Tag Archives: science education

Living in a Food Desert: How Lack of Access to Healthy Foods Can Affect Public Health

Need to run to the grocery store? For some of us, this is relatively easy because we probably live fairly close to one. For others, a trip to a grocery store represents a significant transportation challenge. In the United States, “food deserts”, neighborhoods and communities that have limited access to affordable and nutritious foods, tend to be located in urban and rural low-income neighborhoods. People who live in these areas are less likely to have access to supermarkets or grocery stores that provide healthy choices for food. With limited or no access to food retailers or supermarkets that stock fresh produce, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and other healthy foods, these populations may be more likely to suffer from high rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.

The Public Health Effect of Food Deserts: Workshop Summary discusses the public health effects—including the prevalence of obesity and the incidence of chronic diseases—of food deserts. This book offers insight on the extent of food deserts, their impact on individual behaviors and health outcomes in various populations, and effective ways to increase the availability of fruits and vegetables and to improve the food environment.

One serious health consequence of living in food deserts is, ironically, obesity. Without ready access to nutritious foods, people living in food deserts often have diets that are high in calories but low in nutritional value. To address this particular public health concern, the Institute of Medicine has published a number of reports that examine how we can roll back the obesity epidemic in the United States.

Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention: A Framework to Inform Decision Making examines obesity as a societal problem that affects whole populations, like those living in food deserts. This book features a practical, action-oriented framework to support the use of evidence in decision-making about obesity prevention policies and programs and sets a course for the development of new and relevant research.

The books mentioned above and others from the Institute of Medicine provide information and guidance for decision-makers to respond to the challenges of food deserts and their impact on our society.

The Public Health Effects of Food Deserts

The Public Health Effects of Food Deserts: Workshop Summary

In the United States, people living in low-income neighborhoods frequently do not have access to affordable healthy food venues, such as supermarkets. Instead, those living in “food deserts” must rely on convenience stores and small neighborhood stores that…

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Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention

Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention: A Framework to Inform Decision Making

To battle the obesity epidemic in America, health care professionals and policymakers need relevant, useful data on the effectiveness of obesity prevention policies and programs. Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention identifies a new…

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Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity

Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity

The prevalence of childhood obesity is so high in the United States that it may reduce the life expectancy of today’s generation of children. While parents and other adult caregivers play a fundamental role in teaching children about healthy behaviors, even…

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Community Perspectives on Obesity Prevention in Children

Community Perspectives on Obesity Prevention in Children: Workshop Summaries

As the public health threat of childhood obesity has become clear, the issue has become the focus of local, state, and national initiatives. Many of these efforts are centered on the community environment in recognition of the role of environmental factors in…

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Childhood Obesity Prevention in Texas

Childhood Obesity Prevention in Texas: Workshop Summary

Childhood Obesity Prevention in Texas summarizes the information gathered at a workshop held February 5-6, 2009, in Austin, Texas. At this workshop, committee members met with Texas lawmakers, public officials, and community leaders to exchange ideas…

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Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity

Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up?

The remarkable increase in the prevalence of obesity among children and youth in the United States over a relatively short timespan represents one of the defining public health challenges of the 21st century. The country is beginning to recognize childhood…

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Perspectives from United Kingdom and United States Policy Makers on Obesity Prevention

Perspectives from United Kingdom and United States Policy Makers on Obesity Prevention: Workshop Summary

Both the United Kingdom and the United States are grappling with nationwide epidemics of obesity. Obesity contributes to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers, among other diseases. Although many people are aware of obesity’s causes and…

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Joint U.S.-Mexico Workshop on Preventing Obesity in Children and Youth of Mexican Origin

Joint U.S.-Mexico Workshop on Preventing Obesity in Children and Youth of Mexican Origin: Summary

The Joint U.S.-Mexico Workshop on Preventing Obesity in Children and Youth of Mexican Origin was initiated by a desire to share experiences regarding the problem of obesity in children…

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DNA Testing: From the Doctor’s Office to the Drugstore

The Human Genome Project, completed in 2003, identified the genes that make up human DNA. Major advances in genomic technologies in the early 21st century have helped to increase dramatically the number of genes identified as playing a role in a variety of common disorders. Genetic or genomic testing can be used to guide medical decision-making and treatment, ranging from personalized drug therapy to assessing an individual’s risk of developing common chronic diseases.

