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News from the National Academies


NAS President Marcia McNutt to Receive 2017 DRI Nevada Medal

Nov. 30, 2016

National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt has been selected as the 2017 Desert Research Institute Nevada Medalist. Established in 1988 to acknowledge outstanding achievement in the fields of science and engineering, the DRI Nevada Medal is the highest scientific honor in the state. McNutt will receive the award during events planned in Reno and Las Vegas in September 2017. Read More(image)

True Prevalence of Food Allergies Unknown Due to Misinterpretation of Symptoms and Lack of Simple Diagnostic Tests; New Report Outlines Steps to Address Public Health Concerns of Food Allergy Safety
Although there is widespread perception among the public and medical professionals that food allergy prevalence is on the rise, no study in the U.S. has been conducted with sufficient sample size and in various populations to determine the true prevalence of food allergies, and most studies likely overestimate the proportion of the population with this condition, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In addition, the public and health care providers frequently misinterpret a food allergy and its symptoms, cannot differentiate a food allergy from other immune and gastrointestinal diseases -- such as lactose intolerance and gluten sensitivity -- and don't know which management and prevention approaches are effective and best to use. Current evidence is insufficient to associate any of the following behaviors with prevention of food allergy, the report says: food allergen avoidance diets for pregnant or lactating women; prolonged allergen avoidance in infancy; vaginal delivery; breast-feeding; use of infant formulas containing partially or extensively hydrolyzed protein; and supplementation with specific nutrients -- for example, vitamin D -- in children or adults. Read More(image)

Gulf Research Program Awards $3 Million in Exploratory Grants
The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced today the recipients of nine exploratory grants, totaling almost $3 million. The grants are intended to jumpstart the development of novel approaches, technologies, or methods and/or the application of new expertise in one of two areas: (1) how to improve the use of scenario planning to advance safety culture and minimize risk in offshore oil and gas operations, and (2) how to inform coastal community planning and response to environmental change in regions with offshore oil and gas operations. Read More(image)

Examining the Utility of Achievement Levels for the 'Nation's Report Card'
A new Academies report finds that while the National Assessment of Educational Progress' "achievement levels" – basic, proficient, and advanced – can be a useful tool for reporting reading and math performance, users of NAEP data need more guidance on the interpretation and use of achievement levels.(image)

National Academy of Sciences President Emeritus Ralph J. Cicerone Dies at 73
NAS President Emeritus Ralph J. Cicerone – a leader of science and world-renowned authority on atmospheric chemistry and climate change – died at his home in New Jersey today. He was 73. Cicerone served as the 21st president of the National Academy of Sciences from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2016. Throughout his tenure, Cicerone was a steady voice for science in Washington, always maintaining a civilized and respectful dialogue with politicians and policymakers on some of the most challenging and controversial scientific issues of our time. At the same time, he remained a strong advocate for independent scientific advice – the hallmark of the Academy since its founding in 1863 – to inform government decision-making and public discourse. Read More(image)

Award Winners Honored at NAS
Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 National Academies Communication Awards, who were honored during an award ceremony held last night at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. These prestigious awards -- each of which includes a $20,000 prize -- recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public. More Photos(image)

NAS President Emeritus Ralph J. Cicerone Named NAE Distinguished Honoree
During its 2016 annual meeting, the National Academy of Engineering honored Ralph J. Cicerone, president emeritus of the National Academy of Sciences, with the title of NAE Distinguished Honoree. Cicerone is only the fifth recipient of this recognition. He is honored for his tenure at the NAS where he rendered great service to the engineering profession in the United States and to the NAE through his deep understanding and appreciation of the interplay of science and engineering and their importance to the nation's welfare. Read More(image)

