The National Acad­e­mies’ Insti­tute of Med­i­cine (IOM) strives to turn the evidence-​​based rec­om­men­da­tions of its mem­bers into policy solu­tions for national prob­lems, such as child­hood obe­sity and health­care cov­erage for pre­ven­tive ser­vices. “It’s all about impact,” said Judith Salerno, the institute’s Leonard D. Scha­effer Exec­u­tive Officer.

I have two huge book­cases full of won­derful, beau­tiful IOM reports with lovely covers and great art­work,” she added. “But that’s not what the IOM is about. It’s about get­ting those books off the shelves and get­ting them into policy.”

Salerno addressed more than 200 stu­dents, fac­ulty, staff and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity on Monday morning at the inau­gural lec­ture in the Bouvé Dean’s Sem­inar Series held in the Raytheon Amphithe­ater at North­eastern University.

The Dean’s Sem­inar Series will con­tinue today with a lec­ture by Jo Ivey Bouf­ford, of the New York Academy of Med­i­cine. The lec­ture — titled “Is America’s Health Care Policy Healthy?” — will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Raytheon Amphitheater.

The IOM, which exists out­side of gov­ern­ment, is a non-​​partisan, inde­pen­dent, and evidence-​​based con­sor­tium that offers science-​​backed advice to policy makers. It is made up of 1,600 elected mem­bers at the top of their respec­tive fields.

Terry Fulmer, dean of the Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences and an IOM member, wel­comed stu­dents to the lec­ture. “You are the future of the IOM and we know that,” she told them.

The IOM also aims to inform both patient groups and the gen­eral public on health issues through readily acces­sible info-​​graphics and wid­gets. For her part, Salerno’s goal at the insti­tute is to “put into prac­tice dif­ferent ways to have an impact.”

She showed-​​off a “ther­mometer” cal­i­brated in degrees of impact that dis­played exam­ples of the IOM’s suc­cesses. At the bottom of the ther­mometer lies the not-​​so-​​simple task of spreading the mes­sage about health-​​care issues that don’t get a lot of national atten­tion, such as the impact of poor dental care on overall health.

Salerno said the most effec­tive projects are those that cause change, such as the IOM’s rec­om­men­da­tions on pre­ven­tive women’s health, which were adopted into the Afford­able Care Act within two weeks of the report’s release.

Being unaf­fil­i­ated with polit­ical and busi­ness groups, she noted, allows the IOM to address the health-​​care needs of vul­ner­able pop­u­la­tions that others are not willing to touch, such as the les­bian and gay com­mu­nity and chil­dren strug­gling to con­trol their weight.

Over the last 10 years, the IOM has issued a suite of studies that have changed the mes­sage behind child­hood obe­sity, Salerno said. “The obe­sity epi­demic in this country is more than an issue of per­sonal will,” she explained. “It is about the envi­ron­ments that we put our chil­dren and our­selves in or the lack of envi­ron­ments that sup­port healthy eating and phys­ical activity for our families.”