Meet the DEI Advisory Committee

The goal of the DEI Advisory Committee is to support the path of the AHG to be a vibrant, racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse organization that is inclusive and reflective of the broad array of herbal communities throughout the United States.
 
Committee Goals:
1. Promote internal awareness and consensus for our work and goals (within existing membership)
2. Identify key individuals, organizations, and communities to reach out to for initial dialogue.
3. Identify opportunities for dialogue (Symposium, other community / herbal events)
4. Create DEI resources and outline long term goals in supporting a diverse community
4. Help support and create initiatives for council and member conversations and training in diversity.
 
WHO ARE WE?
Sophia Boettcher (she/they) is a rare disease and disability patient advocate, data scientist, and herbalist.  They are informed by their multicultural background: Japanese American, Kaifeng Jewish Chinese, Native Hawaiian, and Austrian-German.  Over fifty years ago, their grandmother used an old family recipe to recover from rheumatoid arthritis.  Sophia, a scleroderma patient in remission, believes herbs connect us to our ancestors and help us shift from a paradigm of reactivity to healing. Through their non-profit PPEforHCP.org, Sophia supports the health and safety of elders in the Salish, Gullah Geechee, and Oakland Chinatown communities.  They are also a math tutor/pen pal at the Prison Math Project.
Dr. Kourtney Sims (aka Dr. Kourtney) is a Georgia native who has become a Texas transplant. She is currently board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). She has currently been serving as an AHG council member since 2019. She is committed to continuing the work to “widen the tent” within the AHG and to serve as a voice to work to make our membership more diverse by creating safe spaces for indigenous practices as well as bringing forth tangible initiatives so that our organization continues to grow and stay strong for years to come.
Talal Al Hamad: My goals in working with the DEI committee is to better serve and understand the needs of the BIPOC and LGBTQ community. Through continual learning and development and consciously hearing our communities voices I believe we can be a stronger more united herbal family.
Erica Kuo
RH(Registered Herbalist, AHG)
Clinical Aromatherapist (NAHA)
Master Gardner
Education:
BA in Journalism at Chinese Culture University , Taiwan(1989-1993)
MA in Communication Studies at University of Leeds, UK(2000-2001)
Jocelyn Perez-Blanco, Founder of Herban Garden, is an educator, herbalist, urban naturalist, Flower Essence Therapist, and conservationist. She a member of the Student Support Team at The School of Evolutionary Herbalism, an educator with NYCH20, a Super Steward for NYC Parks, and the organizer for the Herbalists MeetUp Group, as well as a Board member and NYC Queens Chapter Coordinator for Herbalists Without Borders. Her classes have been recommended by The New York Times.
Denise Cusack (she/her) is a clinical herbalist, medicinal herb grower & conservationist, seed keeper, writer, artist, and parent to two unschooled teens. Denise volunteers as Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders, volunteers with the Veterans Resiliency Holistic Clinic, is on the Board of Directors of IM4US, and serves on the American Herbalists Guild Board of Directors. Denise works to use her privilege to support diversity and equity in health justice, food justice, and social justice programs and empower community mutual aid solidarity actions around the world.
Holly Hutton - Holly Hutton (she/her) is a clinical herbalist, teacher, social activist, medicinal herb grower, small scale herbal product manufacturer and artist.  Holly has served on the AHG Diversity and Equity in all of its manifestations since its founding.  As a former Deputy Director of a large social justice organization, diversity and equity has been a priority throughout my life. My hope is to bring this passion to the larger herbal community.

 

Lyz Frey : Lyz (they/them) is a parent, registered nurse, community-based clinical herbalist, herb farmer, educator, and member of the lgbtqia2+ community with a passion for healing in its many forms. They focus much of their trauma-informed practice with veterans, the transgender community, addiction and substance abuse, traumatic brain injury, complex mental health needs, as well as with extreme strength-based athletes like strong man and crossfit. Liz also uses their privilege to bring awareness and equity to gender expansive people in binary spaces, challenge and remove class based financial models for healthcare access, and works to elevate the voices and assist others to find their voices in historically marginalized communities.
  Essex Igyan: Essex currently resides in Auburn,GA with his family of six. He comes from a long line of African Herbalists who have used food as medicine for centuries. As a student of the late, world renowned ethnobotanist Dr. Anthony. Kweku Andoh, Essex hopes to share this knowledge and promote a herb centric lifestyle to all. Essex joined the DEI committee to learn more about being inclusive and execute those learning in a way that inspires people to be their best selves and be accepted as they are without compromise. Essex launced www.fleekofnature.com to help showcase the beauty of nature in creative ways.