The Institute of Medicine was chartered in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to enlist distinguished members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. In this, the Institute acts under both the Academy’s 1863 Congressional charter responsibility to be an advisor to the federal government, and its own initiative in identifying issues of medical care, research, and education.

Research briefings are an important part of the agreement between the Institute of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to initiate a program of studies that is intended to facilitate the translation of discoveries in basic science into advances for health. Of specific interest in the research briefings are the assessment of current knowledge in a particular field of study, identification of promising areas within that field, and recommendations about future research needs in terms of scientific issues. Although occasional recommendations are made regarding research policy, it is not the purpose of these briefings to advocate increases or decreases in current funding levels or to undertake a prioritization or comparative evaluation of other areas of scientific inquiry. The audience for research briefings is quite broad and includes grant administrators and project officers (government and nongovernment), physicians, science policy analysts, congressional staff, scientists, science journalists, and the interested lay public. Research briefing topics are selected by the Institute of Medicine in consultation with its membership, the IOM Council, and the Board on Health Sciences Policy.

Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 92-60001

International Standard Book Number 0-309-04688-2

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The serpent has been a symbol of long life, healing, and knowledge among almost all cultures and religions since the beginning of recorded history. The image adopted as a logotype by the Institute of Medicine is based on a relief carving from ancient Greece, now held by the Staatlichemuseen in Berlin.

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