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The Institute of Medicine was chartered in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to enlist distinguished members of the 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 adviser to the federal government and its own initiative in identifying issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.
Support for this project was provided by The Josiah Macy, Jr., Foundation (Grant No. S9171 1), The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Grant No. 18530), The Pew Charitable Trusts (Grant No. 91-01994-000), and the Office of Special Populations, National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Grant No. 92MF34075601 D).
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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.