National Research News

New Report Identifies Root Causes of Health Inequity in the U.S., Outlines Solutions for Communities to Advance Health Equity

The burdens of poor health and the benefits of good health and well-being are inequitably distributed in the U.S. due to factors that range from poverty and inadequate housing to structural racism and discrimination, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Community-driven interventions targeting these factors hold the greatest promise for promoting health equity -- the state in which everyone has the opportunity to attain full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or any other socially defined circumstance. Read More 

Report Recommends New Framework for Estimating the Social Cost of Carbon Dioxide

To estimate the social cost of carbon dioxide for use in regulatory impact analyses, the federal government should use a new framework that would strengthen the scientific basis, provide greater transparency, and improve characterization of the uncertainties of the estimates, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report also identifies a number of near- and longer-term improvements that should be made for calculating the social cost of carbon. Read More 

Nearly 100 Conclusions on the Health Effects of Marijuana and Cannabis-Derived Products Presented in New Report

A new report from the National Academies offers one of the most comprehensive studies of recent research on the health impacts of cannabis and cannabis-derived products – such as marijuana and active chemical compounds known as cannabinoids – ranging from their therapeutic effects to their risks for causing certain cancers, diseases, mental health disorders, and injuries. The committee also proposed ways to expand and improve the quality of cannabis research efforts, enhance data collection efforts to support the advancement of research, and address the current barriers to cannabis research. Read more

New Report Examines Challenges Faced by the Federal Statistical System

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examines the challenges faced by the federal statistical system, discusses the opportunities and risks of using government and private sector data sources, and outlines steps needed to lay the foundation for a new paradigm that would combine diverse data sources in a secure manner to enhance the collection and use of federal statistics.

Accounting for Social Risk Factors in Medicare Payment

The National Academies released the fifth and final report in a series examining social risk factors that affect the health outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries and how to account for these factors in Medicare value-based payment programs. The report says that accounting for social risk factors in quality measurement and payment in combination with complementary approaches may achieve the policy goals of reducing disparities in access, quality, and outcomes, as well as quality improvement and efficient care delivery for all patients – thereby promoting health equity.

New Report Finds Significant Improvements in Methods to Collect Data on Recreational Fishing

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says the Marine Recreational Information Program – a national survey program – has made significant improvements in gathering information on recreational fishing through redesigned surveys, strengthening the quality of data. Although many of the major recommendations from a previous Academies report have been addressed, some challenges remain, such as incorporating technological advances for data collection and enhancing communication with anglers and some other stakeholders. Read More

World's Largest Gathering of Transportation Professionals

More than 13,000 people from about 70 countries -- including policymakers, administrators, practitioners, and researchers from government, industry, and academia -- will gather Jan. 8-12 for the Transportation Research Board 96th Annual Meeting. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will be among the featured speakers.

New Report Reviews Eight NASA Evidence Reports on Human Health Risks

NASA asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to review more than 30 publicly available evidence reports on human health risks for long-duration and exploration space flight. A new letter report -- the fourth in the series of five -- examines eight NASA evidence reports on topics including astronauts' risk of developing cardiovascular disease from radiation exposure; cancer from radiation exposure; radiation syndromes from intense exposure to high doses of radiation over short time periods; central nervous system effects from radiation exposure; adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders; and performance decrements and adverse health outcomes from sleep loss, circadian desynchronization, and work overload. The NASA evidence reports are available to download here.

New Report Calls for Revisions to WIC Program

A new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine proposes updated revisions to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to better align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, promote and support breast-feeding, and improve flexibility for cultural preferences. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report recommended cost-neutral changes that include adding fish; increasing the amount of whole grains; and increasing vegetables and fruits as a trade-off for decreasing juice, milk, legumes, peanut butter, infant vegetables and fruits, and infant meats. It also recommended allowing women to receive the quantity of formula needed to support any level of breast-feeding. The proposed changes will save approximately $220 million programwide from 2018 to 2022. Read More

New Report Calls for Use of Emerging Scientific Data to Better Assess Public Health Risks

Recent scientific and technological advances have the potential to improve assessment of public health risks posed by chemicals, yet questions remain how best to integrate the findings from the new tools and methods into risk assessment. A new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report recommends approaches for using 21st century science to evaluate the many factors that lead to health risks and disease, laying the groundwork for a new direction in risk assessment that acknowledges the complexity of disease causation. Read More | Webinar on Friday, Jan. 6, beginning at 2 p.m. EST

2017 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education Awarded to Dean of Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering

The National Academy of Engineering announced today that the 2017 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education will be awarded to Julio M. Ottino, dean of the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, "for an educational paradigm that merges analytical, rational left-brain skills with creative, expansive right-brain skills to develop engineering leaders." The $500,000 annual award recognizes new methods and concepts in education aimed at developing engineering leaders. The Gordon Prize ceremony will be held at Northwestern University this spring.

