- Position: Research Director
Dr. Moonaz is the current Research Director at SCU. After completing a Master of Fine Arts in dance and studying the mind-body connection through the arts, she found the field of public health as an avenue to further explore the same topic. She earned her Ph.D. in public health from Johns Hopkins University, where she studied the effects of yoga for people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Since then, she has served as subject matter expert, consultant, and investigator for research on yoga and other integrative health practices. Her research has been funded by NIH, the Arthritis Foundation, American College of Rheumatology, and Johns Hopkins University and she has received numerous awards for her research and scholarship. She has co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications. In addition to research, Dr. Moonaz is a certified yoga therapist and trains yoga professionals in various contexts. She is especially passionate about fostering evidence-informed practice in yoga therapy. Dr. Moonaz has served on the board of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH) and active with their Research Working Group for several years. She recently joined their Executive Committee and helped to facilitate the ACIH merger with the Academy for Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM). She now serves as inaugural chair for the Traditional World Medicines/Emerging Professions AIHM Council. Dr. Moonaz is also actively involved with the International Association of Yoga Therapists and with the Accessible Yoga movement that aims to improve yoga safety, access, and equity.
Ph.D., Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United StatesDissertation: Examining the safety, feasibility and efficacy of yoga for persons with arthritis
M.F.A., Dance, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United StatesDissertation: Don't Just Sit There: Dancing Away the Mind-Body Problem
B.A., Biology, Dance, Pre-Medicine, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, United StatesDissertation: Shall We Dance?: The Constructive and Destructive Effects of Dance on the Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Self
International Association of Yoga Therapists, C-IAYT, chronic pain, arthritis and rheumatic diseases, 20593287 , 2017-03-18, 2023-03-31, Yes
Yoga Alliance, e-RYT-500, 12608, 2003-08-16, 2024-10-05
Professional Licensures and Certifications (All other/non-healthcare)
Certified Movement Analyst, August 2003, Laban/Bartinieff Institute for Movement Studies, New York, United States
2022 - Ongoing
Adjunct Professor, Maryland University of Integrative Health, Laurel, Maryland, United States
Associate Research Director, Southern California University of Health Sciences, Whittier, California, United States
2017 - 2022
Director of Clinical and Academic Research, Maryland University of Integrative Health, Laurel, Maryland, United States
2016 - 2017
Assistant Director of Academic Research, Maryland University of Integrative Health, Laurel, Maryland, United States
2014 - 2016
Associate Director of Integrative Health Sciences, Maryland University of Integrative Health, Laurel, Maryland, United States
2013 - 2014
Adjunct Instructor, Maryland University of Integrative Health, Laurel, Maryland, United States
2010 - 2022
Director of Health Coaching, Corporate Health Solutions, Jamison, Pennsylvania, United States
2010 - Ongoing
Director, Yoga for Arthritis, BALTIMORE, Maryland, United States
2005 - 2008
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
2003 - 2006
Research Coordinator, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
2002 - 2022
Intern, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Gastroenterology, BALTIMORE, Maryland, United States
2000 - 2003
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, United States
1999 - 2000
Research Coordinator, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Department of Hematology/Oncology, Oakland, California, United States
Scholarly Contributions and Creative Productions
Group Acupuncture Therapy with Modified Yoga for chronic neck, low back and OA pain in safety net setting for an underserved population (GAPYOGA), Funded by Blavatnik Family Foundation (August 1, 2019 - July 31, 2022), Completed, Summer 2023, CoInvestigator Steffany Moonaz (7.5%)
Yoga as Self-Care for Underrepresented Communities, Funded by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) (May 31, 2012 - March 1, 2017), Completed, Summer 2023, CoInvestigator Steffany Moonaz (12%)
Yoga for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Funded by National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders (August 1, 2006 - August 1, 2010) ($183,986.00), Completed, Summer 2023, PI Steffany Moonaz (100%)
Health Professional Graduate Student Research Preceptorship, Funded by American College of Rheumatology / Research and Education Fund (June 1, 2007 - August 31, 2007) ($12,000.00), Completed, Summer 2023, PI Steffany Moonaz (20%)
Funded - In Progress
Integrated Care for Chronic Pain and Opioid Use Disorder: The IMPOWR Research Center at Montefiore/Einstein (IMPOWR-ME), Funded by National Institute for Drug Abuse (September 30, 2021 - July 31, 2023), awarded September 24, 2021 ($21,477.00), Funded - In Progress, Summer 2023, CoInvestigator Steffany Moonaz (7.5%)
