2020 SYR Presenters
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SYR 2020

is pleased to welcome our honored presenters


Keynote Presenters


Paul Mills, PhD

Dr. Mills is Professor and Chief at the University of California San Diego’s Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. He is Director of the Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health, Director of the Clinical Research Biomarker Laboratory, and Co-Director of the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute’s Translational Research Technology Program. He has expertise in integrative medicine and psychoneuroimmune processes in wellness and disease, having published approximately 375 manuscripts and book chapters on these topics.

Dr. Mills currently serves as Director of Research for the Chopra Foundation, with a focus on meditation and yoga in the context of traditional medical systems. These efforts address the need to incorporate the transcendent aspects of human awareness, of consciousness itself, back into medicine to truly understand the whole person and achieve optimal well-being.

Ruth Q. Wolever, PhD, NBC-HWC

Dr. Wolever serves as Interim Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt and the Director of Vanderbilt Health Coaching. She is an Associate Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, with secondary appointments in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Meharry Medical College. She is the Chief Science Officer for eMindful, Inc., and a founding member and the inaugural president of the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching.

A clinical health psychologist and nationally board-certified health and wellness coach, Dr. Wolever has over 25 years of experience training and mentoring medical and allied health professionals in behavioral medicine, emotional health, and coaching. She also has over 25 years of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating behavior-change programs for medical patients and those at risk for chronic disease. Internationally recognized for her expertise on mindfulness and health coaching, she studies mindfulness-based approaches to self-regulation and lifestyle change. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Air Force, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, industry, and philanthropy. Dr. Wolever is particularly interested in the intersection of mindfulness, behavior change, and interprofessional training. 


Oral Presenters

Beth Bock, PhD

Dr. Bock is Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the Brown University School of Public Health. She is a research scientist at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I., where her office is located. She holds a PhD in psychology from Tufts University and is a licensed psychologist in the state of Rhode Island.   


Dr. Bock has 25 years’ experience developing and delivering evidence-based interventions for health promotion and disease prevention. Her research has focused on exercise promotion and on substance-use cessation and risk reduction, primarily alcohol and tobacco. She has served as principal or co-investigator on over 30 NIH-funded research studies. Her research makes extensive use of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to obtain a deep understanding of the process and outcomes related to participant experiences with health interventions. Dr. Bock's work includes a series of studies of Iyengar Yoga for adult smokers who are attempting to quit smoking and research examining the feasibility of yoga for adults with type 2 diabetes.


Anne Cox, PhD, MEd

Since 2013, Dr. Cox has been Associate Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology in the Kinesiology Program at Washington State University, where she co-directs the Psychology of Physical Activity Lab. She was a faculty member at Illinois State University from 2006–2013 and received her PhD from Purdue University in 2006 and her MEd from the University of Virginia in 2000.

Dr. Cox’s research is focused on understanding key determinants of physical activity behaviors. This has included investigating the roles of self-perceptions, body image, and social sources of influence in predicting physical activity motivation across multiple contexts (e.g., exercise, physical education). Most recently, she has turned her attention to the role of mindfulness in physical activity and how it might impact physical activity experiences, body image, and motivation. This line of research led her to consider the context of yoga and the roles of mindfulness and self-compassion within that setting. Dr. Cox has completed 200 hours of yoga teacher training and is currently examining the effects of yoga and mindfulness on body image and physical activity motivation. Ultimately, her goal is to apply knowledge about motivational processes and body image to create positive physical activity experiences. 


Rima Dada, MBBS, MD, PhD

Dr. Dada earned her MBBS, MD, and PhD (Genetics) from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. She is presently a professor at AIIMS, where she established the Laboratory of Molecular Reproduction and Genetics. She is actively engaged in teaching, research, and genetic diagnostic services. Dr. Dada is pursuing research on genetic aspects of infertility and reproductive failure. She is also working on the impact of yoga on the genome and epigenome in complex diseases.

She has received several national and international awards including the ICMR national award for outstanding contribution in the field of the genetics of infertility. Dr. Dada has also delivered a number of presentations and invited lectures at various meetings and conferences and won the best poster award at the American Society of Andrology meeting several times. Dr. Dada has published 158 original indexed articles of high impact, 55 book chapters, and over 160 abstracts in American and European journals. Dr. Dada is a member of various professional societies and serves as a reviewer for several journals.


