Thirty Years at The Center

By James A. Jackson, MT (ASCP) CLS, PhD, BCLD(ABB) & Ron Hunninghake, M.D.

One of the first units of The Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International, Inc. (previously known as The Garvey Center) established by Dr. Hugh D. Riordan thirty years ago was a small laboratory, now known as The BioCenter Laboratory, dedicated to nutrition and food sensitivity testing.

Scientists at the NIH demonstrated that high doses of I. V. vitamin C (ascorbic acid) really do kill cancer cells.

Sharon Neathery was one of the first technicians hired by Dr. Riordan. Sharon had been trained in St. Louis, Missouri, by the developers of the Cytotoxic Food Sensitivity test. She had other laboratory skills as well. Dr. Riordan’s judgment was excellent since Sharon is still a member of the laboratory staff and is responsible for performing many of the most difficult procedures in our laboratory. In addition to Sharon, our excellent staff consists of Jerry Tiemeyer, laboratory manager; medical technologists Chris Revard, Nhu Tang, and Doug Johnson (parttime); research chemist Kevin Alliston, Ph.D. (part-time); phlebotomist and receptionist Megan Powers; and receptionist Anh Le.

Under the guidance of The Center’s Board and Dr. Riordan, our physicians, and lab staff (all past and present), the Bio-Center Laboratory is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in nutrition and other laboratory testing. The laboratory has received accreditation from the Federal Government as an independent reference laboratory through the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) continuously since the laboratory was established. Physicians and other hospitals send specimens to the Bio-Center Laboratory from many different states and several foreign countries.

The laboratory staff also supports the research division at The Center and was helpful in the intravenous vitamin C treatment for cancer. This treatment has recently been vindicated by scientists at the NIH who demonstrated that high doses of I. V. vitamin C (ascorbic acid) really do kill cancer cells. Working with the most modern equipment, the laboratory staff have researched and developed many new methods of measuring nutrients and have authored or coauthored over fifty articles dealing with nutrition and testing.

Longevity of the laboratory staff is also remarkable. The present staff has an average of over thirteen years working in the Bio-Center Laboratory. About thirteen years ago, Dr. Riordan, several of the physicians, and the laboratory director decided to design a program to allow a patient to have various nutrients measured in their blood in hopes of keeping optimal levels of these same nutrients to prevent the early onset of degenerative diseases. This program was called “Beat The Odds.” The program has now grown to 12 panels and is called Health Hunter/ Beat The Odds. Information about these panels may be obtained on The Center’s website To find out more about the Bio-Center Laboratory, please visit our website,

The Center for Healing Arts, the clinical arm of The Center, grew out of Dr. Riordan’s early biochemical research on chronically ill patients. Because Dr. Riordan was a psychiatrist, The Center’s early patients were mostly physician-referred for sustained psychiatric illness. They came for what was then known as the “two-day evaluation” due to the amount of time required for this extensive battery of bio-chemical tests at The Bio-Center Laboratory.

Dr. Riordan’s unique evaluation often proved successful at uncovering unsuspected underlying causes for these desperate cases, who had not gotten results elsewhere. He fancied himself a kind of Sherlock Holmes, with conventional doctors functioning as Scotland Yard. Conventional medicine performs routine testing to diagnose standard disease states. If the subsequent therapy failed to correct the illness,  something more was obviously needed. Dr. Riordan developed an extensive knowledge base gleaned from hosting fifteen International Conferences on Human Functioning and attending hundreds of holistic and nutritionally oriented seminars around the world. Combining this knowledge with a precise laboratory characterization of the patient’s unique biochemistry, he was able to solve many medical mysteries and pave the way to better health for thousands of patients over his 30-year career at The Center.

Early on in this process, Dr. Riordan invented a program called Personal Health Control. Each week, different “experiments” were assigned to “co-learners” who had signed up to find out more about what made them well and what made them sick. By eliminating refined sugar, enhancing fiber intake, measuring urine vitamin C, and observing the pH of their saliva, to mention just a few of the program’s components, co-learners arrived at a startling discovery: they could make choices in their lifestyle that helped them to feel better and function better!

Much to his delight, Dr. Riordan found that making the biochemical modifications revealed by the two-day evaluation and adopting a co-leamer’ s lifestyle helped not only psychiatric patients but ANY chronically ill patient! By correcting their underlying biochemistry with orthomolecular protocols, by eliminating toxic foods and heavy metals, and by encouraging the adoption of more healthy whole food diets and lifestyle patterns, hopelessly ill patients were transformed into healthier, better functioning co-learners.

In the early 1990s, this clinical program was renamed The Olive W. Garvey Center for Healing Arts, in honor of Mrs. Garvey’s early insight: that doctors could use nutrition to heal what many considered “unhealable.” Her tremendous support was instrumental in allowing Dr. Riordan to create a Center where his favorite quote became an everyday experience for thousands of Center co learners: “While they were saying it couldn’t be done, it was done.”