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ABC Board of Trustees Adds Three Members
ABC Board of Trustees Adds Three Members

The American Botanical Council Board of Trustees has expanded to include three new members. Peggy Brevoort, Tom Kurt, M.D., and Morris Shriftman bring new ideas and energy to ABC�s mission of research and education into herbal medicine.

Peggy Brevoort and her husband, Bill, founded East Earth Herb, Inc. in 1971, working to place Chinese herbal products in the American and, later, worldwide markets. She served as CEO of the company from 1990 to 1999 and as president from 1997 to 1999. The company was acquired in 1999 by the A.M. Todd Company. After that purchase, Brevoort served as president of A.M. Todd Botanicals until her retirement in April of 2000.

Brevoort has also served as a member of the boards at Biomed Comm Inc.; United Plant Savers; Bastyr University Board of Regents; the Corporate Alliance for Integrative Medicine, Inc.; Citizens for Health; and the American Herbal Products Association, where she is a past president.

She was named 1990 Woman of the Year by the Association of Women in Natural Foods, and earned Natural Business Communication�s 1999 Leadership in Business Award. She was also a member of the first herbalist delegation to the People�s Republic of China in 1988.

Her literary credits include material published in HerbalGram and Pharmaceutical News. She has also delivered dozens of presentations on botanical issues.

Thomas (Tom) L. Kurt, M.D., M.P.H., the founder of the certified regional poison center in Dallas, is a consultant in medical toxicology, pharmacology, and adverse drug reactions. He is also a clinical professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.

Dr Kurt, who received his B.S. from Notre Dame, his MD from Kansas, and MPH from Harvard, served as regional medical officer for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 1989 to 1991 and continues to serve on FDA panels, as well as being a member of the Texas Drug Utilization Review Board, which sets Medicaid outpatient prescription policies. He has published more than 150 scientific papers and is an editorial reviewer for medical journals.

Morris Shriftman is the CEO of Mozart, Inc., of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, a marketing communications firm which specializes in the natural and organic food, and herbal and alternative medicine industry, offering identity and branding, strategic marketing and positioning, advertising, packaging, public relations, and interactive digital communications. Mozart clients include Tree of Life, United Natural Foods, Whole Foods Market, Horizon Organic Dairy, Smucker Quality Beverages, and Traditional Medicinals.

Shriftman has also been a speaker and panelist at natural product expositions, most recently at the 2003 Organic Trade Association�s "All Things Organic" conference. At the BioFach 2003 Congress in Nuremberg, Germany, Shriftman spoke on what European natural and organic product companies can do to create marketing success in the U.S. market.

Shriftman earned a B.S. degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University in 1964. His M.A. degree from New York University is in British and American literature, and he completed all but the dissertation on a doctoral degree in the same program. He has been a visiting professor of marketing at Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University.

Another change in the Board makeup will result from ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal resigning in October from his position as board president. Blumenthal will still be involved with the board, acting as an ex officio member, contributing information and ideas. The new president has not been elected yet. Blumenthal will continue to lead ABC as its executive director and editor of HerbalGram and HerbClip.

Traditionally, ABC�s Board of Trustees has been comprised of people with significant experience in fields such as pharmacognosy, ethnobotany, and the merging of botanical and conventional medicine. However, Blumenthal said, "Non-profit organizations have experienced a difficult time in the economy of a post-9/11 world. ABC�s Board must go in a different direction, and draw upon broader experience.

"I believe it is necessary to begin to add people to the board who have expertise in business, marketing, finance, and medicine," Blumenthal said. He also expects that the changes will "help ABC grow to a new level of public service to meet the growing needs for reliable herbal information and at the same time help develop and maintain financial stability for ABC."

One of the seats being filled had been occupied by Prof. Varro E. Tyler, who died suddenly in August, 2001. Blumenthal explained the delay in filling the seat, "Out of respect to his memory and the major role he played in helping set ABC�s direction and policy, we waited to fill his Board seat, leaving it empty in a kind of �missing man� formation in military memorial rituals."

Blumenthal looks forward to the future of the ABC Board, expecting that the changes being implemented will be of lasting benefit to the Board and to those involved in herbal medicine.

"I believe that the new composition of the ABC Board will continue to help guide ABC so it will retain its position as the leading nonprofit organization disseminating accurate, responsible, reliable information on the benefits of herbs and phytomedicines," Blumenthal said. "At the same time, it will help ABC establish a strong financial basis to expand our educational programs and publications."

� Sarah Jackson