Professor Selected for Course on Dietary Supplements at National Institutes of Health

Andrea Boyar
Dr. Andrea Boyar
Fifty-two percent of adult Americans say they are taking vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements—and so do a third of U.S. children. To learn more about this burgeoning, $23.7 billion industry, eighty faculty members and graduate students, including Dr. Andrea Boyar, chair of Lehman's Health Sciences Department, were recently invited by the National Institutes of Health (N.I.H.) to an intensive, week-long course on these products.

Dr. Boyar also teaches in Lehman's Dietetics, Foods, and Nutrition program. At the course, held at N.I.H. headquarters in Bethesda, Md., she heard from representatives of Congress and other groups that study, advocate, or educate about dietary supplements. Also speaking were experts from the N.I.H., academic institutions, and Federal regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission.

The goal was to give academics with a serious interest in this area both essential knowledge of dietary supplements and a thorough overview of the issues, concepts, and controversies surrounding them.

"We want to position our students as future professionals who are able to guide people to the safe and effective use of these products," Dr. Boyar explained, adding that she plans to eventually create a separate course on dietary supplements at Lehman.

The practicum also emphasized the importance of scientific investigations to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and value of these products for health promotion and disease prevention and treatment, as well as how to carry out this type of research.

A registered dietitian and certified dietitian-nutritionist, Dr. Boyar holds a doctorate from Cornell University and has been a member of the Lehman faculty since 1986. Her research interests include the study of disease prevention through nutrition. She recently spearheaded the creation of Lehman’s first organic vegetable garden, which she hopes will educate people about healthy food choices and promote the idea of eating locally.