Executive Board

Sin-Ae Park, Ph.D, IPPC Executive Chair (2016 – current)          

Dr. Sin-Ae Park is a faculty in the Department of Environment Health Science at Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea. She graduated her M.S. in Horticultural Science from Konkuk University, Seoul and earned a Ph.D. in Horticultural Therapy from Kansas State University. Dr. Park completed the first post-doctoral research fellowship at Kansas State University and the second post-doctoral research fellowship at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. Dr. Park is a current chair of the International People Plant Council. She is working for research and teaching responsibilities in human issues in horticulture and horticultural therapy. Dr. Park’s research investigates the therapeutic mechanisms of horticultural activity in physical and psychological, and cognitive aspects. Also, she develops research-based horticultural activity interventions and investigate its health benefits in various populations. Dr. Park has more than 50 publications in scientific journals. Dr. Park has received numerous awards throughout her career including the Charles A. Lewis Research in Excellence Award, Excellence Research Award, Excellence Oral Presentation Award, etc. She is involved in the Korean Horticultural Therapy and Well-Being Association, having been a member of the Board of Directors and she is certified as the Korean Horticultural Therapist Level 1.


Candice Shoemaker, Ph.D, IPPC 2nd Chair

Dr. Candice Shoemaker is a Professor and Department Head in the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources at Kansas State Univesity. In addition to being department head, she directs the campus M.S. and Ph.D. programs and the online graduate certificate program in horticultural therapy. Dr. Shoemaker is also involved in the Urban Food Systems specialization in the M.S. in horticulture program.  Shoemaker’s research program investigates the physical and psychological health benefits of gardening, focusing on children and older adults, and the community benefits of urban agriculture. This research allows her to work with students and colleagues from across a wide range of disciplines, including kinesiology, food science and human nutrition. She has successfully obtained over $1,600,000 in grant funding to support her research programs. Dr. Shoemaker is also the executive chair of the People Plant Council, an international council that promotes research and communication on the effect that plants have on human well-being and improved life-quality. In this role she gets to work with people worldwide in planning the biennial International People Plant Symposium and facilitating the publication of the symposium proceedings. She is involved in the American Horticultural Therapy Association, having been a member of the Board of Directors, and currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture. Dr. Shoemaker has more than 35 publications in scientific journals, proceedings, and books and has presented her work around the world. Dr. Shoemaker has received numerous awards throughout her career including the Charles A. Lewis Excellence in Research Award, the American Horticultural Therapy Association Publication Award, the American Horticultural Therapy Association Alice Burlingame Humanitarian Service Award and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Excellence in College and University Teaching National Award.


Diane Relf, Ph.D, IPPC 1st Chair

Diane Relf received her MS and PhD from the University of Maryland where she pioneered in the field of Horticultural Therapy and co-founded the American Horticultural Therapy Association. She is a Professor Emeritus in the Virginia Tech Horticulture Department where she was the state Consumer Horticulture Extension Specialist with statewide responsibilities in all aspects of non-commercial horticulture education and supported the horticulture industry in marketing to consumers. She and her staff provided support to agents and the public in the initiation and growth of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program; The Virginia Gardener education program consisting of weekly radio program and newspaper column, monthly newsletter, numerous electronic resources and over 70 VCE publications; the development of 4-H and youth gardening materials; and providing training to extension agents, public school teachers and the general public. Her teaching responsibilities included non-majors home gardening, introduction to horticulture therapy, and several graduate level courses in horticultural therapy. Her research and lecturing program focused on horticulture therapy and other aspects of human issues in horticulture. As founder of the International People Plant Council she wrote chapters for and edited a number of books and lectured in over a 15 countries. Since retirement she has continued writing and lecturing on HT and HIH as well as focusing on making art and the combination of art and gardening.


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