Peter O'Donnell Jr. Gives $500,000 to Charles M. Vest President's Opportunity Fund

April 8, 2014

The National Academy of Engineering announced today that Peter O'Donnell Jr. -- a long-time supporter of engineering, science, and math education -- has made a gift of $500,000 to the Charles M. Vest President's Opportunity Fund. "Peter O'Donnell's generous gift in tribute to former president Charles M. Vest will support NAE projects that will advance engineering solutions to many of society's greatest challenges," said National Academy of Engineering President C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr. Read More

Social and Behavioral Domains in Electronic Health Records

April 8, 2014

Electronic health records hold the potential to serve as essential tools for improving quality, increasing efficiency, and expanding access of the U.S. health system. They also provide crucial information to providers treating individual patients, as well as to researchers about the determinants of health and the effectiveness of treatment. Evidence of the how social and behavioral factors contribute to health, in particular, has grown over the last few decades. A new report from the Institute of Medicine identifies 17 "candidate domains" and measures of social determinants of health -- including education, dietary patterns, nicotine use, and exposure to violence -- that should be considered for inclusion in all EHRs. The committee that wrote the report expects to further evaluate the "candidate domains" and winnow the list to a smaller number of core domains in Phase 2 of its study.

NAS, NAE, IOM Partner With USAID on Global Development Lab

April 3, 2014

The National Academy of Sciences, together with the National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine, will be among the cornerstone partners in USAID's newly launched Global Development Lab, established to explore cost-efficient, high-impact solutions to help people worldwide lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Read More

New Report Recommends Strategies for Reducing Fuel Consumption by Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

April 3, 2014

Expanding the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel and regulations requiring the use of aerodynamic devices on trailers are two strategies for reducing fuel consumption by large trucks, buses, commercial vehicles, tractor-trailers, and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, says a new National Research Council report. Additional strategies that do not involve changes to the engine or vehicle may also affect fuel consumption, including changes to fleet operations and logistics, innovations in infrastructure, traffic management, and driver training and other behavioral initiatives. The report's findings and recommendations will inform the development of what is known as the "Phase II Rule," issued jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Read More

Health Standards for Long Duration and Exploration Spaceflights

April 2, 2014

NASA should use an ethics framework when deciding whether, and under what conditions, spaceflights that venture outside low Earth orbit or extend beyond 30 days are acceptable if they do not meet current health standards, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Exceptions to existing health standards should be granted by NASA on a mission-by-mission basis, and any exceptions should be rare and occur only in extenuating circumstances. The report provides an ethics framework based on six principles and related responsibilities to guide NASA's decision making for such missions. Read More

New Roundtable on Animal Science

March 19, 2014

The National Research Council's Institute for Laboratory Animal Research has launched the Roundtable on Science and Welfare in Laboratory Animal Use to stimulate dialogue and promote the responsible use of animals in science. The new roundtable will provide a forum to discuss topics ranging from laboratory animal care to experimental design to regulatory issues. Read more

The Grainger Foundation Commits $3 Million for NAE Frontiers of Engineering Program

March 19, 2014

The National Academy of Engineering announced today that The Grainger Foundation has committed $3 million for NAE's Frontiers of Engineering program. "Thanks to the generous support of The Grainger Foundation, Frontiers of Engineering symposium participants have the opportunity to join together and take on innovative ideas in the pursuit of ground-breaking research," said NAE President C.D. Mote Jr. Read More

Redesign of Planned NASA Space Telescope Would Increase Both Scientific Capabilities and Costs of Mission

March 18, 2014

The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) was ranked the top-priority large space mission in the National Research Council's 2010 decadal survey for astronomy and astrophysics. In 2012, the National Reconnaissance Office gave NASA hardware for two telescopes that would increase the aperture and improve the resolution of the original WFIRST design, and enable the addition of a coronagraph, an instrument that would advance goals in the study of exoplanets.A new National Research Council report finds that the NRO telescopes would enhance the scientific power of the mission, but would also increase the technical risk and the associated costs. In addition, the committee that wrote the report found that the coronagraph design was too immature to evaluate properly and recommended that NASA expedite the design of the coronagraph and develop a cost, schedule, performance, and observing program so that the instrument's impact on the WFIRST mission can be determined. Read More

NAS Receives $1.5 Million Gift to Establish New Award in the Physical Sciences

March 14, 2014

Research Corporation for Science Advancement has made a gift of $1.5 million to the National Academy of Sciences to establish the National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Discovery in honor of RCSA's past president John P. Schaefer. This new $100,000 prize will be given biennially to recognize an accomplishment or discovery in basic research within the past five years. The fields of science for each presentation will rotate from among chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, astronomy, physics, and materials science, with the inaugural award to be presented in 2015 for a recent discovery in chemistry, biochemistry, or biophysics. Read More

Two Definitions for Chronic Multisymptom Illness Should Guide VA Treatment and Research

March 12, 2014

Two existing definitions of chronic multisymptom illness -- one by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and another from a study of Kansas Gulf War veterans -- should be used by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to guide research and treatment of Gulf War veterans, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. In addition, the term "Gulf War illness" should replace "chronic multisymptom illness" to reflect the group in which the illness manifests and the group's distinctive experiences.

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