Erik Groessl, PhD

Dr. Groessl is Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California San Diego and Director of the UCSD Health Services Research Center. He is also a principal investigator and health services researcher at the VA San Diego Medical Center. His NIH- and VA-funded research focuses on the benefits of yoga interventions in chronic pain populations, military personnel and veterans, and older adults. Dr. Groessl also studies measurement and mechanisms of change in yoga research. Other research interests include broader integrative health, health economics research, behavioral interventions, and patient self-management.


Kim Innes, PhD

A professor in the West Virginia University Department of Epidemiology, Dr. Innes is an epidemiologist and clinical research scientist with a particular interest in yoga and related mind-body therapies for the prevention and management of cognitive impairment, restless legs syndrome (RLS), arthritis, diabetes, and other burdensome chronic disorders related to stress, sympathetic activation, and metabolic dysregulation. Funded by grants from the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the Office of Women’s Health, the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, and other organizations, Dr. Innes’ current research includes clinical trials to assess the effects of yogic practices on cognition, neuropsychiatric impairment, sleep, quality of life, and indices of cellular aging, inflammation, and epigenetic profiles in older adults with preclinical memory loss; symptoms, sleep, mood, and related outcomes in adults with RLS; and pain, sleep, mood and related outcomes in older adults with osteoarthritis.

Her previous trials have included studies regarding the potential benefits of yoga and meditation for sedentary postmenopausal women at risk for cardiovascular disease; older adults with type 2 diabetes; healthy elders and adults with Parkinson’s disease; older adults with osteoarthritis; and individuals with cognitive impairment and their caregivers.  Additional research projects include large epidemiological investigations of memory loss and dementia, sleep disorders, arthritis, colorectal cancer, and other chronic conditions in Appalachian and other U.S. populations. Dr. Innes is frequently invited to speak both nationally and internationally on these topics, and she often serves on national and international expert panels.



Jojo Y. Y. Kwok, PhD, MPH, RN

Dr. Kwok is a registered nurse, yoga instructor, and Research Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing, The University of Hong Kong. Her research primarily focuses on developing and testing innovative behavioral interventions for chronic illness care, including mindful yoga interventions for Parkinson’s disease, as well as using mobile-health approaches for sustained healthcare practice.

She initiated the first mindful yoga clinical trial in Hong Kong, which concluded that mindful yoga is an effective, safe, and superior mind-body treatment option for stress and motor symptom management in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Kwok's research findings have been published in international peer-reviewed journals, such as JAMA Neurology and Sleep Medicine Reviews, and featured by Reuters as impactful stories. She received early career awards offered by the International Society of Behavioral Medicine and the international peer-reviewed journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine in 2018 and 2016, respectively. Dr. Kwok has been a member of the Hong Kong Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Education and Training Committee since 2016. 

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH, RD, RYT-500

Mayo Professor and Division Head in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Dr. Neumark-Sztainer is also a yoga instructor and has taught yoga to individuals with eating disorders. Her research focuses on a broad spectrum of eating and weight-related outcomes including eating disorders, unhealthy weight-control behaviors, body image, dietary intake, weight stigmatization, and obesity. She is dedicated to ensuring that her research has a positive impact on the health of the public, particularly our most vulnerable populations.

She leads an active program of research and received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health to fund her work. Dr. Neumark-Sztainer has published over 525 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Her research has been recognized with awards from the Academy for Eating Disorders, the National Eating Disorders Association, and the Eating Disorders Coalition. Current research interests include investigating the potential for the practice of yoga to help with body-image concerns and eating disorders. Dr. Neumark-Sztainer is studying the prevalence of yoga in diverse populations of young people and its associations with eating behaviors, psychological well-being, and various weight-related outcomes. 

Marieke Van Puymbroeck, PhD, CTRS, FDRT, RYT-500

As Program Director of the Recreational Therapy Program and a Professor at Clemson University, Dr. Van Puymbroeck's research focuses primarily on the use of yoga as a therapeutic intervention for people with neurological conditions. It brings her great joy to train and develop new yoga researchers.



