Today at the 19th annual NBJ Summit, Nutrition Business Journal announced that Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA, retired) has been awarded the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals who have made a significant impact or contribution to the nutrition and supplement industry during their career. Harkin is celebrated for the impact his legislation and advocacy has had on the health and welfare of the American people.
Loren Israelsen, president, United Natural Products Alliance said, “Senator Harkin stands as the singular member of Congress to champion the creation of an Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine and to co-lead the passage of DSHEA. In short, his legislative legacy of advancing access to and research of natural medicines and supplements is unmatched.”
Senator Harkin served 10 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and was the first Iowa Democrat to win a fifth term in the U.S. Senate. In January 2015, Senator Harkin retired from the Senate. He is praised for his tireless work around the U.S. health care system to focus on prevention, wellness, medical research, and supplement, food and drug safety.
Several of Senator Harkin’s key accomplishments include:
- Created the Office of Alternative Medicine at NIH to examine the efficacy of alternative and complementary therapies, which is now the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
- Collaborated with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to co-author the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).
- Worked to make certain the DSHEA was implemented fairly and without bias by the Food and Drug Administration.
- Pushed for funding for NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements, which was created by DSHEA and funded through the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee where he served as chair or ranking member since DSHEA became law.
- Pushed the FDA to issue regulations to institute Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) for the dietary supplement industry, and worked the Senate and the dietary supplement industry to craft legislation creating a Serious Adverse Event Reporting System for dietary supplements.
- Helped to lead passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and authored the law’s many prevention provisions as the chair of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension. This landmark reform included a whole array of provisions to jumpstart the transition from the current sick care system to a genuine health care system.
- Worked on the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act and fought to give USDA authority to establish national school nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools.
- Collaborated with the industry to form the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, an informal, bipartisan group that facilitates discussions among lawmakers about the benefits of dietary supplements and to promote research into the health-care cost savings these products provide.
Learn about past Lifetime Achievement Award winners here.