The presentation highlighted the ethnobotanical work of Bush, adjunct assistant professor of biology and research fellow at the Center for New North Carolinians at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Catherine Bush, adjunct assistant professor of biology and research fellow at the Center for New North Carolinians at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has co-authored research presented at the 2018 North American Refugee Health Conference.
Bush is the co-principal investigator for “Medicinal and Food Plant Use of Montagnard Communities in Greensboro, N.C.” along with Betsy Renfrew, adjunct ESL instructor at Guilford Technical Community College.
Vung Ksor, Immigrant Health Access Project (IHAP) Program Coordinator – Refugee Community at the Center for New North Carolinians, UNCG, and Bush traveled to the 2018 North American Refugee Health Conference from June 7-9 in Portland, Oregon. Vung presented the research entitled “The Medicinal and Food Uses of Local and Exotic Plants by Indigenous Community Members of Vietnam (The Montagnards) Now Living in Greensboro, N.C.”
The Montagnards, a group of tribes that are indigenous to Vietnam, fought with the Americans in the Vietnam War and sought refuge in the United States. Greensboro is home to the largest population of Montagnards outside of Southeast Asia.
This conference is intended for health professionals or advocates in North America that care for or work with refugees from all corners of the globe. The presented research shows that the vast majority of plants that the Montagnards are using in Greensboro are for food consumption (97 percent) and a substantial number are being actively used for medicine (36 percent).
The talk conveyed the message that access to gardens offers food security, nutrition, dietary modifications for hypertension and diabetic patients, positive mental health and a continuation of cultural identity for refugee and immigrant populations. The presentation also informed health professionals and advocates that they should be aware of the possible side effects of medicinal plants their clients may be taking (especially in addition to western medication) and of potentially toxic plants in the area that may be confusing to refugees or immigrants and which may result in accidental poisonings.