Ina Vandebroek

Matthew Calbraith Perry Assistant Curator of Economic Botany and Caribbean Program Director, The New York Botanical Garden

Ph.D., Ghent University
Expertise: Ethnobotany, Medical Anthropology, Community Health, Migrant Studies, Conservation of Biological Resources and Cultural Heritage


Dr. Ina Vandebroek's research is at the intersection of ethnobotany and community health. She has fifteen years experience in research and international cooperation projects in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and New York City. Currently she conducts fieldwork in rural Jamaica. Ina studies the dynamics of medicinal plant knowledge and use for primary healthcare by local communities in remote rural areas, as well as by Latino and Caribbean immigrants in New York City. Her research shows that, even in times of general loss of biological and cultural diversity worldwide, the use of plants as medicines remains popular in many communities today. Her work with immigrants from the Dominican Republic in New York City has important implications for healthcare delivery to an underserved community. Ina uses the results of her research to develop training activities with healthcare providers in New York City to help establish a better dialogue and trusted relationship between providers and their Latino/Caribbean patients, and promote culturally sensitive healthcare for underserved communities.

Selected Publications

Van Andel, Tinde, Hugo J. de Boer, Joanne Barnes & Ina Vandebroek (2014). Medicinal plants used for menstrual disorders in Latin America, the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia and their uterine properties: A review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 155: 992-1000.

Vandebroek, Ina & Michael J. Balick (2014) Lime for Chest Congestion, Bitter Orange for Diabetes: Foods as Medicines in the Dominican Community in New York City. Economic Botany 68: 177-189. View PDF

Hanazaki, Natalia, Dannieli Firme Herbst, Mel Simionato Marques & Ina Vandebroek (2013) Evidence of the shifting baseline syndrome in ethnobotanical research. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 9: 75. Available at

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