Noted Herbal Author / Photographer Steven Foster Elected Chair of American Botanical Council Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees of the American Botanical Council (ABC) has elected Steven Foster as its new chair. Foster, a member of the ABC Board for 10 years, is the author of 15 herb-related books and hundreds of magazine articles, and he is widely known for his stunning botanical photography. The Board made its selection at a recent onsite meeting at the ABC headquarters in Austin, Texas. Foster succeeds former chair Peggy Brevoort, who is remaining on the ABC Board.

“Steven Foster has made many significant contributions to ABC, since the time of its founding 20 years ago,” said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. In addition to acting as the associate editor of ABC’s flagship publication HerbalGram for two decades, his articles and photography have helped to make it one of the leading publications on herbs in North America, and beyond. In addition, Steven was the editor of ABC’s Classic Botanical Reprint series in its early years, as well as the author of more than a dozen titles in ABC’s Botanical series, which consisted of in-depth profiles on many of the most popular herbs in the North American market. (An extensive profile on Foster was published in HerbalGram #80.)

"It's an honor to serve as the chair of the ABC Board of Trustees, especially given the high level of experience and diverse organizational, academic, and business expertise, represented by the Board's members,” said Foster. “This is an exciting time for ABC, with the launch of our new website, and recent staff additions of energetic and talented people who can enhance service to our most important constituency—the ABC membership. These changing and challenging times require a renewed focus in optimizing the success of herbs in contributing to healthcare, and bringing that message to the public, media, academia, and the greater herbal community."

The ABC Board also selected Roberta A. Lee, MD, and Bernadette M. Marriott, PhD, to serve as new Board members. Both have extensive experience with herbs and dietary supplements.

Dr. Lee is medical director for the Continuum Center for Health and Healing at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. She was among the first 3 fellows at the University of Arizona Medical School’s Program in Integrative Medicine under the direction of the famous author and integrative medicine expert, Andrew Weil, MD (who is also a member of the ABC Advisory Board). Dr. Lee has been interviewed in print and on the Internet and has appeared on the Today show, Fox news, CBS, and CNN.

In addition to her clinical experience, Dr. Lee has also been involved with ethnobotanical field work, particularly in the South Pacific islands of Micronesia with noted ethnobotanist Michael J. Balick, PhD, of the New York Botanical Garden (also a member of the ABC Board of Trustees). Drs. Lee and Balick have collaborated on numerous ethnobotanically-oriented articles for peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Alternative Therapies and Explore!). Dr. Lee is currently developing new strategies for stress management that incorporate a unique blend of mind/body exercises, lifestyle changes, and botanical supplements. Her book, The SuperStress Solution, will be published by Random House in the fall of 2009.

"It’s truly a privilege to join the ABC Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Lee. “I am looking forward to contributing to ABC's mission of expanding awareness of botanical medicines. There are so many new scientific studies being released about botanical medicines, suggesting that plants can continue to serve as a great pharmaceutical reservoir for unanticipated diseases of the future and to provide new remedies for complex medical syndromes."

A nutritional biochemist and psychologist, Dr. Marriott was the first director of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health, mandated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. As the first director of ODS, Dr. Marriott was responsible for surveying and collecting information on all US federal government-funded research on dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and related substances), as well as coordinating and stimulating future research in this area. Prior to her work at the ODS, Dr. Marriott was deputy director of the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine, where she contributed to the initial development of the Dietary Reference Intakes for Americans.

Dr. Marriott is currently a principal scientist with Abt Associates Inc. in Durham, North Carolina, where she focuses on domestic health, developing an area of expertise for the company in nutrition, diet, and chronic disease. She serves on the boards of scientific advisors for several universities and is also an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Nutrition. Dr. Marriott has published numerous articles in journals like the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology as well as written chapters in books like Examining the Science Behind Nutraceuticals (Springer, 2001) and Dietary Supplements of Plant Origin: A Nutrition and Health Approach (Taylor and Francis, 2003). “I am very honored and enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with Mark Blumenthal and the Board members,” said Dr. Marriott. “The American Botanical Council has been an important educational leader in the United States for the last two decades and was instrumental in first awakening American scientists to the wealth of herbal research in other parts of the world. I look forward to the chance to support the excellent activities of ABC as a member of the Board.”

About the American Botanical Council

Founded in 1988 the American Botanical Council is the leading nonprofit organization in the United States addressing research and educational issues regarding herbs and medicinal plants. ABC’s members include academic researchers and educators, universities and libraries, health professionals and medical institutions, botanical gardens and arboreta, government agencies, members of the herb, dietary supplement, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries, journalists, consumers, and other interested parties from over 70 countries. The organization occupies a historic 2.5-acre site in Austin, Texas where it publishes HerbalGram, a peer-reviewed journal on herbal medicine, a monthly e-newsletter, reference books and other educational materials. ABC has published a reference book and a continuing education course for healthcare professionals, The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs, containing extensive monographs on the safety and efficacy of 29 popular herbs, and a guide for manufacturers to be used in identifying herbal raw materials, The Identification of Medicinal Plants: A Handbook of the Morphology of Botanicals in Commerce. Information: Contact ABC at P.O. Box 144345, Austin, TX 78714-4345, Phone: 512-926-4900. Website:

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