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The Mary Frances Picciano Dietary Supplement Research Practicum

Speaker Information

Regan Bailey

Regan Bailey, Ph.D., R.D., is a Professor in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, and directs the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Purdue Diet Assessment Center. Prior to Purdue, Dr. Bailey was a Nutritional Epidemiologist and Director of Career Development and Outreach at the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Dr. Bailey is a Registered Dietitian who completed a dietetic internship and M.S. in Food and Nutrition from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bailey received her Ph.D. in Nutrition Science from The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Bailey completed an M.P.H from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. The focus of research in the Bailey lab is to improve the methods of measuring nutritional status to optimize health. She utilizes nationally-representative survey data to characterize the American dietary landscape, to identify the optimal methods for assessment of biomarkers of nutritional status, and importantly, to understand how dietary intakes relate to health outcomes. Her work has identified differences in nutritional exposures by gender, race, ethnicity, age, and income, suggesting the need for population-specific, interventions and public health policy to interventions and policies. She is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine for her research contributions.

Joe Betz

Joseph M. Betz, Ph.D., is Acting Director of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health. From 2002 to 2018, he was Director of the ODS Analytical Methods and Reference Materials Program. This NIH program is congressionally mandated and is responsible for supporting the development and validation of analytical methods and reference materials for dietary supplements (DS).

A pharmacognosist by training, he has research interests in botanical quality and over 100 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Betz has more than 30 years of experience in public health agencies. In addition to his time at NIH, he was a research chemist at FDA/CFSAN, where he directed a research program that developed methods for the measurement of phytochemicals. Dr. Betz was a member of the Expert Scientific Advisory Committee to Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate and volunteers on the USP’s Expert Committee on Botanical Dietary Supplements. He serves on the International Advisory Board for Chinese Materia Medica Standards, Hong Kong Department of Health, NSF International’s ANSI committee on DS, and the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO/TC 249 (Traditional Chinese Medicine). A member of AOAC since 1988 he is a long time AOAC volunteer, beginning as General Referee for Plant Toxins/DS from 1992-2001. He served on the editorial board of the JAOAC International from 2010-2016, board chair from 2016-2020, and is a current member of the TDRM Executive Committee. Dr. Betz is a Fellow of AOAC International, recipient of AOAC’s TDRM Award and Harvey W. Wiley Award, the American Botanical Council's Norman R. Farnsworth Award, and the American Society of Pharmacognosy’s Tyler Prize.

Tod Cooperman

Tod Cooperman, M.D., is a noted researcher, writer, and commentator on consumer health care issues and is the president and founder of and

Recognizing a lack of quality standards and oversight in the U.S. dietary supplement industry, Dr. Cooperman founded in 1999 along with an FDA scientist. has become the leading independent evaluator of dietary supplements, publishing reports for consumers and health professionals at Dr. Cooperman has been called as an expert witness by committees of both U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to give testimony regarding the quality and regulation of dietary supplements.

In 2002, responding to the rapid growth in online pharmacies, Dr. Cooperman founded, which independently evaluates online pharmacies in the United States, Canada, and worldwide. The company’s website,, is also a popular drug price comparison site for consumers seeking affordable medication from independently verified pharmacies.

Prior to starting his current companies, Dr. Cooperman was president of CareData Reports, which he founded in 1994. CareData was a leading managed care consumer research company later acquired by J.D. Power and Associates.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Cooperman was involved in the assessment and development of products in the healthcare field, first as Business Analyst with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, then as Director of Business Development for the biotechnology company Synaptic Pharmaceuticals, and then as a Consultant with the pharmaceutical and medical device consulting firm, The Wilkerson Group.

Cindy D. Davis

Cindy D. Davis, Ph.D., is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) director of grants and extramural activities, encouraging partnerships with other NIH Institutes and Centers to facilitate funding of important research on dietary supplements. Before coming to ODS, she was a program director in the Nutritional Sciences Research Group for 9 years at the NIH National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Davis received her B.S. from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a minor in human cancer biology, and completed postdoctoral training at NCI. Prior to joining NIH, she was a research nutritionist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.