New reports from the Institute of Medicine discuss various possibilities for the future and potential issues that could arise from our ever-expanding knowledge of our genetic makeup. The Value of Genetic and Genomic Technologies: Workshop Summary explores the concept of value in regards to genomics and genetics and how that concept affects the ways decisions are made about using tests and technologies. This book brings together diverse perspectives on the value of genetic testing and discusses its use in clinical practice.

Advances in our understanding of genomics, combined with significant reductions in the cost of genetic tests, have spawned new business models in which companies market genetic tests and personalized genetic profiles directly to consumers. For example, it is now possible to purchase a home DNA paternity test at many pharmacies in the United States. Special DNA test kits allow anyone to trace their ancestry. Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Summary of a Workshop discusses the scientific and ethical foundations for commercial genetic testing, personal and social issues, research and medical issues, and the impact on health care and public health.

These books and others from the Institute of Medicine explore the possibilities and directions for the future for both researchers and private industry.

The Value of Genetic and Genomic Technologies

The Value of Genetic and Genomic Technologies: Workshop Summary

Knowing one’s genetic disposition to a variety of diseases, including common chronic diseases, can benefit both the individual and society at large. The IOM’s Roundtable on Translating Genomic-Based Research for Health held a workshop on March 22, 2010, to…
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Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Summary of a Workshop

Today, scores of companies, primarily in the United States and Europe, are offering whole genome scanning services directly to the public. The proliferation of these companies and the services they offer demonstrate a public appetite for this information and…
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Establishing Precompetitive Collaborations to Stimulate Genomics-Driven Drug Development

Establishing Precompetitive Collaborations to Stimulate Genomics-Driven Drug Development: Workshop Summary

Despite the many basic research discoveries in genetics, relatively few gene-based treatments, drugs, or preventative measures have been developed. One way to bridge this gap may be for industry, academia, and government to develop partnerships that share…
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Systems for Research and Evaluation for Translating Genome-Based Discoveries for Health

Systems for Research and Evaluation for Translating Genome-Based Discoveries for Health: Workshop Summary

With the advent of genome-wide association studies, numerous associations between specific gene loci and complex diseases have been identified–for breast cancer, coronary artery disease, and asthma, for example. This rapidly advancing field of genomics has…
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Innovations in Service Delivery in the Age of Genomics

Innovations in Service Delivery in the Age of Genomics: Workshop Summary

New discoveries in genomics–that is, the study of the entire human genome–are changing how we diagnose and treat diseases. As the trend shifts from genetic testing largely being undertaken for rare genetic disorders to, increasingly, individuals being…
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Diffusion and Use of Genomic Innovations in Health and Medicine

Diffusion and Use of Genomic Innovations in Health and Medicine: Workshop Summary

Until fairly recently, genetic information was used primarily in the diagnosis of relatively rare genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s Disease, but a transformation in the use of genetic and genomic information is underway. While…
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Perspectives on the PISA Test Results from the Board on Science Education

The performance of U.S. students in science has been in the news this week, as we ranked 23rd in an international standardized assessment given to 15 year-olds in schools. We asked Martin Storksdieck, the director of the National Research Council Board on Science Education, for his perspective.

On December 7th the results of the largest international assessment of student performance in reading, math and science were released. The Programme for International Student Assessment, known as PISA, is conducted under the coordination of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and is supported by national organizations in 65 countries. The ranking of countries in PISA, based on the scholastic performance of a statistical sample of their 15-year olds on this test, can be a matter of much national pride or disappointment, may lead to questions about its validity and fairness, or might get ignored entirely. However countries may respond to this huge international effort, or whether one agrees entirely on the appropriateness of the assessment being used, PISA does elicit questions about why students in some countries do so much better than students in other countries, and ultimately what the factors are that make for effective education.

While research on reasons for country differences exist, there is little agreement on how much one country can learn from another. However, research on what contributes to effective science teaching and learning that is ultimately reflected in sophisticated and appropriate tests of student performance has been compiled and critically assessed in a variety of recent reports from the National Research Council. In Taking Science to School, America’s Lab Report and Learning Science in Informal Environments, various expert committees developed frameworks and criteria for effective science learning, based on existing evidence. These reports contain much of the information that can guide best practice in science education, and, if applied widely in and out of classrooms, may help improve student performance on tests like PISA.

