Browse all health-related publications released by the National Academies in April 2017 below. To receive updates from the NAM, please subscribe to our mailing list.

Reports document the evidence-based consensus of an authoring committee of experts. Proceedings chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other convening event. Perspectives are individually-authored expert commentaries and discussion papers from leading voices in health and health care.

Health Communication with Immigrants, Refugees, and Migrant Workers

June 2, 2017 | NASEM Proceedings of a Workshop in Brief

The Roundtable on Health Literacy of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop focused on facilitating health communication with people from immigrant, refugee, and migrant worker populations. Bernard Rosof, chief executive officer of Quality in HealthCare Advisory Group, noted in his opening remarks that the increasingly diverse ethnic composition of the U.S. population requires that public health and health care organizations deliver services  differently. He went on to explain that to achieve the aim of providing care that is equitable and does not vary in quality because of personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, language, or socioeconomic status, it is important that health literacy approaches be used to align system demands with individual skills and abilities. The workshop was organized to explore the application of health literacy insights to the issues and challenges associated with addressing the health of immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers. Presentations and panel discussions explored issues of access and services for these populations as well as outreach and action.

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Driving Action and Progress on Obesity Prevention and Treatment

June 5, 2017 | NASEM Proceedings of a Workshop

After decades of increases in the obesity rate among U.S. adults and children, the rate has recently dropped among some populations, particularly young children. What are the factors responsible for these changes? How can promising trends be accelerated? What else needs to be known to end the epidemic of obesity in the United States? To examine these and other pressing questions, the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions, which is part of the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, held a workshop in Washington, DC, on September 27, 2016, titled “Driving Action and Progress on Obesity Prevention and Treatment. The workshop brought together leaders from business, early care and education, government, health care, and philanthropy to discuss the most promising approaches for the future of obesity prevention and treatment. This Proceedings of a Workshop is a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop.

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Protecting the Health and Well-Being of Communities in a Changing Climate

June 9, 2017 | NASEM Proceedings of a Workshop in Brief

A March 13, 2017 workshop explored the implications of climate change for population health and the potential mitigation and adaptation strategies for public health, environmental health, health care and other stakeholders. The workshop also explored a range of perspectives from local government, civil society organizations, and health care organizations, and showcased practical examples of strategies to address climate effects on population health. This brief proceedings of a workshop was prepared by designated rapporteurs in accordance with institutional guidelines as a factual summation of the sessions discussed. The one-day public workshop was co-hosted by the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine and the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement, two convening activities of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

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An American Crisis: The Lack of Black Men in Medicine

June 10, 2017 | NAM Perspective

The current state of diversity within the United States medical workforce does not reflect representative numbers of the Black male population. Research data continues to reveal continuing trends in the areas of discrimination, incarceration, health disparities and mortality with respect to Black males. The lack of increase in Black male medical school applications and matriculation contrasted by the continuing trends mentioned above illustrates that there is in fact an American crisis. We present here a call to arms, to address the need of African American men in medicine. The absence of Black males in medical school represents an American crisis that threatens efforts to effectively address health disparities and excellence in clinical care. This disturbing trend is in need of more empirical examination of medical school data specifically in the areas of: qualification barriers, race/ethnic classification and the impact of diversity on quality of healthcare in the U.S.

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Exploring Equity in Multisector Community Health Partnerships

June 13, 2017 | NASEM Proceedings of a Workshop

The Roundtable on Population Health Improvement wanted to explore how a variety of community-based organizations create and maintain innovative and sustainable approaches to multisector community health partnerships. To do so, the roundtable hosted a workshop in Oakland, California to explore multisector community health partnerships that engage residents, reduce health disparities, and improve health and well-being. Speakers at the workshop are participants in The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Spreading Community Adopters through Learning and Evaluation (SCALE) initiative, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Prize Winners. Speakers shared strategies that they have learned make partnerships effective and described the challenges that residents and other stakeholders have had to overcome in order to create change in their communities. The workshop included demonstrations of interactive activities used to engage a diversity of residents in developing, leading, and sustaining equitable community partnerships. This proceedings of a workshop was prepared by designated rapporteurs in accordance with institutional guidelines as a factual summation of the sessions discussed. The one-day public workshop was hosted by the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

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Building Communication Capacity to Counter Infectious Disease Threats

June 16, 2017 | NASEM Proceedings of a Workshop

Building communication capacity is a critical piece of preparing for, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats. Various organizations, including CDC and WHO, have provided guidance on developing frameworks, standards, protocols, and conceptual approaches to communicating critical information during infectious disease outbreaks. Furthermore, governments and nongovernmental organizations have developed and implemented plans to address the gaps in communication capacity during these situations. Despite the progress, many governments have not streamlined, integrated, or translated these approaches into effective practice and self-reported to lack the full implementation of risk communication capacity as defined under the IHR. Within this context, the Forum on Microbial Threats of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a 1.5 day workshop to learn about current national and international efforts to develop the capacity to communicate effectively during times of infectious disease outbreaks, and to explore gaps in the research agenda that may help address communication needs to advance the field. This workshop brought together stakeholders at different levels of outbreak detection, preparedness, and response. They reviewed progress and needs in strengthening communication capacity for dealing with infectious disease threats for both outbreaks and routine challenges in the United States and abroad. The workshop rapporteurs have prepared this proceedings as a factual summation of workshop featured invited presentations and discussions that aimed to meet the workshop’s objectives.