Tawana E. Davis

Tawana E. Davis, J.D., is an Assistant Director in the Division of Advertising Practices in the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission. Ms. Davis joined the Commission in 2002 as a staff attorney working primarily on health-related advertising matters. Ms. Davis has been a member of litigation teams in several federal district court and administrative cases including, FTC v. NPB Advertising, Inc. et al., 8:14-CV-01155 (M.D. FL.), FTC v. Russell Dalbey, 11-CV-1396 (D. Colo.), In the Matter of POM Wonderful, Docket. No. 9344, and FTC v. National Urological Group, No. 1:04-CV-3294 (N.D. Ga.). From 2007 to 2010, Ms. Davis served as an Attorney-Advisor to Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour working on consumer protection matters. Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Davis worked at the U.S. Department of Justice as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. and an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore, Maryland. She also served as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. in Brooklyn, New York and as a litigation associate at the law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel. Ms. Davis received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University.

Johanna Dwyer

Johanna Dwyer, D.Sc., R.D., attended Cornell University and received her M.S. from the University of Wisconsin and her M.Sc. and D.Sc. from the Harvard School of Public Health. After several years on the faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health, she moved to Tufts University and New England Medical Center (now Tufts Medical Center), where she serves as director of the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at the Medical Center. She is a professor of medicine and community health at Tufts University School of Medicine and also at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts, as well as a senior scientist at the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts. Until 2010 she also served as an adjunct professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. She served as an assistant administrator for human nutrition at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (2001–2002) and as a senior nutrition scientist at the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health (2003–2011) while on the Tufts faculty through the interagency personnel acquisition program. She is now a senior nutrition scientist as a contractor at ODS. Dr. Dwyer was a member of the year 2000 Dietary Guidelines Committee and was a member of the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences for many years. She is also an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. and served on its Council.

Dr. Dwyer has written over 500 research and review articles in scientific journals and books. She is the editor of Nutrition Today, a comprehensive review journal, since 1995. The goal of Nutrition Today is to provide authoritative coverage of developments in nutrition science, nutrition policy, and the cultural aspects of food and nutrition to nutrition practitioners in all sectors. She is visiting faculty at the University of Maryland; was external examiner at the Irish National University, Dublin, Ireland (2015-18); and on the scientific review committee for A*STAR at the University of Singapore, Singapore (2016-18). Dr. Dwyer’s honors include membership in the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (elected 1998); the W.O. Atwater Award (1995); the Harvard School of Public Health Distinguished Alumnae Award (2004); the C.A. Elvehjem Award of the American Society of Nutrition (2005); fellow, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (2012); fellow, American Society for Nutrition ( 2004) and Institute of Food Technologists Trailblazer Award and Lectureship (2014); and the American Society for Nutrition’s Excellence in Nutrition Education Award ( 2015) and the Elaine Monsen award of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2020). She is past president of both the American Society of Nutrition (formerly the American Institute of Nutrition) and the Society for Nutrition Education, and a fellow of both organizations. She also served in Congress as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow.

Dr. Dwyer’s career has been devoted to expanding the scientific basis for clinical and public health interventions related to diet, especially in obesity, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease, and to ensuring that public policy fosters such efforts. She agrees with the view of her mentor, Jean Mayer, the late president of Tufts University, that nutrition is not only a discipline but an agenda of problems that must be solved.

Abby Ershow

Abby G. Ershow, Sc.D., R.D., FAHA, has served as a senior nutrition scientist at the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements since December 2014. She served as an extramural program director (nutrition) at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from 1989 to 2014. Prior to that, she was a staff fellow in the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Program of the National Cancer Institute from 1982 to 1989. She completed a detail assignment as a visiting analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2007.

Dr. Ershow was awarded the Sc.D. in nutrition, physiology, and biostatistics from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1979. She received a B.A. from Cornell University in biological sciences (physiology) in 1973. In 2006, she earned the Certificate in Public Leadership from the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC. Dr. Ershow also received certificates from the Balanced Scorecard Institute, Cary, NC, in strategic planning (2011) and performance measure development (2013).

A registered and Maryland-licensed dietitian, she is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the American Chemical Society. In 2007, she was elected a fellow of the American Heart Association. She is the author or co-author of 9 book chapters and over 50 peer-reviewed articles and monographs. She also was a coordinating editor for the only full-length text on conducting controlled diet studies in humans.

Dr. Ershow’s areas of interest include maternal and child health, cardiovascular nutrition, exercise physiology, preventive medicine, vascular biology, public health, nutritional epidemiology, nutrition and developmental disabilities, food chemistry, and metrics for evaluation of program effectiveness. A recent focus is assessment of iodine status and databases on the iodine content of foods and dietary supplements. Other longstanding interest areas include heart failure, diabetes, obesity, peripheral arterial disease, chronic kidney disease, and the use of biomedical engineering approaches to address nutrition research issues. She has particular expertise with interagency agreements and other collaborative funding mechanisms.