These books and other titles from the National Research Council can inform discussion and provide guidance to promote science education.

Taking Science to School Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8

What is science for a child? How do children learn about science and how to do science? Drawing on a vast array of work from neuroscience to classroom observation, Taking Science to School provides a comprehensive picture of what we know about…
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Ready, Set, SCIENCE! Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms

Podcast available here.

What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to…
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America's Lab Report America’s Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science

Laboratory experiences as a part of most U.S. high science curricula have been taken for granted for decades, but they have rarely been carefully examined. What do they contribute to science learning? What can they contribute to science learning? What is the…
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Learning Science in Informal Environments Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits

Podcast available here.

Informal science is a burgeoning field that operates across a broad range of venues and envisages learning outcomes for individuals, schools, families, and society. The evidence base that describes informal science, its promise, and effects is informed by a…
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Surrounded by Science Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments

Practitioners in informal science settings–museums, after-school programs, science and technology centers, media enterprises, libraries, aquariums, zoos, and botanical gardens–are interested in finding out what learning looks like, how to measure it, and…
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Engineering in K-12 Education Engineering in K-12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects

Engineering education in K-12 classrooms is a small but growing phenomenon that may have implications for engineering and also for the other “STEM” subjects–science, technology, and mathematics. Specifically, engineering education may improve student…
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Exploring the Intersection of Science Education and 21st Century Skills Exploring the Intersection of Science Education and 21st Century Skills: A Workshop Summary

An emerging body of research suggests that a set of broad “21st century skills”–such as adaptability, complex communication skills, and the ability to solve non-routine problems–are valuable across a wide range of jobs in the national economy. However, the..
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Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8 Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8: Building a Village in California: Summary of a Convocation

K-8 science education in California (as in many other parts of the country) is in a state of crisis. K-8 students in California spend too little time studying science, many of their teachers are not well prepared in the subject, and the support system for..
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Systems for State Science Assessment Systems for State Science Assessment

In response to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), Systems for State Science Assessment explores the ideas and tools that are needed to assess science learning at the state level. This book provides a detailed examination of K-12 science..
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How Students Learn How Students Learn: Science in the Classroom

How Students Learn: Science in the Classroom builds on the discoveries detailed in the best-selling How People Learn. Now these findings are presented in a way that teachers can use immediately, to revitalize their work in the classroom for even..
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How People Learn How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition

This popular trade book, originally released in hardcover in the Spring of 1999, has been newly expanded to show how the theories and insights from the original book can translate into actions and practice, now making a real connection between classroom…
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Take 5: Top 5 Books on Education

The teachers on your list may not always be the easiest people to shop for during the holidays. It should come as no surprise that we have recommendations. Take five and finish your holiday shopping with our most-recommended books for the scientifically-minded teacher.

Surrounded by Science Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments

Practitioners in informal science settings–museums, after-school programs, science and technology centers, media enterprises, libraries, aquariums, zoos, and botanical gardens–are interested in finding out what learning looks like, how to measure it, and…
Details

Ready, Set, SCIENCE! Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms

What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, school administrators need to know to…
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Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity

Early childhood mathematics is vitally important for young children’s present and future educational success. Research has demonstrated that virtually all young children have the capability to learn and become competent in mathematics. Furthermore, young…
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How People Learn How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition

This popular trade book, originally released in hardcover in the Spring of 1999, has been newly expanded to show how the theories and insights from the original book can translate into actions and practice, now making a real connection between classroom…
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From Neurons to Neighborhoods From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development

How we raise young children is one of today’s most highly personalized and sharply politicized issues, in part because each of us can claim some level of “expertise.” The debate has intensified as discoveries about our development-in the womb and in the first…
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Future Trends for Doctorate Degree Programs

On September 14th, a Council of Graduate Schools report found that for the 2008-2009 academic year, women earned a majority of doctorate degrees. While women have been earning the majority of master’s degrees, this was the first year that women took the lead in doctorate degrees as well.

Yesterday, the National Academies released A Data-Based Assessment of Research Doctorate Programs in the United States. This report assesses U.S. research doctorate programs, ranking academic programs in 62 major fields based on a variety of characteristics, including measures of faculty diversity.

