The American Herbal Products Association presented its annual awards last week at the AHPA annual member meeting at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California.
Steven Dentali, Ph.D.; Aveda Corporation; Paula Brown Ph.D.; the late Robert (Bob) Ullman; and retired Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin all were honored for their substantive and positive contributions to the herbal products industry.
"AHPA is pleased to recognize the hard work and dedication of these individuals and organizations and greatly appreciates their contributions to the herbal products industry," said AHPA president Michael McGuffin.
The awards were established in 2006.
Herbal Hero Award
Steven Dentali, Ph.D., research fellow, botanical development for Herbalife, received the AHPA Herbal Hero Award for his sustained and outstanding contributions to AHPA committees and initiatives.
Herbs Etc. owner Daniel Gagnon, who presented the award, highlighted Dentali's many contributions to AHPA, including serving on committees and the board of trustees, and representing AHPA and the herbal products industry at a number of scientific and technical committees.
"I have always admired Steven's commitment to the industry, his love of herbs, learning and sharing what he's learned," Gagnon said. "He is always willing to help his colleagues."
In accepting the award, Dentali said always wanted to be a scientist, but was unsure what field to pursue until he was influenced by herbalists who brought him into the community.
"I've always worked to link herbalists and scientists," Dentali said. "Bringing together these different points of view helps the community develop a better perspective."
Herbal Industry Leadership Award
Aveda Corporation received the AHPA Herbal Industry Leadership Award for outstanding business practices that move the herbal products industry forward.
Beth Lambert, CEO of Herbalist & Alchemist, presented the Herbal Industry Leadership award to Cindy Angerhofer, Ph.D., Aveda's executive director of botanical research and detailed how Aveda has pioneered business practices that set an example for the industry.
"Aveda continues to demonstrate that profit, environmental responsibility and sustainable sourcing can work together," Lambert said.
"There is a lot of passion in this company to let plants and botanicals speak through Aveda products," Angerhofer said.
Herbal Insight Award
Paula Brown, Ph.D., director of the British Columbia Institute of Technology's Natural Health and Food Products Research Group (NRG), received the AHPA Herbal Insight Award for making a significant contribution to furthering knowledge and understanding of botanicals and their uses.
Brown is a pioneer in the science of botanical quality and has published validation methods for botanicals — including hoodia, aloe, and turmeric — important to AHPA, Dentali said.
"Throughout her career, Paula has demonstrated a breadth and depth of knowledge that is impressive and unique," he said.
When accepting the award, Brown said, "The progress of the last few years has convinced me that ensuring quality of botanical products doesn't need to be that hard. I predict that we will continue to make great progress in the coming years."
Robert (Bob) Ullman was bestowed with the AHPA Visionary Award posthumously for his unprecedented contributions to the herbal products industry that have helped ensure future success. Ullman died last year.
Tony Young, AHPA's general counsel presented the award to Marc Ullman, Robert Ullman's son. Young described Bob Ullman as a stalwart and legal cornerstone of the supplement industry.
"Bob understood the long game and pulled the industry through the FDA and FDC minefields to help ensure the success the industry enjoys today," Young said.
"My father fought to preserve the rights of Americans to make their own choices in healthcare," Marc Ullman said. "He took cases that no other lawyer would take and won because common sense was on his side and he worked harder than anyone else."
Lifetime Achievement Award
The AHPA Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Sen. Tom Harkin for his unique and significant contributions to the herbal products industry throughout his career.
McGuffin, who presented Harkin with the award, stressed the importance of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which the senator co-authored.
"We must not forget that DSHEA was needed because there was a real threat of FDA acting to reduce consumer choice," McGuffin said. "Harkin and his colleagues didn't act on the industry's behalf, but on consumers' behalf to help shift from disease care to health care."
Harkin joked that the award was premature because he hasn't completed his work to benefit consumers by improving the country's healthcare system.
"You're not through with me yet," Harkin said, noting that his recently created Harkin Institute will work to continue the health and wellness legacy he created in the U.S. Senate. "Keep your eye out. We're going to continue this effort and we're going to be asking for your support."