Honoring Our Volunteers

Every year, over 7,000 dedicated individuals serve without compensation on study and oversight committees or as reviewers of NASEM reports. Many are members of the NAM, National Academy of Sciences, or National Academy of Engineering, and many are not. Their service is valued, honored, and appreciated both within our organization and by the nation. The National Associates program, established in 2001, exists to formally recognize the NASEM’s most dedicated volunteers for their outstanding contributions. Tributes to National Associates will be added to this page throughout 2020.

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Jack Ebeler, MPA, serves on the Division Committee for the NASEM’s Health and Medicine Division and contributed to the development of the NAM’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. He has been an active volunteer in the work of the IOM/NAM for more than 20 years, including service on the Board on Health Care Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows Board. Mr. Ebeler was a member of several IOM consensus study committees, including as chair of the report on Opportunities for Coordination and Clarity to Advance the National Health Information Agenda. Thank you for your service! 

Steven Teutsch has been a volunteer at The Academies since 2008. During his time he has served as a member of many consensus panels, including as chair of many of them. He also participated in multiple roundtables, chaired a grant review committee, gave countless presentations, and authored many “perspectives.” Throughout his time as a volunteer, Teutsch has contributed to many programs and projects, but the one that gives him the greatest feelings of pride is the Committee on Public Health Strategies to Improve Health. On that committee, he served as Vice Chair and the group produced three consensus reports that addressed major components of an effective public health system and have informed numerous related activities. Teutsch currently serves on the Board of Population Health and Public Health Practice.

Sharon Terry volunteers with The Academies because she takes seriously the contribution she can make on studies, forums, and roundtables as a representative of many individuals who suffer from disease each day but do not have access to the information and resources she does. As a volunteer she has been involved with numerous activities including co-founding the Roundtable on Genomics and Precision Medicine as well as the Forum on Regenerative Medicine. Additionally, Terry has participated as a planner or committee member for approximately two dozen studies and workshops. She is especially proud of her work on the Committee on the Use of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research and the Committee on Human Gene Editing: Scientific, Medical and Ethical Considerations. Terry has been a volunteer since 2007 and is a National Associate.

Fergus Clydesdale began volunteering with the Institute of Medicine in 1974 when he was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences – National Research Council General Committee on the DOD Food Program. Clydesdale continued volunteering with The Academies because of the important work being done and its influence on health decisions domestically and globally. It also provided him an opportunity to work with the best and brightest staff and volunteers. He is most proud of his service on the Food and Nutrition Board especially for his involvement with setting recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) as well as developing systems for evaluating compounds which might be considered for the RDA process.

Sheila Davis volunteered with the Institute of Medicine from 2000 to 2003. She served on the Committee on the Consequences of Uninsurance which focused on addressing the number of people in America who did not have health insurance. The committee produced five books and accompanying executive summaries. Davis is especially proud of the presentation she gave to the National Press Club and Senator Robert Dole on the committee’s findings about the plight of those who were uninsured. Davis said, “Being at the table with policy makers, corporations, and representatives from diverse sectors of health care and knowing that my opinions and expertise were sought in crafting national policy was extremely gratifying.”

Elisabeth Belmont has served as a volunteer with the National Academies since 2011. She has served on several consensus study committees and boards, and currently is a member of the Division Committee of the Health and Medicine Division. As a child of a physician, dinner table discussions of the complex policy framework that addresses access, cost and quality of care influenced Elisabeth’s decision to concentrate her law practice on health care. She appreciates the opportunity to give back to the health care community by sharing her legal expertise to help devise solutions to achieve policy goals within the heavily regulated health care industry. Elisabeth considers her service on the Improving Diagnosis in Health Care consensus study committee and subsequent implementation workshop as her most meaningful contribution as a volunteer. She commented, “I believe that the report recommendations have served as a catalyst for improvements in the diagnostic process across the country.”

Ruth Parker first began volunteering with the Academies in 2002 when she served on the Committee on Health Literacy and authored Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. The report made clear that efforts to improve the quality of medical care, reduce costs, and decrease disparities required health literacy – it also set forth an aggressive agenda of recommendations for research and policy. Ruth said, “I look back at that 2004 report and see it as significantly impacting both the grounding and trajectory of the field of health literacy. I have read it now a few times, and seeing the work we did continues to make me smile.” Several projects make Ruth “most proud” including her work on The Abortion Report, Vital Directions and her current work as Vice Chair of the ad hoc committee on Clinical Utility of Treating Patients with Compounded “Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy”. Ruth chooses to volunteer with the National Academies because she finds it stimulating, challenging, and helpful. She also appreciates the collaborative structure of my engagements and that her time volunteering has enhanced my own work to address and improve health and healthcare.


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