Spinal Manipulative Therapy vs. Prescription Drug Therapy for Care of Aged Medicare Beneficiaries with Neck Pain, Funded by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (September 1, 2022 - August 31, 2024), awarded August 29, 2022 ($465,700.00), Funded - In Progress, Summer 2022, CoInvestigator Steffany Moonaz (12.5%) with PI James Whedon (20%), Other Anupama Kizhakkeveettil (3%)
Submitted - Not Funded
Yoga for JIA: Stakeholder Survey and Protocol Development, Funded by CARRA (June 15, 2023 - June 14, 2025) ($50,000.00), Submitted - Not Funded, Summer 2023, PI Steffany Moonaz (10%)
Evidence Based Practice Attitudes, Skills and Use Among Students and Faculty in Clinical Health Sciences, Funded by Burg Foundation (August 1, 2023 - August 31, 2025) ($69,458.00), Submitted - Not Funded, Summer 2023, PI Steffany Moonaz (10%) with Other Robb Russell (5%)
Acupuncture for Medicare Beneficiaries with Chronic Low Back Pain: Access, Utilization, and Value, Funded by NIH/NCCIH (September 1, 2023 - August 31, 2026) ($1,776,078.00), Submitted - Not Funded, Summer 2023, CoInvestigator Steffany Moonaz (20%) with PI James Whedon (40%), CoInvestigator Prasad Vinjamury (15%)
Submitted for Review
The Role and Influence of Religion and Spirituality on Yoga Professions in the United States, Funded by John Templeton Foundation (September 1, 2024 - August 31, 2026), Submitted for Review, Summer 2023, PI Steffany Moonaz
Utilization of Non-pharmacological Therapies for Management of Low Back Pain under US Medicaid Plans, Funded by NIH/NCCIH (May 1, 2024 - April 30, 2026) ($439,555.00), Submitted for Review, Summer 2023, CoInvestigator Steffany Moonaz (12%) with PI James Whedon (20.5%)
yoga therapy, research literacy, evidence-informed practice, research design and methods, yoga, clinical trials, surveys, qualitative, chronic pain, arthritis, rheumatic diseases, substance use disorder
Hear from the Students Who’ve Been in Your Shoes
I chose SCU when looking for a PA program because of their Integrative Medicine approach. I am from Michigan, and not many programs focus on this Integrative, Holistic approach when it comes to patient care in the Midwest, and I felt that was very important for me to learn as a future provider. My transition to semi-virtual learning has been very smooth and quite enjoyable. My favorite part about attending SCU is how tight-knit and diverse the community is. Coming from a large undergrad university and moving so far, it was very important for me to have a PA program that made me feel valued and invested in my success. At SCU, they do a great job of making you feel that.
MSPA Class of 2022
One of the great things about SCU is we do have a campus layout, so all your classes aren't in a single room. We have our cadaver lab. We have different specialty rooms for physical assessment classes vs. acupuncture classes. All our acupuncture-specific classes have all the herbs in the room. You can pull out the herbs and look at them, whether in class or in between classes to get that extra studying in.
My favorite part of SCU is the collaboration from our beginning terms. We were working alongside chiropractor students, PA students, and ayurvedic students. It's a unique community where we get to learn about these different fields and sit in classrooms with them and work with them in the clinic. It allows you to get an understanding of all the different fields and how they can work together, and what is unique about your field. I think that is a wonderful aspect that I didn't think was going to be as prominent as it is here; even now, in my upper term classes and I am not in class with chiropractic students, I can still reach out to them about a certain aspect I may not understand or if I am working on a case. I want another perspective I know I have them to reach out to, so that has been a great networking community to have resources for.
Dr. Jamie Kuljis
Graduate, Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
"There are a lot of things that I love about the program at SCU. The first one is that the faculty come from a long line of Ayurvedic knowledge deeply rooted in ancient classical text. They studied Ayurveda, but they also lived it. When you learn from people who embody this wisdom, it's much easier to grasp this knowledge. The second thing I love is the camaraderie within the cohort. The combination of the training, supportive faculty, and the support of my peers and classmates has given me the confidence I need to start my own practice."
Student, Ayurveda Program
Some of my favorite courses at SCU have to be the chiropractic procedure classes; those are the classes you get to hone in on your chiro skills, your palpation skills and ultimately work on the adjustments that make you a chiropractor. Those are the classes I feel enhance my knowledge the most and are some of the reasons I chose to become a chiropractor here are SCU.
On top of chiropractic procedures classes, my favorite is the cadaver lab experience. The cadaver classes opened up my perception of what the human body is made up of. It allowed me to get an in-person perspective of how the body works and looks on the inside. I am genuinely thankful for those experiences because they opened and broadened my horizons to the human body and anatomy in general.
Student, Doctor of Chiropractic
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