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The Cost of Inaction for Young Children Globally: Workshop Summary (2014)

September 18, 2014 Comments off

The Cost of Inaction for Young Children Globally: Workshop Summary (2014)
Source: Institute of Medicine (IOM); National Research Council

The Cost of Inaction for Young Children Globally is the summary of a workshop hosted by the Institute of Medicine Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally in April 2014 to focus on investments in young children and the cost of inaction. Participants explored existing, new, and innovative science and research from around the world to translate this evidence into sound and strategic investments in policies and practices that will make a difference in the lives of children and their caregivers. This report discusses intersections across health, education, nutrition, living conditions, and social protection and how investments of economic, natural, social, and other resources can sustain or promote early childhood development and well-being.

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An All-of-Government Approach to Increase Resilience for International Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) Events

September 16, 2014 Comments off

An All-of-Government Approach to Increase Resilience for International Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) Events
Source: National Research Council

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high-yield Explosive (CBRNE) events have the potential to destabilize governments, create conditions that exacerbate violence or promote terrorism. This can trigger global repercussions. These events can quickly overwhelm the infrastructure and capability of the responders, especially in countries that do not have the specialized resources for response like those available in the United States. When a CBRNE incident occurs in a partner nation or other foreign country, the U.S. is often called upon to provide assistance. Interoperability – the ability to work together – among U.S. agencies, foreign governments, and responders involved in the effort is key to an efficient response. The effectiveness of the U.S. response and approach to CBRNE events in partner nations depends on the capability of the U.S. government to provide timely and appropriate assistance and the resilience of the partner nation to a CBRNE event.

An All-of-Government Approach to Increase Resilience for International Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) Events is the summary of a workshop convened in June 2013 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Research Council to discuss ways to strengthen the U.S. ability to prepare for and respond to CBRNE events that occur in U.S. partner nations. The workshop brought together diverse experts and stakeholders to identify capabilities that are necessary for responding to an international CBRNE event; discuss best practices and resources needed for improved interoperability of the U.S. and partner nation during response to a CBRNE event; and identify key questions that need to be addressed in follow up activities focused on improving U.S. CBRNE response in partner nations.

Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform: The Federal Role (2014)

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform: The Federal Role (2014)
Source: National Research Council

In the past decade, a number of state, local, and tribal jurisdictions have begun to take significant steps to overhaul their juvenile justice systems – for example, reducing the use of juvenile detention and out-of-home placement, bringing greater attention to racial and ethnic disparities, looking for ways to engage affected families in the process, and raising the age at which juvenile court jurisdiction ends. These changes are the result of heightening awareness of the ineffectiveness of punitive practices and accumulating knowledge about adolescent development. Momentum for reform is growing. However, many more state, local, and tribal jurisdictions need assistance, and practitioners in the juvenile justice field are looking for guidance from the federal government, particularly from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in the Department of Justice.

Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform identifies and prioritizes strategies and policies to effectively facilitate reform of the juvenile justice system and develop an implementation plan for OJJDP. Based on the 2013 report Reforming Juvenile Justice, this report is designed to provide specific guidance to OJJDP regarding the steps that it should take, both internally and externally, to facilitate juvenile justice reform grounded in knowledge about adolescent development. The report identifies seven hallmarks of a developmental approach to juvenile justice to guide system reform: accountability without criminalization, alternatives to justice system involvement, individualized response based on needs and risks, confinement only when necessary for public safety, genuine commitment to fairness, sensitivity to disparate treatment, and family engagement. Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform outlines how these hallmarks should be incorporated into policies and practices within OJJDP, as well as in actions extended to state, local, and tribal jurisdictions to achieve the goals of the juvenile justice system through a developmentally informed approach.

This report sets forth a detailed and prioritized strategic plan for the federal government to support and facilitate developmentally oriented juvenile justice reform. The pivotal component of the plan is to strengthen the role, capacity, and commitment of OJJDP, the lead federal agency in the field. By carrying out the recommendations of Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform, the federal government will both reaffirm and advance the promise of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

Review of the Formaldehyde Assessment in the National Toxicology Program 12th Report on Carcinogens

August 13, 2014 Comments off

Review of the Formaldehyde Assessment in the National Toxicology Program 12th Report on Carcinogens
Source: National Research Council

Many people in the United States are exposed to formaldehyde. Exposure can occur from environmental sources (for example, combustion processes, building materials, and tobacco smoke) or in occupational settings (for example, the furniture, textile, and construction industries). Formaldehyde exposure also has endogenous sources–it is produced intracellularly as a component of the one carbon pool intermediary metabolism pathway. Scientists have studied formaldehyde for decades to determine whether exogenous formaldehyde exposure may be associated with cancer in humans. In 1981, The National Toxicology Program (NTP) first listed formaldehyde in the 2nd Report on Carcinogens as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. In 2011, NTP upgraded the listing of formaldehyde to “known to be a human carcinogen”. Following the new listing, Congress directed the Department of Health and Human Services to arrange for the National Academy of Sciences to independently review formaldehyde’s substance profile and listing. This report presents the findings and conclusions of the committee formed in response to the congressional request.

