Dr. Ina Vandebroek is a research specialist at the New York Botanical Garden where she is directing several research projects, including “Improving Healthcare for Underserved Immigrant Latino Communities in New York City” funded by The Aetna Founation and The Cigna Foundation and “Dominican Traditional Medicine for Urban Community Health” funded by the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Ina investigates the use of medicinal plants and cultural beliefs about illnesses in New York City’s immigrant communities of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Mexicans, addressing questions about the shift in medicinal plant use and knowledge with immigration from rural to urban environments. Her research results are used to develop curricula materials for health care professionals to improve cultural sensitivity during the clinical encounter.
Dr. Vandebroek was featured on the PBS program “The Secret Life of Scientists” where her passion for science and salsa dancing are featured. She has also collaborated with artist Jef Geys on an installation at the 2009 Venice Biennale.