Jaime J. Gahche

Jaime J. Gahche, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined the NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) in January 2017 as a Nutritional Epidemiologist in the ODS Population Studies Program. Her work focuses on assessing the use of dietary supplements in the U.S. and investigating the role of dietary supplements in disease prevention and health promotion, using data from health surveys and epidemiologic studies.

Prior to joining ODS, Dr. Gahche worked as a nutritional epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics, in the Division of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). From 2005 to 2016, she directed the effort to collect and process dietary supplement data collected in NHANES. Throughout those years, Dr. Gahche also worked closely with colleagues at ODS to characterize dietary supplement usage in the U.S. population.

Dr. Gahche received her B.S. in nutritional sciences from Cornell University, her M.P.H. degree from The George Washington University, and her Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Bill J. Gurley

Bill J. Gurley, Ph.D., is Principal Scientist and director of the Clinical Research Facility within the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy. Prior to joining the NCNPR in 2019, Gurley was Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Pharmacy, Vice-Chair of the UAMS Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Chair of the UAMS Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. He is a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics as well as the USP’s Expert Panel on Dietary Supplements. Gurley also serves on the editorial boards of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, and Phytomedicine as well as the advisory board of the American Botanical Council. He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, abstracts, and book chapters in the areas of clinical pharmacokinetics, analytical method development, therapeutic drug monitoring, herbal dietary supplements, dietary supplement safety, and herb-drug interactions. His research interests include mechanisms of herb-drug interactions, toxicity of multiple-component herbal dietary supplements, phytochemical modulation of human drug-metabolizing enzymes and drug transport proteins, pharmacokinetics of phytochemicals in humans, and botanical supplement use in special populations. Dr. Gurley has been conducting pre-clinical and clinical research on botanical dietary supplements for more than 25 years. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Tennessee Technological University and his B.S. in pharmacy and Ph.D. in pharmaceutics from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Carol Haggans

Carol Haggans, M.S., R.D., is a scientific and health communications consultant with the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this role, she handles a variety of health communications activities including writing and updating the ODS dietary supplement fact sheets and the consumer-focused e-newsletter, The Scoop. She also leads the ODS public inquiry program, and researches and responds to inquiries from consumers, health professionals, and the media about dietary supplements. In addition, Ms. Haggans is a member of the NIH Nutrition Education Subcommittee, a group that reviews federally developed nutrition education materials written for the public to ensure consistency with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Ms. Haggans is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She received an M.S. in nutrition from the University of Minnesota where she conducted clinical research on the effects of flaxseed consumption on estrogen metabolism and breast cancer risk. Prior to that, Ms. Haggans worked in the information technology field as a manufacturing and technical service engineer after receiving a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Mary Hardy

Mary Hardy, M.D., board certified in internal medicine and a specialist in botanical and integrative medicine, has actively combined complementary and alternative therapies with traditional Western medicine for over twenty-five years in both her clinical practice and research projects. After completing her undergraduate studies at Vassar College, she returned to her hometown, New Orleans, to attend medical school at Louisiana State University. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Tufts New England Medical Center.

In 1998, Dr. Hardy founded the Integrative Medicine Clinic at Cedars-Sinai and participated in a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) funded research project that evaluated the barriers and facilitators of Integrative Medicine practice based on her clinic. She also has extensive experience in evaluating the evidence base for the efficacy and safety of complementary/integrative medicine as part of her work as a research associate at the RAND Corporation.

Over her five years at RAND, Dr. Hardy was the co-principle investigator in a number of systematic reviews of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) topics conducted in the Evidence Based Practice Center at RAND. Her projects there, sponsored by NCCAM, included assessing data for the safety of ephedra as well as the efficacy and safety of alternative cancer practices. She has served on and chaired several United States Pharmacopeia (USP) expert committees examining the safety of selected dietary supplements and chaired the USP committee, Dietary Supplements Safety Modeling Expert Panel. The panel is tasked with developing methodology to assess risk in multi-component dietary supplements (including botanical products). She has also served for years on the External Advisory Council for the Natural Product Directorate for the Canadian Ministry of Health assessing scientific issues pertinent to regulatory issues and serving as an expert in natural products risk assessment and clinical trial design.

