Letter from the Acting Director

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

The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) is the lead federal entity for the scientific exploration of dietary supplements, and it's my pleasure to serve as its Acting Director at this time. ODS continues to make remarkable progress in supporting research to understand if and how dietary supplements may help to promote our health. We develop and disseminate research tools to advance the science and work to increase the cadre of investigators who study dietary supplements.

We also communicate what we learn to scientists, policymakers, health professionals, industry, and consumers. This function is especially important because about half the U.S. population are regular users of dietary supplements. People have many questions about dietary supplements and their effects on health, especially as they try to negotiate a marketplace selling tens of thousands of products with ingredients that range from vitamins and minerals to botanicals and more complex mixtures. To answer these questions, ODS takes a critical look at the science behind supplements, identifying gaps in knowledge that must be addressed, and filling those gaps with the necessary research. Our focus is on the efficacy, safety, and quality of these products. 

Since its inception in 1995, ODS has provided the vision and leadership needed to galvanize and support collaborations within and beyond NIH. These include work with other federal agencies, the private and academic sectors, and international collaborations that capitalize on the talents and capabilities of ODS staff and others to meet mutually beneficial goals. This work is efficient and cost effective because ODS does not duplicate the work of other agencies.

The ODS staff are exceptionally talented, with national and international reputations for their work in such fields as analytical chemistry, pharmacognosy, biochemistry, epidemiology, clinical nutrition, dietetics, and health communications. Staff members have a shared vision and a collaborative spirit that enhance their roles in addressing complex and sometimes challenging issues pertaining to dietary supplements. I am honored to lead ODS.

Best regards,
Joseph M. Betz, Ph.D.
Acting Director, Office of Dietary Supplements
National Institutes of Health