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Institute of Medicine

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental American organization founded in 1970, under the congressional charter of the National Academy of Sciences.[1] The IOM is part of the United States National Academies, which also includes:

Its purpose is to provide national advice on issues relating to biomedical science, medicine, and health, and its mission to serve as adviser to the nation to improve health. It works outside the framework of the U.S. federal government to provide independent guidance and analysis and relies on a volunteer workforce of scientists and other experts, operating under a rigorous, formal peer-review system. The Institute provides unbiased, evidence-based, and authoritative information and advice concerning health and science policy to policy-makers, professionals, leaders in every sector of society, and the public at large.

As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in a field relevant to the IOM's mission as well as for their willingness to participate actively in its work. The President of the IOM is Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D.; the Executive Officer is Dr. Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S.



The Institute and The National Academies use a unique process [2] to obtain authoritative, objective, and scientifically balanced answers to difficult questions of national importance. Their work is conducted by committees of volunteer scientists leading national and international experts who serve without compensation.

Committees are carefully composed to assure the requisite expertise and to avoid bias or conflict of interest. Every report produced by IOM committees undergoes extensive review and evaluation by a group of external experts who are anonymous to the committee, and whose names are revealed only once the study is published.

The majority of IOM studies and other activities are requested and funded by the federal government. Private industry, foundations, and state and local governments also initiate studies, as does the IOM itself.

The IOM works in a broad range of categories, including: mental health, child health, food & nutrition, aging, women s health, education, public policy, healthcare & quality, diseases, global health, workplace, military & veterans, health sciences, environment, treatment, public health & prevention, and minority health.

The reports of the IOM are made available online for free by the publishing arm of the United States National Academies, the National Academies Press, in multiple formats.


The Institute of Medicine is both an honorific membership organization and a policy research organization. The Institute's members, elected on the basis of their professional achievement and commitment to service, serve without compensation in the conduct of studies and other activities on matters of significance to health. Election to active membership is both an honor and a commitment to serve in Institute affairs.

The bylaws of IOM specify that no more than 65 new members shall be elected annually. The announcement of newly elected members occurs at the IOM Annual Meeting in October. The number of regular members plus foreign associates and emeritus members is currently about 1,700.[3]

An unusual diversity of talent among Institute members is assured by the charter stipulation that at least one-quarter be selected from outside the health professions, from such fields as the natural, social, and behavioral sciences, as well as law, administration, engineering, and the humanities.


The New York Times calls the IOM the United States' "most esteemed and authoritative adviser on issues of health and medicine, and its reports can transform medical thinking around the world."[4]

Notable members, past and present


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