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The Mary Frances Picciano Dietary Supplement Research Practicum

2014 Speaker Information

Lee Alekel

D. Lee Alekel, Ph.D., is program director of Women's Health at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine overseeing a portfolio that includes sleep/insomnia/circadian misalignment in relation to pain, a variety of natural products (such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and polyphenols), and dietary and exercise factors that might provide evidence of efficacy in alleviating symptoms or ameliorating conditions that contribute to disease and disability. Dr. Alekel was twice the recipient of the NCCAM Director's Merit Award (December 2011 and November 2012) for outstanding leadership of the Clinical Studies Working Group at NCCAM and for outstanding teamwork to develop the NCCAM web-based Clinical Research Toolbox. She has participated in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2013 Senior Leadership Program, has led a trans-NIH effort to promote the concept of "Arts-Based Approaches in Palliative Care for Symptom Management," and is leading a trans-NIH effort to hold a Sleep/Pain Workshop (May 2014). She was also the recipient of the Ruth L. Pike Lecture Series Frontiers in Nutrition Research Award (April 2008) from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, as well as the winner of the prestigious Mead Johnson Award (2003) through the American Society for Nutritional Sciences.

Prior to joining NCCAM, Dr. Alekel had joined the Iowa State University faculty in 1996 and was a professor of nutrition and interim associate director of the Nutrition and Wellness Research Center. Her previous faculty appointment in the 1990s was as assistant professor of nutrition at the University of IllinoisChicago. Dr. Alekel has numerous peer-reviewed publications in the areas of exercise and bone, isoflavone-rich soy and bone and menopausal symptoms, inflammatory markers and central adiposity, vitamin D and physical fitness, ethnicity and bone, cardiovascular disease, physical activity and body composition, and nutritional status. She has provided more than 60 invited talks nationally and internationally to professional audiences and more than 40 invited talks to lay audiences. She has been active in the American Society for Nutrition, plays a leadership role in the North American Menopause Society, and is becoming involved in SLEEP meetings (joint meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society). Dr. Alekel received her Ph.D. in nutritional sciences with an emphasis in statistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana, her M.S. in human nutrition with a physiology minor from The Pennsylvania State University, and her B.S. in nutritional sciences from Cornell University; she completed an internship in clinical dietetics at Kansas University Medical Center.

Regan Bailey

Regan Bailey, Ph.D., R.D., joined the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a nutritional epidemiologist in October 2009. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at ODS from September 2007 to September 2009. Dr. Bailey’s research focuses on methodological issues related to dietary assessment. Her work involves combining nutrient intakes from foods and from dietary supplements to produce total nutrient intakes in nationally representative datasets, primarily centering on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Dr. Bailey is also the codirector of ODS’s Dietary Supplement Research Practicum. The practicum is an annual week-long intensive educational program designed to provide fundamental knowledge of dietary supplements for academic faculty, military personnel, and doctoral or postdoctoral students/fellows.

Dr. Bailey received her Ph.D. in nutrition science from The Pennsylvania State University. Her doctoral research, funded through a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the NIH National Institute on Aging, helped to characterize nutrition risk in rural older adults through the development of an overall dietary screening tool. 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 is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is on the executive board of the Nutrition Epidemiology Research Interest Section of the American Society for Nutrition. Dr. Bailey has several publications focusing on nutritional epidemiology, dietary supplements, and geriatric nutrition.

Joseph M. Betz

Joseph M. Betz, Ph.D., joined the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) as director of the newly formed Dietary Supplements Methods and Reference Materials Program. In this role, he oversees efforts to enhance and stimulate research and training in fields relevant to dietary supplements at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and to promote development of validated analytical methods and reference materials for use by industry, regulatory agencies, and clinical researchers. Prior to this, he was vice president for scientific and technical affairs at the American Herbal Products Association and a research chemist at the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. His research interests are toxic natural products, plant-derived foods that may prevent chronic disease, and analytical methods for determination of botanical quality. He has been a principal investigator in the National Cancer Institute's Designer Foods program as well as project manager for FDA's Plant Toxins and Chemical, Biological, and Toxicological Characterization of Food Plants research programs. Dr. Betz has more than 30 publications on plant toxins and analytical methods for determination of bioactive constituents of botanical dietary supplements. He continues to work toward ensuring the quality and safety of botanical products. He received his Ph.D. in pharmacognosy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia).