2020 SYR Young Investigator

Em V. Adams, PhD, C-IAYT, CTRS

Dr. Adams is an Assistant Professor at Lehman College, City University of New York in the Bronx, New York. She is an IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist with clinical experience primarily in behavioral health. She recently completed her Ph.D. from Clemson University in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management where she completed a dissertation on using yoga in assisted living facilities. She graduated with a cognate area in recreational therapy and a certificate in clinical and translational science. Her research focuses primarily on the treatment and prevention of violence, trauma, and toxic stress using mind-body approaches.


Scientific Program Committee Members and
Preconference Presenters


Symposium Chair


Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD

Sat Bir has practiced a yoga lifestyle for over 35 years. He is Director of Research for the Kundalini Research Institute and the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. His central research funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine of NIH is targeted at examining the efficacy of yoga for the treatment of chronic insomnia and the mechanisms underlying its effectiveness.

He is also involved in research initiatives on yoga's effectiveness in drug dependency, at-risk youth, professional musicians, music students, cancer, and cardiovascular disease among others. He has established relationships with fellow yoga researchers in the United States, Europe, and India, where he routinely attends international yoga research conferences. Dr. Khalsa also teaches an elective course in Mind Body Medicine at Harvard Medical School.



Crystal L. Park, PhD

Dr. Park is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Her research focuses on multiple aspects of coping and adjustment to stressful events, including traumatic events and life-threatening illnesses. For the past 10 years, she has been conducting and publishing research on yoga, including clinical trial results, reviews, and methodological considerations, and, with her colleagues, Dr. Park helped to develop a tool to quantify the essential properties of yoga (the EPYQ).

She is currently supported by NIH to conduct studies of resilience in cancer survivorship, yoga for back and neck pain, and self-regulation and academic success in college students. At UConn, she maintains an active research lab of graduate and undergraduate students and teaches health psychology at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. 



Chris Streeter, MD

Dr. Streeter is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine. She completed a neurology residency, behavioral neurology fellowship, and psychiatry residency. She is board-certified in Neurology, Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry, Psychiatry, and Forensics. She is Director of Functional Neuroimaging for the Department of Psychiatry and the Boston Yoga Research Center at Boston University School of Medicine. She is an instructor at Harvard School of Medicine and a research associate at McLean Hospital.

During 20 years of NIH funding, Dr. Streeter has served as principal investigator on numerous studies involving alcohol and substance abuse. Most recently, her research interests have focused on the association between yoga-based practices, brain gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels, and mood. Her most recent study used Iyengar Yoga and coherent breathing to treat major depressive disorder.



Lisa Uebelacker, PhD

Dr. Uebelacker is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, and Family Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She conducts research on innovative ways to manage depression and chronic pain, including Hatha Yoga, physical activity, self-help videos, and the integration of behavioral healthcare into primary care settings.

She receives research funding from several NIH institutes, including NIMH, NCCIH, NHLBI, and NINR. Current projects include development of a yoga program to decrease irritability and anger in people in prison. She is also starting a project examining ways to increase yoga class attendance and home yoga practice amongst people with opioid use disorder and chronic pain. Dr. Uebelacker is a licensed clinical psychologist who works at Butler Hospital.


Jennifer Webb, PhD

Dr. Webb is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Science and a core member of the Health Psychology PhD Program’s clinical faculty at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She received her baccalaureate degree in Cognitive Neuroscience magna cum laude from Harvard University. She went on to complete her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Southern California and postdoctoral fellowship training in clinical health psychology at Duke Integrative Medicine.

Dr. Webb’s research program is informed by a nondieting, weight-neutral philosophy on health promotion in culturally and body-diverse groups, with a particular emphasis on enhancing the integration, dissemination, and accessibility of evidence-based mind-body approaches to strengthen embodied self-regulation, positive body image, and well-being among women during the developmental transitions of young adulthood, pregnancy, and postpartum. She serves on the editorial boards of Body Image: An International Journal of Research; Eating Behaviors: An International Journal; and Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology. Dr. Webb teaches courses at the undergraduate level on positive psychology, clinical psychology, and weight stigma and weight acceptance. The focus of her doctoral-level instruction centers on introducing students to the personal and professional benefits of evidence-based third-wave behavioral therapeutic approaches.