Report Offers Road Map and Recommendations to Help U.S. Cities Become More Sustainable, Learn From Other Cities' Experiences
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine offers a road map and recommendations to help U.S. cities work toward sustainability, measurably improving their residents' economic, social, and environmental well-being. The report draws upon lessons learned from nine cities' efforts to improve sustainability – Los Angeles; New York City; Vancouver, B.C.; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Grand Rapids and Flint, Michigan. The cities were chosen to span a range of sizes, regions, histories, and economies. Read More(image)

NAM Elects 70 New Members, Nine International Members
The National Academy of Medicine today announced the names of 70 new members and nine international members during its annual meeting. Election to the NAM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Annual Meeting Webcast | Agenda(image)

Winners of 2016 D.C. Public Health Case Challenge Announced
The winners of the fourth annual D.C. Public Health Case Challenge were announced at this year's National Academy of Medicine annual meeting. The challenge aims to promote interdisciplinary, problem-based learning around a public health issue of importance to the local Washington, D.C. community.(image)

NAM Announce Recipients of Awards, Honors
The National Academy of Medicine presented two prestigious awards at its annual meeting today. The Gustav O. Lienhard Award was given to David Cella, Ralph Seal Paffenbarger Professor and chair, department of medical social sciences, and director, Center for Patient Centered Outcomes, Institute for Public Health and Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. And the 2016 Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health was awarded to Steven Hyman, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research in Cambridge, Mass., and Robin Murray, a professor at King’s College London, United Kingdom. The Academy also honored three NAM members for their outstanding service -- Lynn R. Goldman, dean and professor of environmental occupation and health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University; Donna E. Shalala, president of the Clinton Foundation (on leave from University of Miami, where she is trustee professor of political science and health policy); and Mary E. Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America -- as well as announced three health professionals who were selected for the 2016 class of NAM Fellows.  Lienhard News Release | Sarnat News Release | Outstanding Service News Release | Fellows News Release (image)

Accounting for Social Risk Factors in Medicare Payment
A new Academies report provides guidance on data sources and collection strategies for measurable social risk factors that could be accounted for in Medicare value-based payment programs in the short and long term, such as low socio-economic position, residence in disadvantaged neighborhoods, or race and ethnicity. The committee that conducted the study and wrote the report identified three broad categories of data sources: 1) new and existing data collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS); 2) data from health care providers and health plans; and 3) alternative government data sources, i.e., national surveys that non-CMS federal agencies and state agencies oversee and maintain.(image)

NAS Member Shares 2016 Nobel in Economics
The 2016 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded jointly to National Academy of Sciences member Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström "for their contributions to contract theory."(image)

National Academy of Engineering Annual Meeting Begins
NAE members will gather on Oct. 9-10 in Washington, D.C., to congratulate new members and welcome distinguished speakers who will discuss this year's annual meeting theme, Global Mega-Engineering Initiatives. Agenda | Learn More(image)

New Research Framework to Understand Cumulative Impacts of Human Activities on Marine Mammals
Rising levels of noise in the ocean have been identified as a growing concern for the well-being of marine mammals, but other threats such as pollution, climate change, and prey depletion by fisheries may also harm marine mammals and influence their response to additional noise. Current knowledge and data are insufficient to determine what combination of factors cause the greatest concern, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report includes a newly developed conceptual framework model to help federal agencies and research communities explore the potential cumulative effects of human activities on marine mammals. Read More(image)

Gulf Research Program Announces Early-Career Research and Science Policy Fellowships
The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced today the recipients of its Early-Career Research Fellowships and Science Policy Fellowships for 2016. These competitive awards are among the suite of activities in the program’s 30-year mission to enhance oil system safety and the protection of human health and the environment in the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. outer continental shelf regions.(image)

Key Science Questions for the Next Debate
In advance of the upcoming presidential debate in St. Louis, a new op-ed from AAAS Chief Executive Officer Rush Holt and NAS President Marcia McNutt reiterates a recent call for the candidates to address a set of 20 major issues in science, engineering, health, and the environment, and a call to journalists, including debate moderators, to ask these questions of candidates so the public has access to the answers.(image)

