In December 2017, the American Botanical Council (ABC) announced the election of three new members to its Board of Trustees: Bethany Davis; Richard Kingston, PharmD; and Holly Shimizu. The new trustees bring decades of combined experience in a diverse range of fields related to medicinal plants. Davis, Kingston, and Shimizu are recognized leaders in dietary supplement industry regulation and environmental sustainability practices; clinical toxicology, botanical safety, and pharmacy; and public horticulture and herbal education, respectively.
“ABC is delighted to welcome Bethany, Holly, and Rick to our Board of Trustees,” said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. “Each of these new board members has numerous skills and strengths that will help ABC achieve new successes in the fields of medicinal plant education and research. Now that ABC is in its 30th year, and as ABC determines its future growth and direction, these new trustees will help empower the board and ABC to fulfill its unique nonprofit educational mission, publications, and programs.”
The addition of these three experts brings the total number of ABC Board of Trustees members to 11. In April 2017, longtime ABC trustee Fredi Kronenberg, PhD, a champion of integrative medicine for women’s health, died after a long illness. The decision to expand the board was made unanimously at the annual Board of Trustees meeting at ABC’s headquarters in November 2017. More information about the eight other board members can be found on ABC’s website.
Since 2011, Davis has worked for FoodState, a whole-food supplements company based in Manchester, New Hampshire, which owns two well-known supplement brands: MegaFood and INNATE Response Formulas. Currently, she is the company’s director of regulatory and industry affairs.
“I am so honored to be serving on the ABC Board of Trustees,” Davis said. “ABC’s legacy and authority is widely known around the world. I am excited to participate on the ABC board and serve the global herbal community.”
Before joining FoodState, Davis worked as the chain pharmacy account manager for Adheris Health, a provider of direct-to-patient medication adherence programs, and as the owner-operator of Davis Health Consulting, a regulatory consulting firm. She has a master’s degree in regulatory affairs and health policy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston, Massachusetts.
Davis’s passion for health care, coupled with her experience in the pharmaceutical industry and background in health policy and regulation, eventually led her to the natural products industry. “Through earning my Master of Science in regulatory affairs and health policy, the grave state of health care in the United States was made clear to me,” she said. “The value of traditional herbal therapies and the potential for positive impact on human health through dietary supplementation is of the utmost importance.”
Davis is actively involved in promoting sustainability, transparency, and non-genetically modified organism (GMO) issues related to the natural products industry.
“I have dedicated my professional life to growing the dietary supplement industry, bringing together educators, experts, and collaborators of all types in order to serve the public health,” she said. “As a mother and a birth worker, and as a strong, lifelong advocate of personal empowerment, ABC’s mission of bringing forth science-based education to promote the responsible use of herbal medicine resonates strongly. Everyone should be able to use herbs safely and with proper knowledge and access to take control of their health. A noble cause, and one I aim to serve wholeheartedly.”
In addition to her current position with FoodState, Davis is the president of the Coalition for Supplement Sustainability, a group of supplement and ingredient companies dedicated to promoting non-GMO and sustainable supply chains. She is also a voting board member of the Massachusetts General Hospital Partners Institutional Review Board and a member of the American Herbal Products Association’s Board of Trustees.
Richard Kingston, PharmD
Kingston is the co-founder and president of regulatory and scientific affairs at SafetyCall International, a company that specializes in adverse event management and regulatory compliance services, where he has worked since 2004. He is also a longtime faculty member at the University of Minnesota (UM), where he has worked for more than 35 years and currently is a clinical professor of pharmacy. At UM, he is the course director for “Therapeutics of Herbs and Other Natural Medicinals,” which is taught in the College of Pharmacy and available to all students in the Academic Health Center. In addition, Kingston has been an adjunct professor at the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR), an FDA Center of Excellence at the University of Mississippi College of Pharmacy, since 2014.
“I’m honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve on the ABC Board of Trustees,” said Kingston, who has been on the ABC Advisory Board since 2002. “ABC has an exemplary reputation for its work in providing all stakeholders with science-based information to promote the safe and responsible use of herbs and medicinal plants.
