Community-Based Flood Insurance Offers Potential Benefits, Faces Many Challenges

July 24, 2015

Community-based flood insurance -- a single insurance policy that in theory would cover an entire community -- may create new opportunities to reduce flood losses and enhance the likelihood of communities paying more attention to flood risk mitigation, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. This option for providing flood insurance, however, would not provide the sole solution for all of the nation's flood insurance challenges. The report discusses the pros and cons of this policy option, identifies challenges that need to be addressed if it were to be implemented, and describes scenarios, that depending on the underlying circumstances in a community, can help guide decisions about when community-based flood insurance would be beneficial over individual policies. Read More

New Report Presents Framework to Establish Standards for Psychosocial Interventions Used to Treat Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

July 14, 2015

A considerable gap exists in mental health and substance abuse treatments known as psychosocial interventions between what is known to be effective and those interventions that are commonly delivered, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Mental health and substance use disorders are a serious public health problem, affect approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population, and often occur together. The report presents a framework for implementing evidence-based psychosocial interventions, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for individuals suffering from mental health and substance use disorders. Read More

Koshland Science Museum's Extreme Event Game Wins Gold Medal

July 14, 2015

The Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences has been awarded a gold medal by the Serious Games Association for Extreme Event, a role-playing game developed in collaboration with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Resilient America project. The awards acknowledge outstanding games that provide superior interaction and training opportunities. Read More

Marcia K. McNutt Nominated to Be Next NAS President

July 6, 2015

The Council of the National Academy of Sciences has approved the nomination of Marcia K. McNutt, editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals, for election as president of the Academy, to succeed Ralph J. Cicerone when his second term as NAS president ends on July 1, 2016. Read More

U.S. Survival Rates Around 6 Percent for Cardiac Arrests Occurring Outside of a Hospital

June 30, 2015

Cardiac arrest strikes almost 600,000 people each year, killing the vast majority of those individuals, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Wide disparities of survival rates exist across the country, but benchmark communities demonstrate that saving more lives is possible. Although evidence indicates that bystander use of CPR and automated external defibrillators can significantly improve survival and outcomes from cardiac arrest, each year less than 3 percent of the U.S. population receives CPR training. To improve health outcomes, the report calls for enhancing the performance of EMS systems; improving systems of care within hospital settings; expanding research in cardiac arrest resuscitation; and educating and training the public on how to recognize cardiac arrest, contact emergency responders, administer CPR, and use automated external defibrillators.

Health Care Wait Times Differ Greatly Throughout U.S

June 29, 2015

Wait times for health care appointments vary tremendously throughout the U.S., ranging from same day service to several months, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The report calls for putting patients and families first and using "systems-based approaches" that are applied successfully in other industries to improve access to services. The study committee found that delays in access to health care have negative effects on health outcomes, patient satisfaction, health care utilization, and organizational reputation. Causes for delays include mismatched supply and demand of services, the current provider-focused approach to scheduling, outmoded workforce and care supply models, priority-based queues, care complexity, reimbursement complexity, and financial and geographic barriers.

New Report Examines Options for Tying Insurance Rates to Flood Risk for Low-Lying Structures

June 19, 2015

Approximately 1 million low-lying structures in U.S. floodplains receive subsidized insurance rates that do not reflect the actual risk of flooding. New legislation requiring subsidies to be phased out and replaced by risk-based rates will result in substantial premium increases for most of these structures. A new report from the National Research Council found that current methods used by the National Flood Insurance Program don't fully capture the flood risk for low-lying structures, which are subject to more frequent flooding, longer durations and greater depths of flooding, and more damage from smaller flood events. The report offers alternative approaches for calculating risk-based rates for these structures, identifies critical data needs, and discusses the feasibility and cost of implementing the approaches. Read More

Analysis Used by Federal Agencies to Set Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Standards for U.S. Cars Was Generally of High Quality

June 18, 2015

The analysis used by federal agencies to set standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for new U.S. light-duty vehicles -- passenger cars and light trucks -- from 2017 to 2025 was thorough and of high caliber overall, says a new report from the National Research Council. However, the agencies should re-examine certain issues -- such as consumer behavior and the effectiveness of certain technologies -- in an upcoming mid-term review. In addition, the report finds, evidence suggests that the standards will lead the nation's light-duty vehicle fleet to become lighter but not less safe. Read More

Pope Issues Encyclical on Climate Change

June 18, 2015

Pope Francis issued a papal letter to the world's bishops reinforcing that human activity is causing climate change, and many developing nations are at particular risk. It calls for lifestyle and energy consumption changes to prevent the degradation of the Earth's ecosystem. The encyclical was informed by input from the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The full collection of National Research Council reports that address various climate change issues is available at, including: Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth Climate Change: Evidence and Causes Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises America's Climate Choices Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia

Strategic Investments in U.S. Inland Waterways Should Focus on Maintaining Locks and Facilities; User-Pays Funding Strategy Would Promote Economic Efficiency

June 16, 2015

While the U.S. inland waterways system covers a vast geographic area, its freight traffic is highly concentrated, and the system needs a sustainable and well-executed plan for maintaining system reliability and performance to ensure that its resources are directed where they are most essential, says a new report from the National Research Council's Transportation Research Board. More targeted operations and maintenance (O&M) investments informed by an asset management approach would prioritize locks and facilities that are most in need of maintenance and for which the economic impacts of disruption would be highest. Read More

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