and Environmental Costs of Food: Workshop Summary provides the basis for a follow-up planning discussion involving members of the IOM Food and Nutrition Board and the NRC Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources and others to develop the scope and areas of expertise needed for a larger-scale, consensus study of the subject.

Read a free PDF or order a copy on the NAP web site.

For the Public’s Health: Investing in a Healthier Future

Just released by the National Academies Press:

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to examine three topics in relation to public health: measurement, the law, and funding. IOM prepared a three report series–one report on each topic–that contains actionable recommendations for public health agencies and other stakeholders with roles in the health of the U.S. population.

For the Public’s Health: Investing in a Healthier Future, the final book in the series, assesses the financial challenges facing the governmental public health infrastructure. The book provides recommendations about what is needed for stable and sustainable funding, and for its optimal use by public health agencies.

Building on the other two volumes in the series, this book makes the argument that adequate and sustainable funding for public health is necessary to enable public health departments across the country to inform and mobilize action on the determinants of health, to play other key roles in protecting and promoting health, and to prepare for a range of potential threats to population health.

The final book in the For the Public’s Health series will be useful to federal, state, and local governments; public health agencies; clinical care organizations; and community-based organizations.

Read more and download the PDF free of charge here.

Crisis standards of care – Disaster response

Just out from the National Academies Press is Crisis Standards of Care: A Systems Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response.

Catastrophic disasters occurring in 2011 in the United States and worldwide–from the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, to the earthquake in New Zealand–have demonstrated that even prepared communities can be overwhelmed. In 2009, at the height of the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to convene a committee of experts to develop national guidance for use by state and local public health officials and health-sector agencies and institutions in establishing and implementing standards of care that should apply in disaster situations-both naturally occurring and man-made-under conditions of scarce resources.

Building on the work of phase one (which is described in IOM’s 2009 letter report, Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations), the committee developed detailed templates enumerating the functions and tasks of the key stakeholder groups involved in crisis standards of care (CSC) planning, implementation, and public engagement-state and local governments, emergency medical services (EMS), hospitals and acute care facilities, and out-of-hospital and alternate care systems. Crisis Standards of Care provides a framework for a systems approach to the development and implementation of CSC plans, and addresses the legal issues and the ethical, palliative care, and mental health issues that agencies and organizations at each level of a disaster response should address. Please note: this report is not intended to be a detailed guide to emergency preparedness or disaster response. What is described in this report is an extrapolation of existing incident management practices and principles.

Obesity fight must shift from personal blame: U.S. panel

Reposted from Reuters:

Obesity fight must shift from personal blame: U.S. panel

America’s obesity epidemic is so deeply rooted that it will take dramatic and systemic measures – from overhauling farm policies and zoning laws to, possibly, introducing a soda tax – to fix it, the influential Institute of Medicine said on Tuesday.

In an ambitious 478-page report, the IOM refutes the idea that obesity is largely the result of a lack of willpower on the part of individuals. Instead, it embraces policy proposals that have met with stiff resistance from the food industry and lawmakers, arguing that multiple strategies will be needed to make the U.S. environment less “obesogenic.”

The IOM, part of the National Academies, offers advice to the government and others on health issues. Its report was released at the Weight of the Nation conference, a three-day meeting hosted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cable channel HBO will air a documentary of the same name next week.

“People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese,” committee member Shiriki Kumanyika of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine told Reuters. “That advice will never be out of date. But when you see the increase in obesity you ask, what changed? And the answer is, the environment. The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment.”

A study funded by the CDC and released on Monday projected that by 2030, 42 percent of American adults will be obese, compared to 34 percent today and 11 percent will be severely obese, compared to 6 percent today…

Read the full story here.

Read the IOM report, Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation.

Health Datapalooza June 5-6

The Health Data Initiative Forum III: The Health Datapalooza will be held June 5 and 6, 2012, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The event brings together a diverse group of data experts, technology developers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, health care system leaders, and community advocates to support innovative applications of health and health care data.

To learn more, click here.

IOM Report: Integrating Primary Care and Public Health

Public health is what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions  in which people can be healthy. It takes a society to practice public health  Healthy People 2010, 2nd ed., With Understanding and Improving Health and Objectives for Improving Health. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2001.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently published a report that examines the integration of primary care and public health, Primary Care and Public Health: Exploring Integration to Improve Population Health.

In the report, the IOM identifies a set of core principles derived from successful integration efforts that can be applied at the local level:

  1. having a common goal of improving population health
  2. involv­ing the community in defining and addressing its needs
  3. strong leadership that works to bridge disciplines, programs, and jurisdictions
  4. sustainability
  5. collaborative use of data and analysis.

Read the report