Nina Etkin

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Nina Etkin
Born June 13, 1948
Died January 26, 2009
Alma mater Washington University in St. Louis
Known for Ethnobotany, Economic botany, Ethnopharmacology
Scientific career
Fields Anthropology, Botany

Nina Lilian Etkin (June 13, 1948 – January 26, 2009) was an anthropologist and biologist. Dr. Etkin was noted for her work in medical anthropology, ethnobiology, and ethnopharmacology. She studied the relation between food and health for over thirty years. Her work involved complementary and alternative medicines for prevention and treatment in Hawaii; the use of ethnomedicines in Indonesia; and health issues in Nigeria. She won numerous grants and awards from national and international agencies and published several books as well as over 80 professional articles in peer reviewed journals.[1]

Education and academic career[edit]

Etkin earned her undergraduate degree in zoology from Indiana University in 1970 and her MA and PhD in Anthropology in 1972 and 1975 from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Academic positions[edit]

  • Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Minnesota, 1979–1983
  • Associate Professor, University of Minnesota, 1983–1990
  • Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawaii, 1990–1994
  • Full Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawaii, 1994–2009.
  • Chair of the Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaii, 2001–2002

She was also a member of the medical faculty of the University of Hawaii.

Awards and honors[edit]

Etkin served as Editor in Chief of Economic Botany, the journal of the Society for Economic Botany.[2]

She was a Fellow of the Linnean Society and a past president and honorary board member of the International Society for Ethnopharmacology.[3]

Etkin won the 2009 Distinguished Economic Botanist Award from the Society for Economic Botany.[4]



  • Plants in Indigenous Medicine & Diet: Biobehavioral Approaches, 1986
  • Eating on the Wild Side: The Pharmacologic, Ecologic, and Social Implications of Using Noncultigens, 1994
  • Edible Medicines: An Ethnopharmacology of Food, 2006
  • Foods of Association: Biocultural Perspectives on Food and Beverages that Mediate Sociability, 2009


External links[edit]