Earlier this year, the National Academies published Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Faculty. Using original data from surveys of faculty at major U.S. research universities, Gender Differences paints a picture of the status of female faculty.

Links to more information about these and other National Academies reports that may also interest you are listed below.

Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty

Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty presents new and surprising findings about career differences between female and male full-time, tenure-track, and tenured faculty in science, engineering, and mathematics at the nation’s top …
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A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States

A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States provides an unparalleled dataset that can be used to assess the quality and effectiveness of doctoral programs based on measures important to faculty, students, administrators, funders, and other stakeholders…
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To Recruit and Advance To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in Science and Engineering

Although more women than men participate in higher education in the United States, the same is not true when it comes to pursuing careers in science and engineering. To Recruit and Advance: Women Students and Faculty in Science and Engineering identifies and…
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Beyond Bias and Barriers Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering

The United States economy relies on the productivity, entrepreneurship, and creativity of its people. To maintain its scientific and engineering leadership amid increasing economic and educational globalization, the United States must aggressively pursue the…
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Educating the Engineer of 2020 Educating the Engineer of 2020: Adapting Engineering Education to the New Century

Phase I in the Engineer of 2020 project, Visions of Engineering in the New Century, described a set of
attributes that are expected to be necessary for engineers that will perform well in a world that is driven by rapid
technological advancement,…
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In the Nation's Compelling Interest In the Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health Care Workforce

The United States is rapidly transforming into one of the most racially and ethnically diverse nations in the world. Groups commonly referred to as minorities–including Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and…
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Bridges to Independence Bridges to Independence: Fostering the Independence of New Investigators in Biomedical Research

A rising median age at which PhDs receive their first research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is among the factors forcing academic biomedical researchers to spend longer periods of time before they can set their own research directions and…
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Explore Free Case Studies from Surrounded by Science


Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments is designed to facilitate informal science learning. Based on the National Research Council study, Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits, this book is a tool that provides case studies, illustrative examples, and probing questions for practitioners. In short, this book makes valuable research accessible to those working in informal science: educators, museum professionals, university faculty, youth leaders, media specialists, publishers, broadcast journalists, and many others.

Surrounded by Science is filled with case studies of informal science activities. Here we present three of them for you to download at no cost. If you decide to replicate or adapt these activities for your own use, be sure to visit our Facebook page and let us know how it goes!

Research in Your Backyard: Participating in the Practices of Science

Download a free PDF of this case study

bakcyard
celllab

Cell Lab: An Opportunity to Interact with Scientific Instruments

Download a free PDF of this case study

Culturally Relevant Exhibits for People with Disabilities

Download a free PDF of this case study

disabilities

The Five Most Shared Books On NAP.edu

buzz_this_screenshotYou may have noticed that there’s a new button in the group of sharing features at the top of each book page: a link to allow you to share a book on Google Buzz and/or Google Reader (you can follow NAP on Google Buzz, too). It’s one more option to make it even easier to share a book’s catalog page, the free online version of a book (which we call “open books”) or any of the single pages of an open book.

Since we have sharing on the mind, we thought this would be a good time to show you the top five most shared books on nap.edu since we put in the sharing tools this time last year. Here they are, in order of popularity:

See the most popular books

New books this week: Climate’s Influence on Human Evolution and more

Featured Publication

Understanding Climate’s Influence on Human Evolution (prepublication)

The hominin fossil record documents a history of critical evolutionary events that have ultimately shaped and defined what it means to be human, including the origins of bipedalism; the emergence of our genus Homo; the first use of stone tools; increases in brain size; and the emergence of Homo sapiens, tools, and culture. The geological record suggests that some of these evolutionary events were coincident with substantial changes in African and Eurasian climate, raising the intriguing possibility that key junctures in human evolution and behavioral development may have been affected or controlled by the environmental characteristics of the areas where hominins evolved. However, with both a sparse hominin fossil record and an incomplete understanding of past climates, the particular effect of the environment on hominin evolution remains speculative. This presents an opportunity for exciting and fundamental scientific research to improve our understanding of how climate may have helped to shape our species, and thereby to shed light on the evolutionary forces that made us distinctively human.

