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Director’s Update: Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies Announces New Members

On October 8, 2007, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) added 65 individuals to its membership of nearly 1,700. The organization also elected four individuals as foreign associates. Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the medicine and health fields. Current, active membership elects new members annually from candidates nominated for professional achievement and commitment to service. The IOM’s charter creates diversity in membership by specifying that at least a quarter of the members come from outside health professions, in fields including natural and social sciences, law, administration, engineering, and the humanities.

The IOM is part of the National Academy of Sciences, which was created in 1970 by a Congressional charter. A nonprofit organization, the IOM was established to provide evidence-based information on biomedical science, medicine, and health to policy-makers, professionals, and the public. The Academy and its associated organizations, including the IOM, are private, non-governmental organizations that do not receive direct federal appropriations. Agencies, such as the NIH, often choose to fund studies undertaken for the government by the Academy.

The National Institute of Mental Health provides or has provided funding to four of the IOM’s new members:

  • Richard A. Andersen, Ph.D., James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience, division of biology, California Institute of Technology, who is studying parietal-frontal circuits for movement planning. The study aims to help design therapies for patients with conditions including stroke and traumatic brain injury.
  • Emery N. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital Professor of Anaesthesia, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and professor of computational neuroscience, health sciences, and technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is studying neurons in the rat hippocampal formation that play a role in spatial information coding.
  • Aravinda Chakravarti, Ph.D., professor of medicine, pediatrics, molecular biology, and genetics, and director, Center for Complex Disease Genomics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who has studied genetic influences on several mental disorders, including schizophrenia and autism.
  • K. Ranga Rama Krishnan, M.B., Ch.B., professor and chair, department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Duke University Medical Center, and executive vice dean, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore, who is studying the neurobiological mechanisms of depression.