Additionally, Dr. Hardy served for two and half years as the Associate Director of the UCLA Botanical Research Center, funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Her duties there included identifying high quality botanical extracts to be used in human and animal studies on the efficacy of herbal products to interrupt carcinogenesis. She was responsible for the identification of the plants, education of the fellows and researchers on the principles of botanical medicine and direction of the research projects as well as the assurance that tested samples were free of contaminants.

Dr. Hardy, the recent past Medical Director of the Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, is a recognized leader in the field of Integrative Oncology. She has served as a board member of the Society for Integrative Oncology and as co-leader of the Oncology Interest Group in the Consortium of Academic Health Centers of Integrative Medicine. She has been a member of the Stiles Integrative Oncology Center at UCLA and has been co-director of a fourth year elective in Integrative Oncology.

In an effort to improve oncology care for cancer patients, she serves as the medical director for Novateur, a startup company formed to facilitate the development and commercialization of a novel technique for sentinel lymph node identification. This project has completed the end of phase II meeting at the FDA and is preparing for stage III clinical trials.

She has also helped to establish the Integrative Medicine Health and Wellness Program at the Venice Family Clinic, the largest free clinic in the United States and served as the Co-director of that program. Dr. Hardy was co-director for the successful multi-disciplinary clinical program for the management of chronic pain that has been established as a result of her team’s efforts.

Dr. Hardy has recently completed a popular book for Readers Digest entitled Best Remedies and serves on a number of editorial and scientific advisory boards including the American Botanical Council, Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Phytomedicine and Integrative Medicine: A Clinicians Journal.

Dr. Hardy is recognized as an authority on integrative medicine and herbal/natural products by organizations such as the Office of Dietary Supplements, the California Medical Board, the Canadian government, the United States Pharmacopeia, American Medical Association, the American Pharmaceutical Association, National Geographic, CBS, NBC, Discovery Channel and the Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Hardy’s current research interests include reviewing the evidence for the safety and efficacy of natural therapies, especially botanicals as well as conducting clinical trials of dietary supplements and lifestyle choices to reduce toxicity and to improve outcomes of conventional cancer treatment. She also has a long-standing interest in patients who have shown exceptional responses during cancer care.

Jensen N. Jose works as Regulatory Counsel for The Center for Science in the Public Interest where he focuses on food additive and dietary supplement safety issues. Previously, Jensen served as Regulatory Policy Specialist for the American Optometric Association. He also worked as an associate counsel for the US Department of Veterans Affairs and a research associate for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Jensen earned his JD from the University of Maryland law school, and a BS in Biology and BA in Political Science from the University of Washington.

Adam J. Kuszak

Adam J. Kuszak, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist Administrator in the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and Director of the ODS Analytical Methods and Reference Materials Program (AMRM). Through AMRM, Dr. Kuszak works with stakeholders involved in research, industry, and regulatory affairs to support scientific resource development and promote biomedical research on the mechanisms and health effects of dietary supplements and natural products. In addition, Dr. Kuszak provides scientific expertise and analyses to facilitate ODS initiative development, program management, strategic planning, and evaluation. His primary research interests are in elucidating the mechanisms of action and effects on cellular signaling networks of natural products and drugs, and their chemical and biological characterization. Dr. Kuszak earned his B.S. in the Pharmacology-Toxicology Program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kuszak completed his postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and joined the ODS as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow in 2014.

Anthony W. Lee

Anthony W. Lee, J.D., M.P.A., joined the FDA’s Office of Dietary Supplement Programs (ODSP) in June 2019 as a Regulatory Counsel. His work focuses on development of strategic policy and compliance and enforcement priorities for ODSP, including development of compliance and enforcement strategies necessary to ensure that dietary supplement firms manufacture, market, and distribute their products in accordance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and related laws and regulations.

Mr. Lee continues to enjoy a long career with FDA, prior to joining ODSP he worked at the agency the previous 17 years in several positions as either an investigator or compliance officer. Mr. Lee serves on several agency workgroups that are responsible for evaluating legal actions and making recommendations to senior officials for dietary supplement compliance policy, programs, assignments and collaboration with the dietary supplement industry. In 2020, Mr. Lee lead the effort to revise the dietary supplement compliance program guidance manual and served as the project lead for several ODSP warning letter initiatives. Mr. Lee received his B.S. in biology from University of Maryland Eastern Shore and both his M.P.A. and J.D. from the University of Baltimore.