Patsy M. Brannon

Patsy M. Brannon, Ph.D., R.D., is a professor of nutritional sciences and director of the Dietetic Internship at Cornell University. She teaches nutrition and the life cycle and developmental nutrition. Her research focuses on the mechanisms whereby maternal nutrition, including undernutrition and vitamin D status, alters the regulation of placental growth and its relationship to adverse outcomes to the fetus and adult offspring. Prior to Cornell University, she served on the Institute of Medicine Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D, was a visiting professor at the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, and served as the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University and chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland-College Park. She received her B.S. and M.S. in nutrition and food science from Florida State University and her Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry from Cornell University.

Kathryn Camp

Kathryn Camp, M.S., R.D., CSP, is a consultant at the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health. She also is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, where she lectures and mentors medical students and pediatric residents and fellows. She is a founding member and past president of Genetic Metabolic Dietitians International and is an appointed member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Research Committee and Evidence-Based Practice Committee. In her current position with ODS, and along with the Office of Rare Diseases Research, Ms. Camp is coordinating an initiative to build an infrastructure for evidence-based research on the nutrition and dietary supplement interventions used to treat inborn errors of metabolism. Prior to this position, she worked in the Office of Biotechnology Activities staffing the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society. She is a certified specialist in pediatric nutrition with emphasis on the care of children with genetic and metabolic disorders.

Paul Coates

Paul Coates, Ph.D., has directed the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1999 in its mission to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements. He oversees a range of initiatives and programs that support research and the training of investigators, as well as the development of research tools and information resources; through these, he has established ODS as a strong and authoritative voice for rigorous science in dietary supplements and related areas of nutrition. In 2011, he received the prestigious Conrad A. Elvehjem Award from the American Society for Nutrition for public service in nutrition. He is lead editor of the authoritative Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements, now in its second edition, and associate editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. He also currently serves as acting associate director of the NIH Office of Disease Prevention. From 1975 to 1993, prior to his career at NIH, Dr. Coates was on the faculty of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as research professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Biochemistry/Biophysics. His Ph.D. in human genetics was awarded by Queen’s University in Canada, followed by postdoctoral training in the Department of Human Genetics and Biometry at University College London.

Tod Cooperman

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

Recognizing a lack of quality standards and oversight in the dietary supplement industry, Dr. Cooperman founded in 1999 along with Food and Drug Administration scientist Dr. William Obermeyer. 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 the 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 a 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.

Brian S. Cornblatt

Brian S. Cornblatt, Ph.D., is the medical director of the Consumer Division, Nutramax Laboratories, Inc. In this role, Dr. Cornblatt collaborates with manufacturing, development, and quality groups to transfer veterinary products and nonveterinary products to marketable consumer products, and collaborates with research and development departments in identifying, planning, and summarizing laboratory and clinical studies for company products into publishing and marketing pieces. Prior to coming to Nutramax, Dr. Cornblatt was the scientific director for the Catholic Health Initiatives’ Center for Translational Research, a combined molecular research laboratory, national biorepository, and diagnostics laboratory. A Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine graduate with a Ph.D. in pharmacology and molecular sciences and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Environmental Health Sciences Division of Toxicology, Dr. Cornblatt has been involved in medical research for two decades.

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.

Patricia A. Deuster

Patricia A. Deuster, Ph.D., M.P.H., CNS, FACSM, is a professor and director for the Defense Center of Excellence: Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) School of Medicine in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine; she is also faculty for the Neuroscience program. She obtained an A.B. in mathematics and computer science and an M.A. in physical education from the College of William and Mary, a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences and physiology from the University of Maryland, and an M.P.H. with an emphasis in epidemiology from USU.

Dr. Deuster chairs the Department of Defense (DoD) Dietary Supplement Subcommittee, is a member of the DoD Food and Nutrition Subcommittee, and serves on the DoD Human Performance Optimization Health Sciences Advisory Committee. She is one of the leads on the DoD Operational Supplement Safety Initiative.

