Institute of Medicine

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Institute of Medicine
Institute of Medicine logo
Formation 1970
Type NGO

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is an American non-profit, non-governmental 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 formal peer-review system. The Institute aims to provide 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. Victor Dzau is President of the Institute of Medicine and Chairman of the IOM Council. His six-year term as IOM president began on July 1, 2014. The Interim Leonard D. Schaeffer Executive Officer is Clyde J. Behney.

Note: On April 28, 2015, NAS membership voted in favor of reconstituting the membership of the IOM as a new National Academy of Medicine and establishing a new division on health and medicine within the NRC that has the program activities of the IOM at its core. These changes will take effect on July 1, 2015.[2]


The Institute and The National Academies use a unique process [3] in the attempt 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 composed in an attempt 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 70 new members shall be elected annually. The announcement of newly elected members occurs at the IOM Annual Meeting in October. As of October 20, 2015, the number of regular members plus foreign associates and emeritus members is 2,012.[4]

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."[5]

Notable members, past and present[edit]


  1. ^ About
  2. ^ Institute of Medicine to Become National Academy of Medicine
  3. ^ unique process
  4. ^ Membership
  5. ^ Gardiner Harris (August 25, 2011). "Vaccine Cleared Again as Autism Culprit" The New York Times.
  6. ^ Shell E (January 1, 2002). "Chapter 4: On the Cutting Edge". The Hungry Gene: The Inside Story of the Obesity Industry. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 978-1422352434. 
  7. ^ Shell E (January 1, 2002). "Chapter 5: Hunger". The Hungry Gene: The Inside Story of the Obesity Industry. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 978-1422352434. 

External links[edit]