All New Publications This Week

Promoting Chemical Laboratory Safety and Security in Developing Countries (prepublication)

Evaluation of the Health and Safety Risks of the New USAMRIID High Containment Facilities at Fort Detrick, Maryland (prepublication)

NOAA’s Education Program: Review and Critique (prepublication)

Seventeenth Interim Report of the Committee on Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (final)

Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments (final)

Electricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments (final)

New Books: Gaming, Science Education, Water Quality and More

Our weekly roundup of the new books on the NAP site this week includes a technical assessment of modeling, simulation and gaming, a look at science education in the 21st century and a couple of publications around energy.

Featured Publication

The Rise of Games and High Performance Computing for Modeling and Simulation (prepublication)

The technical and cultural boundaries between modeling, simulation, and games are increasingly blurring, providing broader access to capabilities in modeling and simulation and further credibility to game-based applications. The purpose of this study is to provide a technical assessment of Modeling, Simulation, and Games (MS&G) research and development worldwide and to identify future applications of this technology and its potential impacts on government and society. Further, this study identifies feasible applications of gaming and simulation for military systems; associated vulnerabilities of, risks to, and impacts on critical defense capabilities; and other significant indicators and warnings that can help prevent or mitigate surprises related to technology applications by those with hostile intent. Finally, this book recommends priorities for future action by appropriate departments of the intelligence community, the Department of Defense research community, and other government entities.

The Rise of Games and High Performance Computing for Modeling and Simulation will serve as a useful tutorial and reference document for this particular era in the evolution of MS&G. The book also highlights a number of rising capabilities facilitated by MS&G to watch for in the coming years.

All New Publications This Week

Exploring the Intersection of Science Education and 21st Century Skills: A Workshop Summary (final)

Realizing the Energy Potential of Methane Hydrate for the United States (prepublication)

Medical Surge Capacity: Workshop Summary (prepublication)

Review and Assessment of Closure Plans for the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility and the Chemical Agent Munition Disposal System: Letter Report (final)

Driving and the Built Environment: The Effects of Compact Development on Motorized Travel, Energy Use, and CO2 Emissions — Special Report 298 (final)

Data on Federal Research and Development Investments: A Pathway to Modernization (final)

Improving State Voter Registration Databases: Final Report (final)

Protecting and Accessing Data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates: A Workshop Summary (final)

Technical Capabilities Necessary for Systemic Risk Regulation: Summary of a Workshop (final)

Letter Report Assessing the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program’s Science Framework (final)

New Books This Week on NAP

Friday brings us once again to the end of the work week and a roundup of the books that were new to nap.edu this week. Almost all of our books can be read online for free, and many have free PDFs to download, so check under each book’s title in this post for links to read online or if a free PDF is available.

Assessing and Improving Value in Cancer Care: Workshop Summary (final)

Unlike many other areas in health care, the practice of oncology presents unique challenges that make assessing and improving value especially complex. First, patients and professionals feel a well-justified sense of urgency to treat for cure, and if cure is not possible, to extend life and reduce the burden of disease. Second, treatments are often both life sparing and highly toxic. Third, distinctive payment structures for cancer medicines are intertwined with practice. Fourth, providers often face tremendous pressure to apply the newest technologies to patients who fail to respond to established treatments, even when the evidence supporting those technologies is incomplete or uncertain, and providers may be reluctant to stop toxic treatments and move to palliation, even at the end of life. Finally, the newest and most novel treatments in oncology are among the most costly in medicine.

This volume summarizes the results of a workshop that addressed these issues from multiple perspectives, including those of patients and patient advocates, providers, insurers, health care researchers, federal agencies, and industry. Its broad goal was to describe value in oncology in a complete and nuanced way, to better inform decisions regarding developing, evaluating, prescribing, and paying for cancer therapeutics.

Interacademy Programs Between the United States and Eastern Europe 1967-2009: The Changing Landscape (final)

Improving the Measurement of Late-Life Disability in Population Surveys: Beyond ADLs and IADLs: Summary of a Workshop (final)

Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public: A Summary of the February 2009 Summit (final)

Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century (prepublication)

Nurturing and Sustaining Effective Programs in Science Education for Grades K-8: Building a Village in California: Summary of a Convocation (final)