Dr. Steffany Moonaz served as founding Chair of the MUIH Research Department. She has over 20 years of research experience in integrative health, including yoga, nutrition, herbal medicine, acupuncture, and more, with a focus on arthritis and chronic pain. She mentors emerging researchers within and beyond MUIH.
Dr. Steffany Moonaz is a yoga therapist and researcher living between Doylestown, PA and Baltimore, MD. Dr. Moonaz became curious about importance of mind-body activities at a young age, and has always had a passion and a curiosity about the healing power of mindful movement. She completed undergraduate work in biology and dance at Oberlin College, earned a MFA from University of Maryland as well as a CMA from the Laban Institute and spent eight years at Johns Hopkins University, helping to develop and evaluate a yoga program for individuals with the chronic diseases of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, which became the basis for her PhD in public health.
Along with recent and ongoing research collaborations at the National Institutes of Health, Einstein, Sinai and Montefiore Hospitals in New York, and University of Maryland, Dr. Moonaz is working to bring yoga to people with arthritis in communities around the country, as well as educating yoga teachers and yoga therapists about the unique needs of this population. She also serves on the Executive Committee and Board of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH), which recently merged with Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM).
Dr. Moonaz currently leads Yoga for Arthritis teacher training programs nationwide and serves as a mentor for several emerging researchers who are working to study the effects of yoga for various health conditions. Her work has been covered by Time, HuffPost, the Baltimore Sun, and U.S. News and World Report. She has been invited to speak at Emory University, Brigham and Womenâ€™s Hospital, Johns Hopkins Palliative Care, and the Smithsonian. Her Arthritis-Friendly Yoga DVD, produced by the Arthritis Foundation, has been their best-selling product since its release in 2013. Her book, Yoga Therapy for Arthritis: A whole-person approach to movement and lifestyle, was published by Singing Dragon Publishers December of 2018.
Selected Publications & Presentations
S Haaz Moonaz, CO Bingham, L Wissow, SJ Bartlett. Yoga in sedentary adults with arthritis: effects of a randomized controlled pragmatic trial. J of Rheumatology. 7/2015; 42(7):1194-202.
Middleton KR, Tataw-Ayuketah G, Moonaz SH, MM Lopez, Wallen GR. A qualitative approach exploring the acceptability of yoga for minorities living with arthritis: "Where are the people who look like me?" Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2017 Apr; 31: 82-89.
Moonaz S, Whitehead AM, Lawrence L, Natividad D, Kindred D, Nielsen, A, Teets R. Yoga Therapy Dyads: A novel approach to chronic pain management in underserved populations. International Journal of Yoga Therapy. 2020 Dec 13:S1550-8307(20)30410-9.
S Moonaz and E Welkin. (2018) Yoga Therapy for Arthritis: A Holistic Approach to Movement and Lifestyle. Jessica Kingsley Publishers: Philadelphia, PA
SH Moonaz. (2016) Yoga and Dis/Ability. In Yoga and the Body: An Intersectional Analysis of Contemporary Body Politics, Mindfulness, and Embodied Social Change. Rowman and Littlefield.
Moonaz S. (2019) Current evidence for yoga in pain reduction. In: Pearson N, Prosko S, Sullivan M, eds. Yoga and Science in Pain Care: Treating the Person in Pain. Jessica Kingsley Publishers: Philadelphia, PA
RSCH601: Introduction to Research Literacy in Integrative Health
RSCH610: Introduction to Scientific Writing
RSCH821: Designing Research in Clinical Practice
Faculty Poster Award, Annual Research Symposium, Maryland University of Integrative Health, Laurel, MD, 2020
Excellence in Faculty Research and Scholarship, Maryland University of Integrative Health, Laurel, MD, 2016
Research Abstract Award, Symposium on Yoga Research, International Association of Yoga Therapists, Stockbridge, MA, 2013
Distinguished Research Award, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2008, 2009, 2010
Delta Omega Honor Society Induction, Johns Hopkins University, 2010
Assn. of Rheumatology Health Professionals Graduate Student Award, 2007
Health Professional Graduate Student Research Preceptorship, American College of Rheumatology, 2007
National Arthritis Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Award, Atlanta, GA, 2006
Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Fellowship National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2006
American College of Rheumatology Graduate/Medical Student Achievement Award, 2004
Dr. Moonaz lives in her childhood hometown with her husband, two fabulous kids, and an adorable mutt named Luna. She spends many weekend and part of the summer in Baltimore, MD near Patterson Park. She identifies as short, female, Jewish, vegan, bisexual, and an ever-evolving advocate for inclusion. As a former modern dancer, she frequently holds impromptu living room dance parties and has occasionally been seen dancing down the aisles of the grocery store. Her dharma, or path, is to help alleviate suffering through the mind-body connection, which she tries to do in her own life as well as through her research and teaching. Dr. Moonaz is incredibly grateful to be serving in her role at MUIH.
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