Andrea T. Lindsey

Andrea T. Lindsey, M.S., serves as Director of Operation Supplement Safety (OPSS) and Senior Nutrition Scientist with the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) at the Uniformed Services University (USU). At CHAMP her work encompasses the topic of dietary supplements, which involves reviewing, evaluating, and interpreting the scientific literature; translating the evidence into usable information for consumers; writing; and overseeing the Operation Supplement Safety website, products, and resources. Andrea also works closely with Federal partners, and other health professionals in and outside the military to exchange relevant and pertinent information about dietary supplement topics and issues.

Andrea has extensive experience in the field of dietary supplements, and she has considerable knowledge and understanding regarding the content, safety, labeling, regulation, and marketing of these products. Prior to joining USU in 2010, Andrea worked for more than 16 years on a cooperative project with the Food and Nutrition Information Center, National Agricultural Library, and the Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Prior to this work, Andrea worked in politics on Capitol Hill. Andrea received her Master of Science degree in Nutrition from University of Maryland, College Park, and she currently maintains membership in the American Society for Nutrition and the Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

Joyce Merkel

Joyce Merkel, M.S., R.D., is a science and health communications consultant contractor at the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), primarily working on dietary supplement literature databases, and in communication and promotion activities for the Office. Prior to coming to ODS, she was a nutrition information specialist for the Food and Nutrition Information Center at the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Library, working on the website; an assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University in Minnesota; a nutrition specialist for the North Dakota State University Extension Service; a Medicare and Medicaid surveyor for the North Dakota State Health Department; and a hospital clinical dietitian. She received her B.S. and M.S. in nutrition from North Dakota State University and performed doctoral work in nutrition at Syracuse University.

Jonathan Matthew Scott

Jonathan Matthew Scott, Ph.D., CSSD., R.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University. Prior to academic life, Dr. Scott was a sports dietitian at The Ohio State University, where he provided individualized and group counseling to athletes across 10 varsity sports teams. He conducts research and produces educational materials on a variety of topics related to performance nutrition and dietary supplements for the Department of Defense. He has worked in various capacities supporting the military for nearly 9 years. Dr. Scott is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Dr. Scott received his Ph.D. in health and rehabilitation sciences from The Ohio State University. Dr. Scott is a registered dietitian who completed a dietetic internship and M.S. in clinical nutrition at the Ohio State University. He has advanced training in sports nutrition and holds the distinction of being a board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Howard D. Sesso

Howard D. Sesso, Sc.D., M.P.H., FAHA, is an Associate Epidemiologist at the Divisions of Preventive Medicine and Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is an expert in the design, methodology, and conduct of randomized clinical trials and epidemiologic studies, focusing on vitamin and mineral supplements plus other lifestyle factors in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, obesity, cancer, and other aging-related outcomes. Dr. Sesso is Associate Director of the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH and is with Director of Nutrition Research and Co-Director of Hypertension Research. Dr. Sesso helps lead the Physicians’ Health Study, consisting of two separate completed clinical trials that have tested aspirin along with beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, and a multivitamin supplements on cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases in 29,071 men with multiple blood collections and decades of follow-up. Dr. Sesso is also testing vitamin D and fish oil supplements on 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure and hypertension risk in an ancillary study of the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL) trial, along with involvement in other VITAL ancillary studies. Dr. Sesso is Co-Principal Investigator of the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), an ongoing randomized, 2x2 factorial trial testing cocoa flavanol and multivitamin supplements in the prevention of CVD and cancer in 21,444 older women and men. Dr. Sesso has also led completed and ongoing short-term trials of various dietary supplements on cardiometabolic outcomes. Dr. Sesso has published more than 300 papers to date and teaches courses on clinical trials and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, and enjoys mentoring students and junior faculty.

Jay Edward Sirois

Jay Edward Sirois, Ph.D., is Senior Director of Regulatory & Scientific Affairs at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the 140-year-old national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. Dr. Sirois is responsible for regulatory and scientific affairs activities, including cooperative programs with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ingredient safety, and dietary supplement programs at CHPA. He is experienced in pharmaceutical, medical device, and dietary supplement regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, Rx-to-OTC switch, product safety, and clinical research.