Dr. Deuster is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Certified Nutrition Specialist with over 150 peer-reviewed papers and numerous book chapters and books relating to nutrition, dietary supplements, and physical performance. In addition to peer-reviewed publications, she has developed multiple educational materials related to nutrition, dietary supplements, physical training, human performance, and total force fitness; many are posted on the CHAMP Human Performance Resource Center website (

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 and is a faculty member in the Medical School. She is currently 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 Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. She also served as an assistant administrator for human nutrition at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (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 consultant at ODS and a senior nutrition scientist at the Tufts Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. Dr. Dwyer was a member of the year 2000 Dietary Guidelines Committee and a member of the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. She also served as a member of the Council of the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Dwyer has written over 475 research and review articles in scientific journals and books. She has been 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. Dr. Dwyer’s honors include membership in the Institute 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); and fellow, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (2012). 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 her mentor, Jean Mayer, the late president of Tufts University, that nutrition is not a discipline, but an agenda of problems that must be solved.

Bill J. Gurley

Bill J. Gurley, Ph.D., is a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Pharmacy and the director of the UAMS Clinical Pharmacokinetics Research Laboratory. He is a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, as well as the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s Expert Panel on Dietary Supplements. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, abstracts, and book chapters in the areas of pharmacokinetics, analytical method development, therapeutic drug monitoring, herbal dietary supplements, 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 phytochemcials in humans, and botanical supplement use in special populations. 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 responds to inquiries from consumers, health professionals, and the media about dietary supplements, and she represents ODS at scientific conferences and expos. Ms. Haggans is also a member of the NIH Nutrition Education Subcommittee, a committee that reviews nutrition education materials written for the public to ensure that they are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Before becoming a consultant, Ms. Haggans was a program analyst with ODS from 1999 to 2004. During that time, she coordinated the development and implementation of the CARDS database of federally funded research on dietary supplements and was involved with the design and maintenance of the ODS website.

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 in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. 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 in New York.

Joyce Merkel

Robert W. Henderson, P.D., N.D., is Chairman of the Board of the Nutramax Laboratories Family of Companies. Two of his sons, Drs. Troy Henderson and Todd Henderson, are presidents of Nutramax Laboratories Consumer Care, Inc., located in Maryland, and Nutramax Laboratories Veterinary Sciences, Inc., located in South Carolina. Dr. Henderson is a member of the Maryland Pharmacists Association and served on the Nutritional Supplement Board of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. He received his B.S. in pharmacy from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, his honorific doctor of pharmacy from the Maryland Pharmaceutical Association, and his doctor of naturopathy from Bernadean University. In 1992, Dr. Henderson developed and patented the glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate combination resulting in Cosamin and Cosequin, which started what today is a global category in joint health support in both human and veterinary medicine. Prior to founding Nutramax, he was owner of Henderson's Nutritional Pharmacy and president of Henderson Metabolic Services, Inc.

Dr. Henderson served on the Dean's Advisory Board for both the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy where in 2000 he was given membership in the President's Club. He has taught drug interactions at continuing education seminars for pharmacists.

Dr. Henderson has been granted 7 U.S. patents and 13 international patents and presently, along with Drs. Brian and Grace Cornblatt, is on 5 pending U.S. patents providing the precursors for the body's production of sulforaphane for oral use as a dietary supplement. This is the basis of another first-in-the-industry nutraceutical offering known as Avmacol™.

In 2000, the Maryland Pharmacist Society presented him with an Innovative Practice Award. He served as Honorary President of the Maryland Pharmacists Association from 2008 to 2009. The American Opinion Foundation awarded him the Heritage Restoration Award for contributions toward empowering Americans to understand, enjoy, and pursue the freedom and moral responsibility embodied in America's founding principles.