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Connecting Stakeholders to Bridge the Divide: Upskilling Virginia’s Early Childhood Educators

June 19, 2017 | NAM Perspective

Early childhood experiences dramatically shape the development and outcomes of our youngest citizens. Birth to age 5 is a critical window for brain development and the experiences during this window impact children’s readiness for formal schooling and success in the future. Early childhood educators play a crucial role in ensuring that these early moments in a child’s life adequately support their development and learning. However, there are currently many barriers that early childhood educators face in providing the best learning environment for our most vulnerable. In Virginia, barriers in affordability, accessibility, articulation, availability, and accountability, make it difficult for early childhood educators to attain advanced degrees, certificates, and licensure. In an effort to link science to the skills and competencies of the adults who educate children during the most important time of their development, Virginia is transforming the career and education pathways to support the upskilling of its early childhood workforce. Learn how Virginia is ensuring that its early childhood educators have the means necessary to support the development and learning of its 390,000 children pre-K students.

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A Unified Foundation to Support a Highly Qualified Early Childhood Workforce

June 19, 2017 | NAM Perspective

The early care and education system in the United States has not kept pace with the rapid changes in family life and new scientific understandings about how young children learn. Many children and their families currently experience difficulties in accessing high-quality early care and education and disparities exist across socioeconomic status, ethnicity, immigrant status, and geography. In an effort to support early childhood workforce improvement efforts taking place across the country, authors of a new National Academy of Medicine discussion paper are making a public commitment to work collaboratively in the coming years to help coordinate and align the early care and education provided to young children. These national organizations recognize the important link between the well-being of children and the well-being of the adults who care for and educate them and are dedicated to making sure our youngest children are adequately supported in their most vulnerable years.

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Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward

June 22, 2017 | NASEM Report

Individuals, families, and societies around the world are concerned about dementia and the other forms of cognitive impairment that affect many older adults. It is now known that brain changes typically begin years—if not decades—before people show symptoms, which suggests that a window of opportunity exists to prevent, slow, or delay the onset of these conditions. Further, emerging evidence that the incidence and prevalence of dementia are declining in some high-income countries offers hope that public health interventions can be effective in preventing cognitive decline and dementia. Although the evidence base on how to prevent, slow, or delay these conditions has been limited at best—despite the many claims of success made in popular media and advertising—a growing body of prevention research is emerging. A systematic review published in 2010 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and an associated “state of the science” conference at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that there was insufficient evidence to make recommendations about interventions to prevent cognitive decline and dementia. Since then, understanding of the pathological processes that result in dementia and cognitive impairment has significantly advanced, and a number of clinical trials of potential preventive interventions have been completed and published, with more under way or being planned. Within that context, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) initiated this study with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to take stock of the current state of knowledge on interventions for preventing cognitive decline and dementia, to help shape the messages NIA conveys to the broader public about these conditions, and to inform future actions and research in this area.

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Manufacturing Cell Therapies: The Paradigm Shift in Health Care of this Century

June 23, 2017 | NAM Perspective

Recent advances in cell biology and genetic engineering are changing the way we think about medicine. Cell therapy, in which live cells are administered to a patient for the treatment of a disease, is rapidly shifting how we treat the underlying causes of many diseases, injuries, and inherited conditions. These new therapies are a game-changer and offer hope and solutions for people who have conditions that are beyond repair. However, making these therapies available to the patients who need them most is challenging. Bringing cell-based therapies to the bedside consists of multiple steps and the manufacturing and regulatory environment makes these steps more complicated. In a new discussion paper from the National Academy of Medicine, authors explore the challenges and opportunities the field currently faces in manufacturing and bringing cell therapy to those who need it most.

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Engaging the Private Sector and Developing Partnerships to Advance Health and the Sustainable Development Goals

June 27, 2017 | NASEM Proceedings of a Workshop

n September 2016, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted at the United Nations (UN) Development Summit to serve as a 15-year plan of action for all countries and people. Since the announcement of the SDGs, countries have been mapping out their national action plans, updating health and development information, reviewing national priorities, assessing the focus of current international development assistance, and determining which policies, laws, and strategies are already aligned with SDG targets and what changes are needed. In this process, many public and private entities are identifying opportunities for greater alignment and effectiveness in reaching their goals through partnerships. Considering this context, the Forum on Public–Private Partnerships for Global Health and Safety (PPP Forum) convened a workshop series to examine opportunities for the private sector to engage in partnerships to advance health and the SDGs. This Proceedings of a Workshop Series is organized around major topics that were addressed throughout the two workshops, including health and private sector engagement in the SDGs; public sector strategies and plans for sustainable development; potential strategies and approaches for private sector engagement in the SDGs; the enabling environment for effective partnerships in global health and the SDGs; and lessons from developing and implementing health-focused partnerships. This Proceedings of a Workshop Series was authored by designated rapporteurs based on the workshop presentations and discussions and does not represent the views of the institution, nor does it constitute a full or exhaustive overview of the field.

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