Research on Environmental and Human Health
Rich Niesenbaum - Department of Biology - Muhlenberg College

How do Latinos and Non-Hispanic White Communities Use and Define Herbal Medicines? 

Our objective has been to investigate the use of and attitudes about herbal medicines in a variety of groups.     One hundred twenty-five surveys were collected from people of varying professional, racial and ethnic, age, and economic status backgrounds or groups from the Lehigh Valley, PA and Orange County, NY.  Attitudes toward use of herbal medicines, subjective norm (looking at the views of the subjects’ family and friends), and control over access to herbal medicines were quantified to compare how gender, profession, and ethnicity affect peoples’ past and future intent of use of herbal medicines.  There were significant differences among racial groups and between the health versus non-health professionals, but not between gender groups, in their attitudes toward and use of herbal medicines.  A Northern Pennsylvania Latino sample compared to a non-Hispanic sample had a more positive attitude towards herbal medicines as well as a different definition of what substances comprise the herbal medicine category. Attitudes predicted herbal medicine use in both of these ethnic groups; however, correlates of a positive attitude were different in the two groups.
Collaborators: Beth Morling, Psychology Department, Muhlenberg College
Students: Diana Bharucha
Publications: Publication: Bharucha, D.X., B. Morling, and R.A. Niesenbaum. 2003. Use and definition of herbal medicines differ by ethnicity. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy 37:1409-1413

Links between water quality and public health In Costa Rica

Gold mining, mercury, and Public Health in Costa Rica

Collaborator: Joesph Elliott