Dr. Henderson is a featured speaker and faculty member at the Mary Frances Picciano Dietary Supplement Research Practicum held yearly and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Joyce Merkel

Kerri L. LeVanseler, Ph.D., has over 25 years of expertise in a wide range of laboratory techniques (e.g., gas and liquid chromatography, spectroscopy, titrations, extractions) and analysis of various analytes (e.g., vitamins, heavy metals, pesticides, natural constituents, active ingredients, extractants) in multiple sample types (dietary supplement ingredients and products, food and food contact materials, sanitizers, pharmaceuticals, detergents, consumer products, toys, medical devices). Dr. LeVanseler holds a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Wayne State University and a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Michigan. Dr. LeVanseler currently serves as director of NSF International’s Chemistry Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She oversees process improvements in testing and laboratory operations, coordinating laboratory research and development of new and modified methods, special projects, and new program implementation. She also provides leadership and guidance relative to accreditation, quality assurance efforts, staff hiring, and training. Dr. LeVanseler is active in the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) International, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and is involved in programs launched by the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to improve testing methodology and reference standards for the dietary supplements industry.

Joyce Merkel

Joyce Merkel, M.S., R.D., is an information specialist 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.

James Louis Mills

James L. Mills, M.D., M.S., is a senior biomedical research service scientist in the Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research (DESPR) at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Dr. Mills conducts research in the etiology of birth defects. He has a particular interest in genetic and nutritional causes for birth defects. Much of his research has been in the area of folate and neural tube defects. Prior to his current position, he was chief of the Pediatric Epidemiology Section of DESPR and a senior investigator at the NICHD. He received his B.A. in history and premed and his M.S. in epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.D. from New York Medical College.

Steven M. Mister

Steven M. Mister, M.A., J.D., is president and chief executive officer of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association representing product manufacturers and raw ingredient suppliers of dietary supplements. Mr. Mister joined CRN in 2005, and under his leadership, CRN has experienced a refined strategic focus, increased membership, and launched new initiatives to enhance consumer confidence in the supplement industry. Among CRN’s recent achievements are the creation of a highly successful consumer campaign, Life...supplemented, and a program with the National Advertising Division to review supplement advertising. Previous to CRN, Mr. Mister served in several legal and legislative roles for over a decade at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, most recently as vice president and associate general counsel. Mr. Mister also worked as an attorney in the Washington, DC, law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding in general litigation, Government ethics, and Federal election law practice groups, and had a stint on Capitol Hill as a media relations assistant for former U.S. Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr. Mr. Mister holds a law degree from the College of William and Mary, an M.A. in political communication from the University of Maryland, and a B.S. from Towson University.

Ashley Aimone Phillips

Ashley Aimone Phillips, M.S., R.D., is a Registered Dietitian, specializing in pediatrics, with a master’s degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Toronto. Her general area of academic interest is global child health, with specific interests in micronutrient malnutrition (especially iron deficiency anemia) and stunting. Her research efforts are focused on the application of evidence-based practices and research methods to promote the implementation and scale-up of effective interventions for reducing the global burden of child malnutrition and linear growth faltering. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in epidemiology (Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto), for which she will use a geographical information system and statistical techniques to develop a model for planning the distribution of micronutrient interventions in low- and middle-income countries. Alongside her doctoral studies, she also holds a part-time research assistantship position with the Centre for Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto, Canada).

Angela Pope

Angela F. Pope, M.B.A., serves as a consumer safety officer and the subject matter expert in the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Office of Nutritional Labeling and Dietary Supplements, Division of Dietary Supplement Programs, Good Manufacturing Practices Team. Ms. Pope reviews inspectional cases of Current Good Manufacturing Practices and puts forth regulatory recommendations. She also serves as the subject matter expert on judicial regulatory actions brought by the Agency. In addition, Ms. Pope has held other significant positions at the FDA Center for Food Service and Applied Nutrition, which include the Small Business Notification System and Food Labeling technical reviews. She also has worked with the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the U.S. Senate. Ms. Pope holds an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland, University College.

