The Institute of Medicine will change its name to the National Academy of Medicine on July 1 as part of a broader internal reorganization by the National Academy of Sciences to integrate the research it conducts on matters of science, engineering and health.
“It is an acknowledgement of the importance of medicine and related health sciences to today's global research enterprise,” National Academy of Sciences President Ralph Cicerone said in a news release issued Tuesday. “It will also better align us to take a more integrated, multidisciplinary approach to our work, reflecting how science is best done today.”
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 through an act of Congress signed by President Abraham Lincoln. It is made up of the National Academy of Engineering, established in 1964 to advise on matters involving engineering and technology, and the IOM, the health arm established in 1970.
The independent, not-for-profit organizations serve to advise the federal government and shape policy in conjunction with the NAS' operating arm, the National Research Council, which performs studies and holds workshops on topics such as policy, global affairs, transportation and behavioral sciences, among others.
When the Institute of Medicine released the landmark report To Err is Human in 1999, its revelations brought widespread attention to grave safety issues in U.S. hospitals and led to significant and ongoing efforts by policymakers and healthcare providers to make improvements. There is disagreement about how far the nation has come in the past 15 years to address the problems identified in the report.
In January, the IOM urged major changes in clinical trial data-sharing practices in the U.S. It suggested strategies to curb practices that make it difficult, if not impossible, for independent researchers to compare the results of costly therapies, because data often remain unpublished and unreported years after the investigations completed.
Members of the National Academy of Sciences voted to change the name from the IOM to the National Academy of Medicine during the group's 152nd annual meeting taking place this week in Washington, D.C.
“I am confident that this development will enhance our ability to provide evidence-based advice aimed at improving the lives of people everywhere,” IOM President Dr. Victor Dzau said in the news release.