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Executive Board

Dr. Park.jpeg

Sin-Ae Park, Ph.D,

IPPC Executive Chair (2016 – current)      

Professor of Department of Bio & Healing Convergence, Graduate School

Konkuk University   

Dr. Sin-Ae Park is a faculty in the Professor of Department of Bio & Healing Convergence of Graduate School 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. She is currently 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 aspects. Also, she develops research-based horticultural therapy programs and investigate its health benefits in various populations. Dr. Park is actively involving the International People Plant Symposium and she is serving as an Editor-in-Chief for the symposium proceedings. Also, she currently serves on the Editoral Board of the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture published by the American Horticultural Therapy Association. In 2010 and 2014, she received the Charles, A. Lewis Research in Excellence Award from the American Horticultural Theapy Association. 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
Professor of Horticulture and Human Health
Kansas State University

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
Professor and Extension Specialist of Department of Horticulture

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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.


Chun Yen Chang, Ph.D,

IPPC Vice Chair (2021 – current)

Professor of Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

National Taiwan University

Professor Chang teaches at Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture in National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. He examines the relationship between landscapes and human health and wellbeing. One of his most important contributions has been to develop a framework describing relationships between healthy landscapes and human health. He is Director of the “Laboratory of Healthy Landscape Healthy People East” which is cooperating with the western group from the University of Illinois in Urbana. Professor Chang has served as the president of the Outdoor Recreation Association of R.O.C. (Taiwan), the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Landscape Architecture (Taiwan), the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Outdoor Recreation Research (Taiwan), Taiwan’s Delegate to the International Federation of Landscape Architecture (IFLA), the Coeditor-in-Chief of the Journal Landscape and Ecological Engineering.  He is currently serves as the vice-president of the Chinese Taiwan Society of Landscape Architects.

Walk in Nature


The mission of the International People Plant Council (IPPC), an international group of various individuals and professions, is to document and communicate the effect that plants have on human well-being and improved life-quality. It is carried out through a three-part strategy focusing on the psychological, sociological, physiological, economic, and environmental effects of plants on people:

  • Communication – maintaining an interdisciplinary network among researchers, funders, users, and Council affiliates.

  • Research – encouraging cooperative efforts to identify research priorities and establish interdisciplinary research methodologies

  • Public awareness – encouraging the use of horticulture for enhanced life-quality based on research findings

Examples of the uses are to serve as a conduit to distribute information through

  • Electronic newsletter

  • Current Research

  • How to information

  • Blog Posts

That communicate

  • The ‘theoretical foundations, and practical applications’ of People-Plant research.

  • The nature and appropriateness of People-Plant education.

  • How to fulfill our ethical and social responsibilities.

  • Help and/or advice from broader cross section of disciplines than is represented with any one area of education, research or practice.

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