Donna V. Porter

Donna V. Porter, Ph.D., R.D., was a specialist in nutrition and food policy until she retired in 2011 at the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In this job she was responsible for answering questions and conducting research work for Members of Congress and staff on a variety of food and nutrition research issues. Prior to this, she was project director for the 1990 study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on the Nutrition Components of Food Labeling, which issued the report Nutrition Labeling: Issues and Directions of the 1990s. She was project director for the IOM’s Committee on State Food Labeling that issued the report Food Labeling: Toward National Uniformity. She also has been involved in the efforts to implement food claims regulations through the Keystone Dialogue on Food, Nutrition and Health and the reform of dietary supplement regulation and has spent considerable time examining the regulation of dietary supplement in industrialized countries. She received her B.S. in food and nutrition from the State University of New York at Plattsburg, completed a dietetic internship at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, and received her Ph.D. in human nutrition with a minor in political science from the Ohio State University.

Michelle Rusk

Michelle Rusk, J.D., is a senior staff attorney in the Division of Advertising Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The Division is responsible for regulating national advertising matters, including claims about foods, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, cosmetics, alcohol, tobacco, and environmental products. Ms. Rusk has been responsible for coordination of FTC enforcement activities for food and dietary supplement advertising and involved in various policy matters related to food marketing during her 20-year career at the Commission. Following passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, she worked on developing an FTC policy on food advertising to harmonize with Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations. She was involved in writing the FTC’s 1994 Enforcement Policy Statement on Food Advertising. Ms. Rusk also developed the FTC’s 1998 Dietary Supplements: An Advertising Guide for Industry. She was the 1999 recipient of the Commission’s Paul Rand Dixon Award for her work in the dietary supplement area. She served as the FTC’s representative to the Interagency Working Group charged by Congress with developing recommendations for nutritional standards for foods marketed to children and most recently contributed to the FTC’s 2012 report, A Review of Food Marketing to Children and Adolescents. Ms. Rusk joined the FTC from private practice in 1990. She graduated from Harvard University and received her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

David G. Schardt

David G. Schardt, M.S., is a senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group specializing in food, nutrition, and dietary supplement issues. He has been writing about nutrition for the general public and for professionals for more than 25 years. His articles covering most aspects of food, nutrition, and dietary supplements have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, newsletters, college textbooks, and websites. His reports on nutrition and dietary supplements are featured in the monthly Nutrition Action Healthletter, the Nation’s most popular nutrition newsletter. He helped to write and edit the landmark Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health. His book, Eating Leaner and Lighter, published by Warner Books, was recommended for sensible nutrition by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Information Center. He has served on panels advising the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the U.S. Pharmacopeia, and the Association of Official Analytical Chemists on dietary supplement issues. He received his graduate degrees in nutrition and biochemistry from Oregon State University and has graduate study and research experience with Cornell University’s Division of Nutritional Sciences.

Christopher T. Sempos

Christopher T. Sempos, Ph.D., is the program director for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) Population Studies Program and the Vitamin D Standardization Program. The Population Studies Program is involved in research on the risks and benefits of dietary supplements using representative population data such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the National Health Interview Survey. His research areas are nutritional epidemiology, especially cardiovascular and alcohol epidemiology, nutrition monitoring and public health surveillance methods, dietary survey methods, and biostatistics. Prior to ODS, he was a professor of epidemiology and director of graduate studies in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Buffalo. He also worked in several positions within the Public Health Service, most notably as chief of longitudinal studies for the Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Sempos is coauthor with the late Professor Harold Kahn on the textbook, Statistical Methods in Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press. He received his Ph.D. in nutritional sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at the same time earned an M.S. in preventive medicine-epidemiology.

Denise Simons-Morton

Maged Sharaf, Ph.D., is chief science officer of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the national trade association and voice of the herbal products industry. AHPA's botanical expertise is complimented by influence and advocacy that extends to the entire dietary supplement and natural products trade. AHPA is comprised of domestic and international companies that grow, process, manufacture and market herbs and herbal products, including supplements, teas, cosmetics, and other consumer goods. At AHPA, Dr. Sharaf helps set quality standards for the botanical products industry and provides guidance and advice to AHPA member companies, related organizations, government agencies, scientific publications, and the popular press.

Before joining AHPA, Dr. Sharaf assumed several responsibilities at the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) including: director, foods, dietary supplements and herbal medicines; principal scientific liaison and senior scientific liaison (botanicals); manager analytical services and scientist, Verification Programs; coordinator, quality control laboratory; and project leader, research and development laboratory. 