Inventors of Optical Coherence Tomography Win 2017 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize

The National Academy of Engineering and Ohio University announced today that the 2017 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize will be given to James G. Fujimoto, Adolf F. Fercher, Christoph K. Hitzenberger, David Huang, and Eric A. Swanson for the invention of optical coherence tomography (OCT). The $500,000 biennial prize, which recognizes a bioengineering achievement that significantly improves the human condition, cites OCT for "leveraging creative engineering to invent imaging technology essential for preventing blindness and treating vascular and other diseases." The Russ Prize will be presented at a gala dinner event in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 21, 2017. Read More

Report Calls for Improved Methods to Assess Earthquake-Caused Soil Liquefaction

Effectively engineering infrastructure to protect life and to mitigate the economic, environmental, and social impacts of liquefaction requires the ability to accurately assess the likelihood of liquefaction and its consequences. A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine evaluates existing field, laboratory, physical model, and analytical methods for assessing liquefaction and its consequences, and recommends how to account for and reduce the uncertainties associated with the use of these methods. Read More

National Academy of Medicine Launches 'Action Collaborative' to Promote Clinician Well-Being and Combat Burnout, Depression, and Suicide Among Health Care Workers

In response to alarming evidence of high rates of depression and suicide among U.S. health care workers, the National Academy of Medicine is launching a wide-ranging "action collaborative" of multiple organizations to promote clinician well-being and resilience. To date, more than 20 professional and educational organizations have committed to the NAM-led initiative, which will identify priorities and collective efforts to advance evidence-based solutions and promote multidisciplinary approaches that will reverse the trends in clinician stress and ultimately improve patient care and outcomes. Read More

New Report Calls for Forward-Looking Analysis and a Review of Restoration Goals for the Everglades

To ensure the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is responsive to changing environmental conditions like climate change and sea-level rise, as well as to changes in water management, a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine calls for a re-examination of the program's original restoration goals and recommends a forward-looking, systemwide analysis of Everglades restoration outcomes across a range of scenarios. Read More

Lower Cost of LEDs Reduce Profitability for Manufacturing Landscape

Although residential and commercial industries are widely adopting energy-efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs), the drop in LED prices is driving away manufacturers because of decreased profitability, dramatically dislocating and restructuring the solid-state lighting marketplace, says a new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report.

National Academies' Gulf Research Program Awards $2.1 Million in Synthesis Grants

The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced today the recipients of three synthesis grants, totaling over $2.1 million. The grants support projects that apply scientific synthesis to connect environmental, social, and/or health data to advance understanding of the short- and long-term impacts of offshore oil and gas operations on human communities in coastal regions adjacent to the U.S. outer continental shelf. The grants also advance study design, tools, models and technologies for assessing human exposure to environmental contaminants, including acute or chronic exposures related to oil spills and other sudden and large-scale environmental disasters, and related impacts on individuals and populations. Read More

NAM Foreign Secretary Selected as AAAS President-Elect

Margaret Hamburg, foreign secretary of the National Academy of Medicine, has been chosen to serve as the next president of AAAS. She will begin her three-year term as an officer and member of the Executive Committee of the AAAS Board of Directors at the conclusion of the 183rd AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston on Feb. 21, 2017. Read More

In Memorium: Stephen Fienberg, 1942-2016

National Academy of Sciences member Stephen E. Fienberg, a world-renowned statistics professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, has died at the age of 74. Deeply involved in the work of the National Academies for more than 40 years, Fienberg served on 35 committees and panels. For the last eight years, he was co-chair of the Academies' Report Review Committee, which oversees the institution's peer review process. Read Fienberg obituary from Carnegie Mellon