AUSTIN, Texas (April 26, 2023) — The American Botanical Council (ABC) presented its 2023 Fredi Kronenberg Excellence in Research and Education in Botanicals for Women’s Health Award to Leanna Standish, PhD, ND, LAc, FABNO, a Seattle-based neuroscientist and naturopathic physician who is board certified in naturopathic oncology. She is the co-founder and co-director of the Seattle-based Advanced Integrative Medical Science (AIMS) Institute, a clinic and research and training facility that provides care to patients with chronic illnesses, with an emphasis on integrative oncology and psychiatry.
Standish is a senior research scientist at Bastyr University’s School of Naturopathic Medicine in Kenmore, Washington, the former medical director of the Bastyr Integrative Oncology Research Center (BIORC), and a former affiliate research professor at the University of Washington’s Integrated Brain Imaging Center. She is also an affiliate faculty member at Sonoran University of Health Sciences in Tempe, Arizona, and the founder and CEO of Sacred Medicines PBC, a botanical drug company focused on the development and clinical testing of standardized psychoactive plant medicines.
The ABC Fredi Kronenberg Award was created in 2018 and named in honor of distinguished researcher, educator, and longtime ABC Board of Trustees member Fredi Kronenberg, PhD, who died in April 2017. Kronenberg dedicated her professional life to the study of medicinal plants and phytomedicines for women’s health conditions. She particularly was interested in botanicals, such as black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), for the treatment of menopausal symptoms.
Kronenberg was a champion of integrative medicine and co-founded the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at Columbia University — the first complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) program at an Ivy League school and the first government-funded CAM research and educational center. For 10 years, she also co-directed an onsite five-day continuing education course in botanical medicine for physicians and other health care providers.
“I feel very proud to have been named this year’s awardee,” Standish wrote. “What an honor to be placed in the same ranks as Dr. Fredi Kronenberg. Thank you, ABC, and thank you to all the manufacturers of the botanical and nutrient medicines that we use in taking care of our patients.”
Standish received a PhD in neuroscience/biopsychology from the University of Massachusetts in 1978, a doctorate in naturopathic medicine (ND) from Bastyr University in 1991, a Master of Science in acupuncture and Oriental medicine from Bastyr University in 1994, and board certification in naturopathic oncology in 2006.
Her research has focused on HIV/AIDS, cancer, and hepatitis C. She has collaborated with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle and Children’s Hospital to study CAM use among cancer patients in Washington State and has conducted research at Bastyr University to identify and describe treatments that naturopathic physicians in North America use for breast cancer.
Standish has been a principal investigator for the Bastyr/University of Washington Oncomycology Translational Research Center, which studied the potential of Asian medicinal mushrooms to treat breast and prostate cancer, and a principal investigator for several studies, including a study of polysaccharide-K (PSK) as a neoadjuvant therapy for locally advanced breast cancer; the Breast Cancer Integrative Oncology: Prospective Matched Controlled Outcomes Study; and a randomized clinical trial of meditation or massage in end-of-life cancer patients.
Her current research focuses on the use of the medicinal mushroom turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) for the treatment of breast and prostate cancer and the use of functional brain imaging to assess the treatment of brain cancer. She is involved with integrative oncology outcome studies, including the Canadian/US Integrative Oncology Study (CUSIOS), which describes survival outcomes for people with advanced-stage breast, colorectal, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer and who have received advanced integrative oncology treatment at participating North American integrative oncology clinics. Standish also is developing projects on intravenous resveratrol (a polyphenol from plants including grapes [Vitis vinifera]) and intravenous curcumin (a phenolic compound from turmeric [Curcuma longa]) to treat cancer.
The AIMS Institute, which Standish co-directs, provides ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for people with chronic illnesses, including cancer, and will be the site of a phase I safety and dose-finding trial of a standardized ayahuasca tea, the Amazonian psychoactive ritual brew.
Standish has provided adjunctive naturopathic medical care to hundreds of people with cancer and worked with Seattle-area oncologists to provide integrated conventional/CAM care. She is a founding board member of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians and was voted one of Seattle’s best physicians in Seattle Met magazine in 2002, 2004, and 2008.
She has been a member of both the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense study sections for scientific review of CAM research in cancer and has served as a CAM oncology advisor at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She also conducts basic neurophysiological research on mind/body interactions and has mentored postdoctoral fellows in the areas of CAM and integrated cancer treatment and prevention.
Aviva Romm, MD, a midwife, herbalist, author, and Yale-trained physician who received the Kronenberg Award in 2018, wrote: “Dr. Standish has been a longstanding pillar in the world of botanical medicine and the integration of science and traditional wisdom this award represents. Her work bridging the worlds of neuroscience with consciousness and plants and her contributions to the advancement of science in naturopathy are powerful and exemplary. It is my pleasure to welcome Leanna into the lineage and sisterhood of those of us who have received the ABC Fredi Kronenberg Award and who are honoring the memory of Fredi in our commitment, as women, to botanical science.”
Previous recipients of the ABC Fredi Kronenberg Award are Gail Mahady, PhD (2022); Tori Hudson, ND (2020); Mary Hardy, MD (2019); Aviva Romm, MD (2018); and Tieraona Low Dog, MD (2017).
The 2023 ABC Champion Award was presented at the 18th annual ABC Celebration and Botanical Excellence Awards Ceremony on March 8, 2023, in Anaheim, California, during the annual Natural Products Expo West Conference and Trade Show.
The ABC Celebration was generously underwritten by Alkemist Labs, Amin Talati Wasserman, Applied Food Sciences, Brassica Protection Products, Eurofins, Euromed, EuroPharma, Herb Pharm, Indena, MegaFood, Natural Factors, New Chapter, NOW Foods, RFI, RT Specialty, and the United Natural Products Alliance.