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ABC Board of Trustees

Michael J. Balick, Ph.D.
Vice President and Chair, Research and Training Director and Philecology Curator, Institute of Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York

Dr. Michael J. Balick is an ethnobotanist with a specialty in medicinal and food plants and the role they play in traditional health care (ethnomedical) systems. Since the early 1970s he has worked with indigenous cultures around the world, studying how people interact with the plants in their environment and working towards conservation of biological and cultural diversity. He received his Ph.D. and A.M. in Biology from Harvard University. His undergraduate major was in horticulture and plant science, at the University of Delaware. He has worked at The New York Botanical Garden since 1980, and is currently Philecology Curator of Economic Botany and Director of the NYBG Institute of Economic Botany, and Vice President for Botanical Science. Current field projects regularly take him to the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, and the island of Manhattan – where, in each of these places, he studies the use of plants by traditional cultures. He teaches ethnobotany at Columbia University and The City University of New York, and has authored, co-authored or edited 18 books and numerous scientific and popular articles. He frequently appears on television, radio and in print media, discussing the need for documenting the ancient wisdom of traditional cultures and keeping it in practice.
He has received numerous awards and honors for his scientific research and achievements. In 2009 he received the Distinguished Economic Botanist award from the Society for Economic Botany. In 2007 he received the Rachel Carson Award for Environmental Achievement from the Natural Products Association and was a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation during 2005-2006. He is the recipient of the 2004 American Association for the Advancement of Science International Award for Scientific Cooperation (“For leadership in the field of ethnobotany and devotion to establishing international collaborations and institutions that work toward preserving traditional knowledge and respect for the values of local communities”). He received the Frontiers of Science Award from the Society of Cosmetics Chemists in 2001, was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1999, and received the E. K. Janaki Ammal Medal from the Society of Ethnobotanists in 1998 (“For his long and distinguished service to ethnobotany”). He and Dr. Hans T. Beck received the Oberly Award for bibliographic excellence in the field of agricultural sciences from the American Library Association for their book Useful Palms of The World: A Synoptic Bibliography in 1991. Dr. Balick is a former President of the Society for Economic Botany, an international organization devoted to furthering research in the study of the relationship between plants and people; has been a Visiting Fellow at Green College, Oxford University; and serves on the boards of numerous scientific and cultural organizations. In March of 2009 he was accorded the high title of Luhk En Kairoir Dolen Katau Nett, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, in recognition of his efforts in cultural and biodiversity conservation of that island. 

Read the HerbalGram article about Michael.

View Michael's page on the New York Botanical Garden Web site.

Josef A. Brinckmann
Research Fellow for Medicinal Plants and Botanical Supply Chain
Traditional Medicinals, Inc.
Sebastopol, CA.

Josef has worked in the medicinal plant sector for over forty years with a focus on methods for production of pharmacopoeial quality botanicals according to both good agricultural and collection practices and standards for economic, environmental and social sustainability. He has worked at every level of the herb trade including manufacturers of extracts, finished herbal medicinal products for retail, professional products, natural products wholesale distribution, as well as an organic medicinal plant farming operation, wild collection, and a TCM teaching clinic. For over twenty years, Josef has worked as an international consultant for sustainable development and equitable trade of medicinal and aromatic plants and extracts in various country projects of intergovernmental organizations including UNCTAD/ITC, UNDP, and UNIDO, and occasional research projects on the conservation status of highly traded wild collected medicinal plant species for the CITES authorities of Germany and Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

As continued herbal education and volunteerism are important to Brinckmann, he has served as an Advisory Board member of the American Botanical Council since 2005, contributing editor of HerbalGram since 2010, and Advisory Group Member of the ABC’s Sustainable Herbs Program since 2019. He is also a member of the Medicinal Plant Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, and a member of the American Herbal Products Association Botanical Raw Materials Sustainability Committee.

Josef also volunteers with standards setting organizations including the FairWild Foundation, where he served on the Board of Trustees from 2008 until 2020. Since 2005, he has volunteered with the United States Pharmacopoeia, presently an elected member of the Botanical Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines Expert Committee (BDSHM-EC), and of the DSHM Nomenclature Joint Sub-Committee. Since 2006, he has also served the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia as an advisor on commercial sources & handling, as contributing writer of international regulatory status sections of the AHP monographs, and editorial board member of the AHP Herbal QRS (Quality, Research, Safety) Bulletin.

He received the 2013 AHPA Herbal Insight Award, the 2016 ABC Champion Award, and in 2016 was conferred an honorary degree of ‘Doctor of Humane Letters in Healing and Sustainability honoris causa’ jointly from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Christopher Hobbs, Ph.D.
Research scientist
Licensed acupuncturist and herbalist
Consultant to the natural products industry
Public speaker
Scientific and legal advisor

Dr. Christopher Hobbs is a fourth-generation, internationally renowned herbalist and mycologist, licensed acupuncturist, herbal clinician, research scientist, consultant to the dietary supplement industry, expert witness, botanist, public speaker, and author of over 20 books and numerous articles with over 35 years of experience. He co-founded the only national professional herbal practitioner’s organization in the U.S., the American Herbalist Guild.

