Dr. Mary Hardy, board certified in internal medicine and a specialist in botanical and integrative medicine, has actively combined complementary and alternative therapies with traditional Western medicine for over twenty-five years in both her clinical practice and research projects. After completing her undergraduate studies at Vassar College, she returned to her hometown, New Orleans, to attend medical school at Louisiana State University. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Tufts New England Medical Center.
In 1998, Dr. Hardy founded the Integrative Medicine Clinic at Cedars-Sinai and participated in a NCCAM funded research project that evaluated the barriers and facilitators of Integrative Medicine practice based on her clinic. She also has extensive experience in evaluating the evidence base for the efficacy and safety of complementary/ integrative medicine as part of her work as a research associate at the RAND Corporation.
Dr. Hardy was the co-principal investigator in a number of systematic reviews of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) topics conducted in the Evidence Based Practice Center at RAND. Her projects there, sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, included assessing data for the safety of ephedra as well as the efficacy and safety of alternative cancer practices. She has served on and chaired several United States Pharmacopeia (USP) expert committees examining the safety of selected dietary supplements and chaired the USP committee, Dietary Supplements Safety Modeling Expert Panel. The panel is tasked with developing methodology to assess risk in multi-component dietary supplements (including botanical products). She has also served for years on the External Advisory Council for the Natural Product Directorate for the Canadian Ministry of Health assessing scientific issues pertinent to regulatory issues and serving as a natural products clinical trial design.
Additionally, Dr. Hardy served for two and half years as the Associate Director of the UCLA Botanical Research Center, funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Her duties there included identifying high quality botanical extracts to be used in human and animal studies on the efficacy of herbal products to interrupt carcinogenesis. She was responsible for the identification of the plants, education of the fellows & researchers on the principles of botanical medicine and direction of the research projects as well as the assurance that samples were free of contaminants.
Dr. Hardy, the recent past Medical Director of the Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, is a recognized leader in the field of Integrative Oncology. She has served as a board member of the Society for Integrative Oncology and as co-leader of the Oncology Interest Group in the Consortium of Academic Health Centers of Integrative Medicine. She has been a member of the Stiles Integrative Oncology Center at UCLA and has been co-director of a fourth year elective in Integrative Oncology.
She has also helped to establish the Integrative Medicine Health and Wellness Program at the Venice Family Clinic, the largest free clinic in the United States and served as the Co-director of that program. Dr. Hardy was co-director for the successful multi-disciplinary clinical program for the management of chronic pain that has been established as a result of her team’s efforts.
Dr. Hardy has recently completed a popular book for Readers Digest entitled Best Remedies and serves on a number of editorial and scientific advisory boards including the American Botanical Council, Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Phytomedicine and Integrative Medicine: A Clinicians Journal.
Dr. Hardy is recognized as an authority on integrative medicine and herbal/natural products by organizations such as the Office of Dietary Supplements, the California Medical Board, the Canadian government, the United States Pharmacopeia, American Medical Association, the American Pharmaceutical Association, National Geographic, CBS, NBC, Discovery Channel and the Los Angeles Times.
Dr. Hardy’s current research interests include reviewing the evidence for the safety and efficacy of natural therapies, especially botanicals as well as conducting clinical trials of dietary supplements and lifestyle choices to reduce toxicity and to improve outcomes of conventional cancer treatment. She also has a long-standing interest in patients who have shown exceptional responses during cancer care.