Judith A. Salerno, MD

President Emeritus and Senior Scholar, New York Academy of Medicine

Judith A. Salerno, MD's Bio

Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS, is President Emeritus and Senior Scholar at NYAM.

Dr. Salerno served as President of The New York Academy of Medicine from September 2017 through September 2022, leading its strategic vision to advance health equity.

Dr. Salerno is a physician executive and one of the nation’s pre-eminent leaders in health and health care. Prior to coming to NYAM, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Susan G. Komen ™, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, with over $2.9 billion invested in research, community health and advocacy. During her tenure from 2013 to 2016, she oversaw global operations, guided the development of a new strategic direction and re-branding for the organization, and directed the launch of an innovative $27 million, 10-city health equity initiative.

She joined Komen from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now the National Academy of Medicine, where she was the Leonard D. Schaeffer Executive Officer, serving as executive director and chief operating officer. In that role, she was responsible for directing the IOM’s research and policy programs and guiding the Institute’s operations on a daily basis. While at IOM, she led its partnership with HBO to create an Emmy-nominated documentary series in 2013 on America’s obesity epidemic, The Weight of the Nation, and co-authored a companion book that examined the crisis and proposed solutions. She also oversaw over 150 consensus study reports and IOM’s policy forums, a consortium of government, industry, academic, consumer, and other representatives that identifies and examines emerging high-priority policy issues.

Previous to IOM, Dr. Salerno served as Deputy Director of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She oversaw over $1 billion in aging research conducted and supported annually by the Institute, including research on Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, frailty and function in late life, and the social, behavioral and demographic aspects of aging. In that role, she designed public-private initiatives to address aging stereotypes, novel approaches to support training of new investigators in aging, and programs to communicate health and research advances to the public.

As Chief Consultant for Geriatrics and Extended Care for the national Veterans Health Administration, Dr. Salerno had oversight responsibility for all geriatrics and long-term care programs for the VA health system and launched widely recognized national initiatives for pain management and improved end-of-life care. She also co-founded the Washington D.C. Area Geriatric Education Center Consortium, a collaboration of more than 160 educational and community organizations within the Baltimore-Washington region.

Dr. Salerno was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2018 and was elected as a Fellow of The New York Academy of Medicine in 2017. She currently serves as a Member of the National Academy of Medicine Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness and is on the Advisory Board of the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics and the Syneos DEI Advisory Council.

Dr. Salerno is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Meritorious Service Award, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (2001); NIH Director’s Award (2003, 2005, 2008); Surgeon General’s Crisis Response Service Award, U.S. Public Health Service (2006); Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Award of Merit (2020); and Community Service Award, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Greater Washington D.C. (2020). She was also a 2019 National Honoree of the National Organization of Italian American Women, was recognized by City & State New York on its Health Power 50 list in 2019 and 2020, and received a Doctor of Humane Letters (hon.) from Stonehill College in 2021.

A board-certified physician in internal medicine, Dr. Salerno earned her MD degree from Harvard Medical School and a Master of Science degree in Health Policy from the Harvard School of Public Health. She has three adult children and is an avid baseball fan.

Recent Work