FDA’s Dr. Cara Welch Opening Speaker at the 9th AHPA Botanical Congress

FDA’s Dr. Cara Welch Opening Speaker at the 9th AHPA Botanical Congress

Virtual Event agenda to focus on the impact of COVID-19 on the Botanicals Industry

Published: Thursday, April 15, 2021

Silver Spring, MD, April 15, 2021 -- The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the national trade association and voice of the herbal industry, today posted the agenda and speaker information for its industry-wide AHPA Botanical Congress—this year, to be held virtually on Monday, May 24.

Themed “Botanicals in the time of COVID,” the one-day event will explore regulatory, supply chain, and other business-related issues directly impacting those companies and individuals doing business in the botanical/herbal and dietary supplement industries.

Cara Welch, Ph.D., Acting Director, Office of Dietary Supplement Programs (ODSP), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will address the attendees in the opening session. Dr. Welch is expected to share insights into how the Agency re-adjusted its priorities during the COVID outbreak and how that re-prioritization will continue to impact the botanical industry in areas such as inspections, approvals of structure/function claims, NDI notifications and other issues.

A second session, “The Current Herbal International Regulatory Environment,” also examines the impact of the COVID pandemic on the regulatory landscape, but from an international market perspective. Moderated by Chi Hee Kim, Senior Director, Global Government Affairs, Herbalife Nutrition, the session’s first confirmed speaker is Simon Pettman, Executive Director, International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA), with an additional speaker to be announced.

Perhaps the most unique session, “The Impact of COVID on the North American Traditional Healers,” is the one that will best highlight the human element, specifically the threat and toll that the COVID pandemic presented for Indigenous communities who faced—and continue to face—a disproportionate risk to their well-being, especially during this crisis. Moderated by Bill Chioffi, VP, Strategic Partnerships and Business Development, Ric Scalzo Institute for Botanical Research, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences, the session features an esteemed panel: Linda Black Elk, Catawba Nation descendant and Food Sovereignty Coordinator, United Tribes Technical College; Alicia Cook, LPN, Master of Traditional Medicine, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe; Crystal Lee, Ph.D., Founder/CEO, United Natives; and Jonathan Nez, President, The Navajo Nation, and should have special meaning for those with an appreciation for the historic context of botanicals and herbals.

The remaining two sessions are business-forward panels, designed to offer take-aways for the industry on handling the “new normal.” One panel will address how the botanicals industry marketplace shifted during COVID and how nimble marketers changed strategies to adapt. The other panel will detail what COVID’s disruptions taught us about the importance of investing in a sustainable and transparent supply chain that protects the people, the products and the business.

AHPA President Michael McGuffin said, “AHPA’s ninth Botanical Congress follows the most disruptive year in the Association’s almost 40-year history. Everyone is eager to move beyond the isolation and business disruption of the COVID pandemic, so when our members asked us to focus on what the botanical industry experienced and how as a community, we can learn from and support each other, we created an exceptional event that I trust will help members shape a path forward.”

Registration (including on-demand availability for one year) is $399 for AHPA members and $525 for non-members through April 23 under the Early Bird Registration promotion. Prices go up to $449 and $575, respectively, on April 24.

Virtual Event Details

  • Monday, May 24, 2021
  • 7:30 AM – 3 PM Pacific Time Zone
  • Agenda, speakers, registration and more information, here.

9th Botanical Congress Sponsors:


For questions about the AHPA Botanical Congress, including sponsorship and exhibit opportunities and promotional discounts, please contact Amber Bennett, 301-588-1171, ext. 105.

For media requests, including press registration, please contact Judy Blatman, or Glenn Christenson.

About AHPA
Founded in 1982, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is comprised of more than 350 member companies, consisting primarily of domestic and foreign companies doing business as growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbs and herbal products as foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and non-prescription drugs, and also including companies that provide expert services to the herbal trade. AHPA’s Mission is to promote the responsible and sustainable commerce of herbal products to ensure that consumers have informed access to a wide variety of safe herbal goods. AHPA’s Vision is for high quality herbal products to be readily accessible to and broadly used by consumers. More at ahpa.org.

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