Review of the Formaldehyde Assessment in the National Toxicology Program 12th Report on Carcinogens concurs with NTP that there is sufficient evidence in studies that had adequate characterization of relevant exposure metrics to enable a strong conclusion about the association between formaldehyde exposure and cancer in humans. Additionally, the authoring committee independently reviewed the scientific evidence from studies in humans, experimental animals, and other studies relevant to the mechanisms of carcinogenesis and made level-of-evidence conclusions. This report finds clear and convincing epidemiologic evidence of an association between formaldehyde exposure and nasopharyngeal and sinonasal cancers in humans.

Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging: Workshop Summary (2014)

May 27, 2014 Comments off

Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging: Workshop Summary (2014)
Source: Institute of Medicine/National Research Council

Being able to communicate is a cornerstone of healthy aging. People need to make themselves understood and to understand others to remain cognitively and socially engaged with families, friends, and other individuals. When they are unable to communicate, people with hearing impairments can become socially isolated, and social isolation can be an important driver of morbidity and mortality in older adults. Despite the critical importance of communication, many older adults have hearing loss that interferes with their social interactions and enjoyment of life. People may turn up the volume on their televisions or stereos, miss words in a conversation, go to fewer public places where it is difficult to hear, or worry about missing an alarm or notification. In other cases, hearing loss is much more severe, and people may retreat into a hard-to-reach shell. Yet fewer than one in seven older Americans with hearing loss use hearing aids, despite rapidly advancing technologies and innovative approaches to hearing health care. In addition, there may not be an adequate number of professionals trained to address the growing need for hearing health care for older adults. Further, Medicare does not cover routine hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids, which can be prohibitively expensive for many older adults.

Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging is the summary of a workshop convened by the Forum on Aging, Disability, and Independence in January 2014 on age-related hearing loss. Researchers, advocates, policy makers, entrepreneurs, regulators, and others discussed this pressing social and public health issue. This report examines the ways in which age-related hearing loss affects healthy aging, and how the spectrum of public and private stakeholders can work together to address hearing loss in older adults as a public health issue.

At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues

May 20, 2014 Comments off

At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues
Source: National Research Council

We depend on information and information technology (IT) to make many of our day-to-day tasks easier and more convenient. Computers play key roles in transportation, health care, banking, and energy. Businesses use IT for payroll and accounting, inventory and sales, and research and development. Modern military forces use weapons that are increasingly coordinated through computer-based networks. Cybersecurity is vital to protecting all of these functions. Cyberspace is vulnerable to a broad spectrum of hackers, criminals, terrorists, and state actors. Working in cyberspace, these malevolent actors can steal money, intellectual property, or classified information; impersonate law-abiding parties for their own purposes; damage important data; or deny the availability of normally accessible services. Cybersecurity issues arise because of three factors taken together – the presence of malevolent actors in cyberspace, societal reliance on IT for many important functions, and the presence of vulnerabilities in IT systems. What steps can policy makers take to protect our government, businesses, and the public from those would take advantage of system vulnerabilities?

At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy offers a wealth of information on practical measures, technical and nontechnical challenges, and potential policy responses. According to this report, cybersecurity is a never-ending battle; threats will evolve as adversaries adopt new tools and techniques to compromise security. Cybersecurity is therefore an ongoing process that needs to evolve as new threats are identified. At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy is a call for action to make cybersecurity a public safety priority. For a number of years, the cybersecurity issue has received increasing public attention; however, most policy focus has been on the short-term costs of improving systems. In its explanation of the fundamentals of cybersecurity and the discussion of potential policy responses, this book will be a resource for policy makers, cybersecurity and IT professionals, and anyone who wants to understand threats to cyberspace.

U.S. Should Significantly Reduce Rate of Incarceration; Unprecedented Rise in Prison Population ‘Not Serving the Country Well,’ Says New Report

May 2, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Should Significantly Reduce Rate of Incarceration; Unprecedented Rise in Prison Population ‘Not Serving the Country Well,’ Says New Report
Source: National Research Council

Given the minimal impact of long prison sentences on crime prevention and the negative social consequences and burdensome financial costs of U.S. incarceration rates, which have more than quadrupled in the last four decades, the nation should revise current criminal justice policies to significantly reduce imprisonment rates, says a new report from the National Research Council.

A comprehensive review of data led the committee that wrote the report to conclude that the costs of the current rate of incarceration outweigh the benefits. The committee recommended that federal and state policymakers re-examine policies requiring mandatory and long sentences, as well as take steps to improve prison conditions and to reduce unnecessary harm to the families and communities of those incarcerated. In addition, it recommended a reconsideration of drug crime policy, given the apparently low effectiveness of a heightened enforcement strategy that resulted in a tenfold increase in the incarceration rate for drug offenses from 1980 to 2010 — twice the rate for other crimes.

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