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Birnbaum elected to Institute of Medicine

By Eddy Ball
November 2010

NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.
With her expertise in environmental public health and primary prevention, Birnbaum will add to the diversity of the IOM Class of 2011. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., became one of the newly elected members of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies Oct 1. She will join other new members of what is known as the IOM Class of 2011, during a formal welcome at the group's next annual meeting Oct. 16-17, 2011 (see text box).

In his notification to Birnbaum, IOM President Harvey Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., pointed to Birnbaum's "professional achievement and demonstrated interest, concern, and involvement with problems and critical issues that affect the health of the public."

IOM's more than 1,700 members and foreign associates are distinguished scientists chosen from the ranks of government at all levels, educational institutions and non-profit organizations, and the private sector. IOM selects as many as 65 new members and up to five new foreign associates each year.

The IOM is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government, to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public. According to the IOM, more than 2,000 individuals, members, and non-members volunteer their time, knowledge, and expertise each year to advance the nation's health through the work of the IOM.

IOM asks and answers the nation's most pressing questions about health and health care in reports authored by committees of leading national and international scientists. The 2010 IOM reports highlight such topics as "The Future of Nursing," "Antibiotic Resistance," and "Breast Cancer and the Environment." Currently underway at the request of the U.S. government is "The 1946-1948 Public Health Service STD Inoculation Study," investigating the scientific and ethical issues surrounding this controversial chapter in the history of American medical research.

IOM logo

Established in 1970, the IOM is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which was chartered under President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Nearly 150 years later, the National Academy of Sciences has expanded into what is collectively known as the National Academies, which comprises the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, National Research Council, and IOM.

NIH leaders join the Institute of Medicine

Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

Jeremy Berg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

Ira Pastan, M.D., chief of the Laboratory of Cell Biology, Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Thomas Wellems, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Carl Wu, Ph.D., chief of the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Center for Cancer Research at NCI

More detailed summaries are available in the NIH press release ( Exit NIEHS.

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