Dr. Sirois is the current chair of the Dietary Supplements Sector of the USP Convention, and the former Chair of the steering committee for the Dietary Supplement Quality Collaborative, USP-led, multi-stakeholder and cross sector collaborative efforts aimed at improving the quality and safety of products marketed as dietary supplements. He is a member of the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society and is an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Dietary Supplements and Neurotoxicology. Dr. Sirois received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology (with a minor in Environmental Toxicology) from Michigan State University.

Barbara C. Sorkin

Barbara C. Sorkin, Ph.D., is the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consortium for Advancing Research on Botanicals and Other Natural Products Program, a collaborative Centers Program focused on advancing the scientific base of knowledge about the chemistry and biological activities of botanicals and other natural products relevant to dietary supplements. Dr. Sorkin administered extramural research efforts in the areas of healthy aging, cancer, and sleep at the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) for 9 years before moving to the Office of Dietary Supplements. While at NCCAM she also coordinated programs to enhance clinical and translational research on complementary and alternative medicine. Dr. Sorkin received her B.S. and M.S. from the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University, and her Ph.D. from the Laboratory of Developmental and Molecular Biology at Rockefeller University. Prior to joining NIH, she was a faculty member at the Forsyth Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, and at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

Sally Squires

Sally Squires, M.S., M.S., spent 24 years as an award-winning health writer at the Washington Post, where she is now a member of the Talent Network as well as a contributor to WTOP, the leading all-news radio station in Washington, DC. At the Post, she created the Lean Plate Club, a nationally syndicated nutrition column and online community that now resides at her website, She is an adjunct professor at the Tufts Friedman School and on the editorial boards of Nutrition Today and the Nation’s Health. Ms. Squires holds two master’s degrees from Columbia University, one in nutrition, the other in journalism. She is a member of the American Society for Nutrition, the American Public Health Association, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Institute of Food Technologists, among others.

Brian Wommack

Brian Wommack, J.D., is Senior Vice President of Communications at the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). Mr. Wommack is responsible for overseeing the development and execution of the association’s overall strategic communications efforts, and entrusted to enhance and protect the reputation of the dietary supplement industry. Under his leadership, CRN’s Communications team is reimagining its member communication strategy and has launched new initiatives to proactively promote responsible industry and provide consumer education.

In January 2020, Mr. Wommack led the Communications team in the launch of the “CRN Daily Supplement,” a daily update for CRN members designed to provide more timely and useful information in a digestible package, implementing more visual and video communications. He was instrumental in creating and executing an award winning education campaign, “Label Wise,” to inform consumers of upcoming dietary supplement label changes and encourage overall label literacy. Mr. Wommack leads the department’s response strategy on negative media and scientific studies to defend the mainstream, responsible industry. He also serves as the spokesperson for the annual CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements and CRN’s COVID-19 survey.

Mr. Wommack sits on the Editorial Advisory Board for Nutritional Outlook and regularly participates in meetings with the Dietary Supplement Quality Collaborate (DSQC), and other industry trade groups and is committed to promoting greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry. He has more than 25 years of experience helping organizations and brands see around corners and solve problems—or seize opportunities—at the intersection of communications, public policy and law. He draws on a long tenure as a communications consultant, time as a lobbyist and congressional staffer, and work as a lawyer.

He serves as industry strategist and advisor, as an industry spokesperson, and as a coach and mentor to members and staff on accomplishing goals through communications initiatives. After years of working for clients across many industries in issues management and crisis work, he is particularly gratified at being able to build up equity and trust for this thriving and vital industry over the long haul as it helps consumers improve their health and wellness.

Merle Zimmermann

Merle Zimmermann, Ph.D., the American Herbal Products Association’s (AHPA) chief information analyst, maintains and updates several online resources that serve the herbal products industry, including an online searchable database of new dietary ingredients submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the online version of AHPA's Botanical Safety Handbook.

Dr. Zimmermann is currently working to expand the Botanical Identity References Compendium, a centralized source of information containing examples and techniques that have been successfully applied to authenticate and qualify selected botanical materials, and on revisions for a new edition of AHPA’s Herbs of Commerce, the standard for all common and scientific plant names used for products containing herbs in the United States today.

Dr. Zimmermann earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Maryland. Dr. Zimmermann’s field of expertise is in applied computational chemistry—a cross-disciplinary field between physical chemistry and applied quantum physics. Dr. Zimmermann was awarded an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation fellowship recognizing his excellence as a student in 2008 and was considered as a finalist for a Ford Diversity Scholarship in 2005.

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