The author or co-author of over 20 books, including the new “Christopher Hobbs’s Medicinal Mushrooms, the Essential Guide (Storey Publishing).”

Christopher Hobbs has lectured on herbal medicine world-wide. He earned his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley with research and publication in evolutionary biology, biogeography, phylogenetics, plant chemistry, and ethnobotany, and now faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Tieraona Low Dog, MD

Tieraona Low Dog, MD is a physician, author, and educator. She practiced herbal medicine, midwifery, massage therapy, and martial arts (she holds the 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do) before earning her medical degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Her unique background sets her apart from most conventionally trained physicians. Patients seek her out for her broader way of viewing health and healing.

President Bill Clinton, the National Cancer Institute, HRSA’s Bright Futures, and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine were just a few to appoint her to their advisory councils. Andrew Weil, MD asked her to run the Fellowship Training Program for Physicians at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, where she trained ~700 clinicians. She was a founding member of the American Board of Integrative Medicine and the Academy for Women’s Health.

Dr. Low Dog is one of the foremost experts in the United States on the safe and appropriate use of botanical remedies and dietary supplements. She has overseen the evaluation panel for supplement/botanical safety at the United States Pharmacopeia, including joint reviews with the Department of Defense, for the past twenty years. A prolific scholar, Dr. Low Dog has published 50 research articles in medical/science journals and written 20 chapters for medical textbooks. She has worked with many companies, helping them to craft safer, innovative, and effective products in the natural products space. She has been honored with many awards from academia, public health, and industry throughout her 40-year career.

Tieraona (tier-oh-nay) brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience to all that she does, but it is her rare ability to take complex scientific and medical information and make it highly accessible that makes her a beloved physician, valuable resource, and trusted friend. With her warm and down-to-earth style, Tieraona has been invited to speak at more than 600 conferences, reaching more than 50,000 people every year with her message of healthy nutrition, sensible dietary supplement use, integrative medicine, compassionate care, and deep ecology. She has authored five books, including four with National Geographic; Fortify Your Life, Healthy at Home, Life is Your Best Medicine, and Guide to Medicinal Herbs.

Bernadette M. Marriott, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita, Department of Medicine, MUSC College of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Military Division, Charleston, SC

Dr. Marriott has over 40 years of experience in the fields of nutrition, psychology, and comparative medicine with expertise in diet, nutrition and chronic disease. Dr. Marriott has worked in scientific and administrative settings in the federal government, universities, research institutes, and foundations. She served as the Deputy Director of the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB), founding director of the Office of Dietary Supplements at NIH, Vice Provost and Graduate Dean at Northern Arizona University, Vice President at RTI International, the Burroughs Welcome Fund, and the Samueli Institute and Principal Associate at Abt Associates. Bernadette’s research has focused on both human and animal nutrition and related behavior. Her most recent large-scale human nutrition clinical studies are concentrated on diet and dietary supplement use among military personnel. Dr. Marriott’s nutritional epidemiology research centers around dietary sugars. Her animal research focuses on the identification of the dietary patterns and nutrient analysis of the plants consumed by monkey troops in natural habitats in Nepal and Puerto Rico. She is a Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition, a member of the FNB, and a member of the Steering Committee of the National Nutrient Database Conference. Dr. Marriott has a B.Sc. in biochemistry/immunology from Bucknell University, a Ph.D. in psychology from King’s College, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and postgraduate training in trace mineral nutrition, comparative medicine, and advanced statistics.

Holly Shimizu
Consultant, Writer, and Lecturer
Former Executive Director, US Botanic Garden
First Curator, The National Herb Garden
Glen Echo, Maryland

Holly H. Shimizu is a nationally recognized horticulturist with a rich background in public gardens, herbs, and plant conservation. After working in numerous gardens in England, Germany, Holland, and Belgium, Holly was the first Curator of the National Herb Garden at the US National Arboretum in Washington, DC. Most recently, Holly was the Executive Director of the US Botanic Garden, on the National Mall, where she was responsible for all aspects of running the Garden which experienced a renaissance during her leadership.  

She has degrees in horticulture from Temple University, Ambler Campus, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Maryland where she conducted research in the area of plant roots. In 2009, Holly received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland. Throughout her career, Holly has received many awards including the prestigious Thomas Roland Medal for outstanding contributions to horticultural education from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, as well as the Professional Award for Outstanding Public Garden Director from the American Horticultural Society. She has written for numerous publications, books, and has been an international flower show judge. Holly is an Honorary Member of the Garden Club of America and has served with a range of organizations including Longwood Gardens, American Public Garden Association, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, and many more — she is dedicated to heightening an awareness and love of plants through her work. 

Currently, Holly is on the Advisory Council for Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson Botanical Garden, part of the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica, is on the Advisory Board of the Southern Delaware Botanical Garden, and is lecturing, writing, and leading horticultural trips internationally. Her husband Osamu is a Garden Designer that she met while working in Europe. They live in Glen Echo, Maryland with their naughty dog where they enjoy their sanctuary garden near the Potomac River. In addition, they are creating a series of herb gardens around their 1730 house in Lewes, Delaware.

Mark Blumenthal,
Founder and Executive Director,
American Botanical Council
(ex officio member)