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Joseph M. Betz, Ph.D., Acting Director, ODS

Joseph M. Betz, Ph.D., was appointed Acting Director of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) in June 2018. Dr. Betz directs an office whose purpose and responsibilities were defined in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994:

  1. to explore more fully the potential role of dietary supplements as a significant part of the efforts of the United States to improve health care;
  2. to promote scientific study of the benefits of dietary supplements in maintaining health and preventing chronic disease and other health-related conditions;
  3. to conduct and coordinate scientific research within NIH relating to dietary supplements;
  4. to collect and compile the results of scientific research relating to dietary supplements, including scientific data from foreign sources; and
  5. to serve as the principal advisor to the Secretary and to the Assistant Secretary for Health and provide advice to the Director of NIH, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration on issues relating to dietary supplements.

Dr. Betz joined ODS in 2002 as the first director of the Analytical Methods and Reference Materials (AMRM) program. As AMRM director, he oversaw several large intra- and extra-governmental initiatives with the goal of providing stakeholders with rugged, validated analytical methods and reference materials for measuring natural products in research, industrial, and regulatory settings.

Prior to joining ODS, Dr. Betz was vice president for scientific and technical affairs at the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). Before serving at AHPA, Dr. Betz worked for many years at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) beginning when he joined the Division of Natural Products at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for his postdoctoral work. Later he accepted a fulltime job as a research chemist at FDA, where he remained for 12 years.

Dr. Betz is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and in the Department of Cell Biology and Biotechnology at his alma mater, the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, now called the University of the Sciences (USciences). He is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Misher College of Arts and Sciences in the University of the Sciences. He is a member of the American Society of Pharmacognosy and a fellow of AOAC International. He also is chair of the Editorial Board for the Journal of AOAC International, a member of the United States Pharmacopeia’s Expert Committee on Dietary Supplements, and serves on expert scientific advisory committees for the governments of Canada and Hong Kong.

The author or co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, Dr. Betz is the recipient of the American Botanical Council’s first Norman R. Farnsworth Award for excellence in Botanical Research, the American Herbal Product Association’s Herbal Insight Award for contributions to the Botanical Sciences, AOAC International’s Technical Division on Reference Materials (TDRM) Reference Material Achievement Award, and the American Society of Pharmacognosy’s Varro E. Tyler Prize for outstanding scientific contributions to the broad field of dietary supplements, with special emphasis on botanicals. He was recognized by the NIH Office of the Director with an Honor Award for his contributions to the establishment and development of the ODS Vitamin D Standardization Program.

A native of Philadelphia Dr. Betz earned a B.Sc. degree in Biology at USciences and a M.Sc. in Marine and Environmental Science at C.W. Post/Long Island University. Dr. Betz earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacognosy at USciences.