NAS Member Shares 2016 Nobel in Chemistry

Oct. 5, 2016

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 was awarded jointly to National Academy of Sciences member J. Fraser Stoddart, Jean-Pierre Sauvage, and Bernard L. Feringa "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines."(image)

NAS Member Shares 2016 Nobel in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2016 was divided, one-half awarded to National Academy of Sciences member David J. Thouless, the other half jointly to F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter."(image)

Roundtable on U.S.-Mexico Scientific Collaboration
Watch an Oct. 3 discussion that explored collaboration opportunities between the U.S. and Mexican scientific communities.(image)

NAS President Issues Statement on New White House Climate Change and National Security Initiative
Today President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum to address climate change and national security. In a brief statement from National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt, she states, "The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine look forward to taking the lead in engaging the academic community in efforts to guide this initiative, and are well-positioned to tap the broad, multidisciplinary expertise of researchers across the nation." Read More(image)

Immigration's Long-Term Impacts on Overall Wages and Employment of Native-Born U.S. Workers Very Small, Although Low-Skilled Workers May Be Affected, New Report Finds; Impacts on Economic Growth Positive, While Effects on Government Budgets Mixed
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provides a comprehensive assessment of economic and demographic trends of U.S. immigration over the past 20 years, its impact on the labor market and wages of native-born workers, and its fiscal impact at the national, state, and local levels. Among the report's key findings and conclusions: When measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born workers overall is very small. To the extent that negative impacts occur, they are most likely to be found for prior immigrants or native-born workers who have not completed high school — who are often the closest substitutes for immigrant workers with low skills. There is little evidence that immigration significantly affects the overall employment levels of native-born workers. As with wage impacts, there is some evidence that recent immigrants reduce the employment rate of prior immigrants. In addition, recent research finds that immigration reduces the number of hours worked by native teens (but not their employment levels). Some evidence on inflow of skilled immigrants suggests that there may be positive wage effects for some subgroups of native-born workers, and other benefits to the economy more broadly.  Immigration has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth in the U.S.(image)

Up to 16 Million Americans Have Uncorrected Vision Impairment; Report Calls for Transformation in Population Health Efforts to Eliminate Correctable and Avoidable Vision Impairments by 2030
Despite the importance of eyesight, millions of people grapple with undiagnosed or untreated vision impairments -- ranging from mild conditions to total blindness -- and eye and vision health remain relatively absent from national health priority lists, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report calls for transforming vision impairments from common to rare and eliminating correctable and avoidable vision impairments in the U.S. by 2030.(image)

Former NAS President Bruce Alberts Receives 2016 Lasker Award; Three Other NAS and NAM Members Also Honored
Former National Academy of Sciences President Bruce Alberts has received the prestigious 2016 Lasker-Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science "for fundamental discoveries in DNA replication and protein biochemistry; for visionary leadership in directing national and international scientific organizations to better people's lives; and for passionate dedication to improving education in science and mathematics," the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced today. Currently, the Chancellor's Leadership Chair in Biochemistry and Biophysics for Science and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, Alberts served as president of the NAS from 1993 to 2005, where he was instrumental in developing the landmark National Science Education standards that have been implemented in school systems nationwide. Also announced today, the 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award is being presented to National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine members William Kaelin Jr. of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Harvard Medical School and Gregg Semenza of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, along with Peter Ratcliffe of the University of Oxford/Francis Crick Institute, "for the discovery of the pathway by which cells from humans and most animals sense and adapt to changes in oxygen availability – a process essential for survival." And along with two other researchers, NAS member Charles M. Rice of the Rockefeller University is receiving the 2016 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award "for development of a system to study the replication of the virus that causes hepatitis C and for use of this system to revolutionize the treatment of this chronic, often lethal disease."(image)

