The nonprofit NHP Research Society of Canada (NHPRS) has announced NICM Adjunct, Michael Smith as the recipient of its 2017 Neil Tower's Award. The award honours those who have made significant contributions to natural products research, regulation and commercialisation in Canada and worldwide.
Mr Smith is an internationally recognised leader in regulation, policy development and research programs in the areas of Natural Health Products and Dietary Supplements. For the last 20 years, he has provided expert advice to the governments of Canada, Australia and across the world.
"To receive an award for contributing to the advancement of the NHP research community is a great honour," said Mr Smith.
"My thanks to the NHP Research Society for their continual efforts to promote the integration of basic, clinical and policy research, advancing NHPs in Canada."
Mr Smith originally trained as a pharmacist and licensed naturopathic doctor. In 2001 he joined the Natural Health Products Directorate at Health Canada and over the next eight years held several positions leading to serving as Director of the Bureau of the Partnerships, Outreach and International Affairs responsible for International collaboration and stakeholder engagement. On a two-year assignment from Health Canada, in 2009 Mr Smith became the Assistant Secretary/Head of the Office of Complementary Medicine at the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia responsible for the management of the pre-market regulatory framework for complementary medicines.
Over his career, Mr Smith has worked actively on the international stage most notably with the World Health Organization (WHO) Traditional Medicine program and in 2009, was appointed to its 12 member Expert Advisory Panel on Traditional and Complementary Medicine.
Among his many noteworthy accomplishments, Mr Smith was one of primary technical drafters of the WHO Global Strategy for Traditional and Complementary Medicine (2014-2023) and continues to participate in WHO projects, working groups and consultations notably dealing with the regulation and policy setting related to traditional and complementary medicines.
He has extensive experience managing national and international priority setting exercises and stakeholder engagement.
It is especially apt that he is the recipient of the Neil Tower's Award as Dr Smith was integral to the framing and formation of the NHP Research Society of Canada in 2003 as a strategy for addressing the identified need for a National NHP Research Network.
"Michael Smith is a widely respected source of perspectives and insights into the regulation of herbal medicines internationally, and has played an integral role in establishing research priorities for NHPs in Canada," said Dr Paula Brown of the NHPRS Board.
Connie Kehler, president of the Canadian Herb, Specialty Ag and NHPs Coalition said, "Michael has always provided measured, thoughtful, and insightful approaches to the issues and challenges we face as an NHP Industry. His consultative and cooperative approach helped set the foundation for NHP regulation in Canada."
About the Award
Dr. G. H. Neil Towers (1923-2004) was a botanist, an ethnobotanist, a plant chemist, a brilliant teacher and an accomplished researcher who established his scientific career first at McGill, then at the National Research Council in Halifax until 1964 when he joined UBC where he maintained an active research program as a full faculty member until 1989 and as an emeritus faculty until his death. The award honouring Neil Towers was established by the NHPRS in 2012 to honor those who have made significant contributions to natural products research, regulation and commercialization in Canada and worldwide.
Past recipients of the Neil Tower's Award include Dr Paula N. Brown (2016), Dr Pierre Haddad (2015), Dr Jacqueline Shan (2014), Dr Susan Murch (2013) and Dr John Thor Arnason (2012). The Neil Tower's Award was presented to Mr Smith at the 14th Annual NHP Research Conference on March 9th in Vancouver, British Columbia.