During his tenure at USP, he developed the Herbal Medicines Compendium, a resource of public standards for herbal ingredients used in traditional and herbal medicines. He co-developed the Dietary Supplements Compendium, a resource of public standards and guidelines for the dietary supplement industry. He developed botanical standards for inclusion in the United States Pharmacopeia-National Formulary (USP-NF). He participated in building the Dietary Supplement Verification Program, as a public health program, and the Dietary Ingredient Verification Program as a support program for the dietary supplement industry.

Before USP, Dr. Sharaf was pharmacy associate professor; and has preceding experience conducting bioanalytical assay development and validation, and human bioequivalence studies in support of the pharmaceutical industry; quality control testing of finished dosage forms; dosage forms manufacturing; and retail pharmacy. 

Dr. Sharaf has a Ph.D. and a master in pharmacognosy, and a bachelor in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences. 

Dr. Sharaf co-authored several scientific publications, is an invited speaker, and a reviewer for a number of scientific journals. He is a member of the Egyptian Association of Pharmacists, American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP), ASP Constitution and By-Laws Committee, Society for Medicinal Plants and Natural Products Research (GA), American Chemical Society, AOAC International, and Washington Chromatography Discussion Group. He is an advisory panel member and an expert review panel member of AOAC International; a council member of the Specialty Committee of Traditional Chinese Medicines–Pharmaceutical Analysis, World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies; a board of directors member and chair of the advisory board of the International Association for the Advancement of High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography; and a scientific advisor of the American Herbal Pharmacopeia (AHP).

Denise Simons-Morton

Denise G. Simons-Morton, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., now at Morton Consulting, is a 21-year veteran of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Her most recent position was Senior Scientific Officer at the NIH Office of Disease Prevention; prior to that she was at the National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute where she was Director of the Division for the Application of Research Discoveries after being Director of the Clinical Application and Prevention Program and Branch. She served as scientific project officer on numerous NIH-funded multicenter-controlled trials and led development of many NIH funding opportunity announcements. Her focus has been on applied research related to cardiovascular disease prevention. Prior to joining NIH, Dr. Simons-Morton served on the faculties of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Galveston and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She received her B.S. in zoology and psychology with high honors from the University of Maryland College Park, her M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine at Baltimore, her M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and her Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. She is board certified in preventive medicine and public health.

Barbara C. Sorkin

Barbara C. Sorkin, Ph.D., is the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Botanical Research Centers Program, an effort to advance the scientific base of knowledge about botanical safety, efficacy, and biological action. Dr. Sorkin comes to the Office of Dietary Supplements from the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), where for 9 years she administered extramural research efforts in the areas of antioxidants, healthy aging, cancer, and sleep. She also coordinated NCCAM programs to enhance clinical and translational research on complementary and alternative medicine. Dr. Sorkin received her B.S. and M.S. from the Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Department at Yale University, and her Ph.D. from the Department 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.

Christine Swanson

Sally Squires, M.S., M.S., leads the Food, Nutrition and Wellness practice at Powell Tate/Weber Shandwick. She brings nutrition expertise and years of experience in communications to assist corporate, nonprofit, and government clients in public affairs, strategic communications, partnerships and more. Her past and current clients include The Obesity Society, the American Heart Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service as well as Weight Watchers International, Inc., and Johnson & Johnson. She joined the agency in 2008 from the Washington Post where she was an awarding-winning journalist and nationally syndicated nutrition columnist and created the Lean Plate Club, a weekly column, web chat, email newsletter, and online social community that reached more than 6 million readers weekly. At Weber Shandwick, Ms. Squires’ many activities have included promotion of the Anschutz Center for Health and Wellness at the University of Colorado and creation of the Treat Obesity Seriously campaign for The Obesity Society, which laid the foundation for the American Medical Association’s recent classification of obesity as a disease. She holds master’s degrees from Columbia University’s Institute of Human Nutrition and its Graduate School of Journalism, is an author and PBS documentary filmmaker, is a frequent speaker and moderator, appears as an expert on radio and television, and writes the blog Perfect Portions: The Skinny on Eating Well for Among her memberships are the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, and the National Association of Science Writers