Nearly 18 Million Americans Care for Family Members 65 and Older, But Pool of Potential Family Caregivers Is Shrinking; Systemwide Reorientation Needed to Account for Health Care and Support of Both Elders and Family Caregivers
The demand for family caregivers for adults who are 65 or older is increasing significantly, and family caregivers need more recognition, information, and support to fulfill their responsibilities and maintain their own health, financial security, and well-being, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Although caregivers' individual circumstances vary, family caregiving can negatively affect caregivers' mental and physical health as well cause economic harm, including loss of income and career opportunities. The report calls for health care delivery system reform that elevates family-centered care alongside person-centered care to better account for the roles of family caregivers and support their involvement in the care delivery process.(image)

New Report Warns of Potential Supply Shortage of the Medical Isotopes Molybdenum-99 and Technetium-99m in U.S.
Although the current supply of molybdenum-99 and technetium-99m – isotopes used worldwide in medical diagnostic imaging – is sufficient to meet domestic and global demand, changes to the supply chain before year-end could lead to severe shortages and impact the delivery of medical care, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Read More(image)

The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey Wins Best Book Award From Academies; NPR, Mother Jones, ProPublica Also Take Top Prizes
The recipients of the 2016 Communication Awards were announced today by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation since 2003 as part of the Keck Futures Initiative, these prestigious awards — each of which includes a $20,000 prize — recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public. The winners will be honored during a ceremony on Oct. 26 in Washington, D.C. Read More(image)

Support Needed for Innovation in Increasingly Clean Electric Power Technologies
A new report urges Congress, federal and state agencies, and regulatory institutions to significantly increase their support for innovation for "increasingly clean" electric power technologies – nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, and renewables such as solar and wind. Some of these technologies have seen recent cost and price declines and are cost-competitive in certain locations. But significantly greater market penetration of these technologies will be required to help address the worst impacts of climate change, as well as harms to human health such as asthma and premature death caused by pollution. Read More(image)

Triennial Review of National Nanotechnology Initiative
A new Academies report makes recommendations to improve the value of the NNI's strategy and portfolio for research and applications of nanotechnology.(image)

New Report Identifies Research Priorities for the Field of Atmospheric Chemistry
To advance the understanding of atmospheric chemistry and improve its research infrastructure, a new Academies report proposes priorities and strategic steps for the field in the next decade.(image)

National Security Space Defense and Protection: Public Report
The rapidly growing global reliance on space systems to facilitate vital societal functions such as commerce, food production, electricity distribution, transportation, and weather assessment has outpaced the creation of national strategies and policies to protect this critical infrastructure. A new Academies report assesses currently available options for addressing threats to space systems and recommend strategies for increasing resiliency.(image)

New Report Assesses Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Goals
While scientists have made remarkable advancements in astronomy and astrophysics since the beginning of this decade, a new Academies report calls for federal agencies to maintain, and in some cases adjust, their programs in order to meet 2010 decadal survey's scientific objectives. Read More(image)

General Support for Science Does Not Always Correlate With Attitudes Toward Specific Science Issues, Says New Report; Offers Conceptual Framework for Science Literacy Research
U.S. adults perform comparably to adults in other economically developed countries on most measures of science knowledge and support science in general, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. However, attitudes toward some specific issues, such as climate change or genetic engineering, may be shaped by factors such as values and beliefs rather than knowledge of the science alone. Despite popular assumptions, research shows that increasing science literacy will not lead to appreciably greater support for science. Read More(image)

New Report Calls for Rigorous Monitoring to Evaluate Ecological Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico
To improve and ensure the efficacy of restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following Deepwater Horizon – the largest oil spill in U.S. history – a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends a set of best practices for monitoring and evaluating ecological restoration activities. Read More(image)

NAM and FDA Select Four Individuals for 2016-2017 Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellows
The National Academy of Medicine along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) have named the 2016-2017 class of FDA Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellows. Four individuals were selected through a highly selective national competition based on their exceptional and diverse professional qualifications to contribute to the work of CTP. Read More(image)