“I’m particularly interested in helping ABC further its efforts with the Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program, and I commend ABC for taking a leadership role in bringing the global herb industry together to address this critical issue,” Kingston continued. “The integrity of the botanical supply chain ensures the safety of consumers, and that remains an important part of my efforts and focus in my work. In my new capacity as a member of the distinguished ABC Board of Trustees, I look forward to contributing to a number of areas related to botanical safety, while also being committed to the organization’s overall future success.”
Kingston received his doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in clinical toxicology and pharmacokinetics in the Section of Clinical Pharmacology and the Clinical Toxicology Treatment Program at the University of Minnesota-affiliated level 1 trauma center, St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center. After his postdoctoral training, he was the co-founder and managing director of the Minnesota Poison Control system and the Minnesota Regional Poison Center. He has also served as a faculty member for the Graduate Minor Program in Complementary Therapies and Healing Practices at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center.
Kingston is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, the Household and Commercial Products Association, and the Society of Toxicology, among others.
Throughout his career, Kingston has given more than 200 lectures and presentations, and has authored or co-authored more than two dozen articles in various publications and scientific journals, including the Annals of Internal Medicine, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, and Veterinary and Human Toxicology. He has also contributed to five textbooks, including serving as a co-editor of Herbal Products: Toxicology and Clinical Pharmacology (Humana Press, 2007) and as the author of a chapter on herbal, traditional, and alternative medicines in Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose, 4th edition (Elsevier Press, 2007).
Shimizu has held numerous leadership positions in the fields of public horticulture, herbal education, and plant conservation. From 2000 to 2014, she served as the executive director of the United States Botanic Garden (USBG), one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States, which is located on the National Mall in front of the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
“Becoming actively involved with the American Botanical Council as a member of the Board of Trustees is very exciting to me because the work of ABC is so important,” said Shimizu, who has served on the ABC Advisory Board since 2006. “So many of us count on this work as our trusted, reliable source for information that is current and scientifically accurate.”
During her time as executive director of the USBG, Shimizu led the effort for the garden to become a founding partner of the Sustainable Sites Initiative, which is considered one of the most comprehensive certification systems for sustainable land management and development. Before becoming executive director, Shimizu was the USBG’s assistant executive director and public programs manager.
Shimizu has also served as an advisor for the White House gardens and played a role in redesigning the Rose Garden in 1983. She also worked with former first lady Laura Bush on a long-term botanical research and identification project for Camp David.
Most recently, Shimizu was the interim executive director of the American Horticultural Society in Alexandria, Virginia. She has also served as the managing director of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia, and was the first curator of the National Herb Garden at the US National Arboretum in Washington, DC. Shimizu received a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of Maryland.
“In my work with plants over the years, I have focused on the importance of plants to our health and well-being, their chemistry, complexity, beauty, and conservation,” Shimizu said. “For plants to receive their rightful place in our universe, we need to encourage people to respect the extraordinary role plants play in human and animal lives, as well as in the natural world. I have always been driven to find various ways for people to grasp a greater understanding of plants, to actually ‘see’ them, and to integrate them into American culture.”
Shimizu is currently on the board of directors of numerous organizations, including the American Horticultural Society and Friends of the National Arboretum, and is on the advisory boards of the Southern Delaware Botanic Gardens and the Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson Botanical Garden in Costa Rica, which is part of the nonprofit Organization for Tropical Studies. Previously, she served on the boards of the American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International, as the chair of botany and horticulture for the Herb Society of America, and on the advisory council for Longwood Gardens.
“Exploring the plants around us, learning about their uses, their value in various cultures, is an expansive and never-ending pursuit,” Shimizu added. “ABC helps us to unravel some of the plant mysteries, while also providing much-needed practical information on botanical adulterants and product quality, and dependable sources for materials and further information. I am delighted to be a part of these efforts in working with the American Botanical Council.”
Throughout her career, Shimizu has received many recognitions and honors, including an honorary doctorate from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, the Thomas Roland Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Horticultural Education from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, the Professional Award for an Outstanding Public Garden Director from the American Horticultural Society, and the Nancy Putnam Howard Award from the Herb Society of America.
Shimizu has contributed articles to a variety of publications, including TheNew York Times, Horticulture, and Fine Gardening, among others. Most recently, she co-authored a chapter in Living in the Anthropocene: Earth in the Age of Humans (Smithsonian Institution, 2017).