Christine Swanson

Christine Swanson, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) in 1998 to develop a botanical research initiative at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She served as the Director of the NIH Botanical Research Centers Program (BRCP) until 2009. The BRCP continues to advance the scientific base of knowledge about botanicals, including issues of their safety, efficacy, and biological action. Currently, Dr. Swanson is primarily focused on leading an ODS initiative to work with NIH Institutes and other Federal Agencies to identify research needs to better determine the iodine status of the U.S. population, particularly vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, newborns, and infants.

Prior to joining ODS, Dr. Swanson worked was a senior staff fellow in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at NIH. As a nutritional epidemiologist, she participated in the design, conduct, data analysis and reporting of several observational studies, focusing her efforts on improving exposure assessment of modifiable risk factors such as diet, body weight/composition, and alcohol consumption. She was also a nutrition consultant for a large randomized clinical trial in China designed to evaluate the relation of micronutrient supplementation and risk of esophageal cancer. While at NCI, she also worked with scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the NIH Clinical Center studying human selenium metabolism using stable isotope methodology. This work complemented her graduate and post-doctoral research focused on determining zinc and selenium requirements of pregnant women. Those studies provided the first human data of requirements for these nutrients during pregnancy and were used in revising the DRIs.

Dr. Swanson earned her undergraduate degree in dietetics at Montana State University. She received her doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of California at Berkeley. Subsequently, she accepted a post-doctoral position with the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville to study selenium metabolism. She complemented her training in human nutrition by obtaining a Masters of Public Health degree in epidemiology at Berkeley. She also worked in industry for two years as a clinical chemist at Nestle Nutrition in Switzerland. In additional, Dr. Swanson twice taught nutritional epidemiology as part of an intensive course offered to medical students and faculty at the Medical School University of Indonesia, Jakarta.

Dr. Swanson is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and served on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. She has authored or co-authored over 90 publications.

Christine L. Taylor

Christine L. Taylor, Ph.D., is a senior nutrition scientist at the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. She has held a number of nutrition science, policy, and management positions in Washington, DC, and overseas. She previously held a position at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where she worked in the foods area. In her last position with the Agency, she served as the director of FDA’s Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling and Dietary Supplements. She oversaw four Divisions with a total of more than 60 staff including medical officers, biologists, biochemists, nutritionists, and lawyers; served as the Agency spokesperson for nutrition issues; and was responsible for the Office’s laboratory and nonlaboratory research. Dr. Taylor was initiated as a scholar in the Institute of Medicine at The National Academies in Washington, DC. She was the study director for four projects focused on an evaluation of the process for setting dietary reference intakes, consensus recommendations for the standards for school lunch, identification of strategies for reducing sodium in the diet, and an evaluation of the recommended intakes for vitamin D and calcium. Dr. Taylor has led international efforts to integrate nutrition science into public health policy. She also served as a visiting expert for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and headed the U.S. delegation to the Codex Committee on Food Labeling, an international organization responsible for setting food labeling standards.

Paul R. Thomas

Paul R. Thomas, Ed.D., R.D., is a scientific consultant at the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). In that capacity he has contributed to various projects with most of the ODS scientific staff. Dr. Thomas works primarily in ODS communications, where he prepares dietary supplement fact sheets and the ODS e-newsletter and interacts with the media. He codirects the annual Dietary Supplement Research Practicum, a 1-week intensive educational program to provide fundamental knowledge of dietary supplements to academic faculty members, doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and research fellows. Dr. Thomas also administers the Federal Working Group on Dietary Supplements, which serves as a means of communication between ODS and its Federal partners to cofund research, expand opportunities for research-investigator training, and strengthen collaborative efforts involving dietary supplement research, education, and communication. He is a registered dietitian and a member of the American Society for Nutrition, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Previous positions include project director at the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, fellow and research assistant professor at the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Georgetown University, expert consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and senior staff scientist with the Life Sciences Research Office. He received his Ed.D. in nutrition from Columbia University’s Teachers College.