Bio (Long version)
Naya Armendarez Jones, PhD is an ecstatic facilitator, geographer, and ceremonykeeper. Through research and practice, Naya helps grow food and healing systems that are community-based and culturally-grounded. Her "roots" as a Blaxicana (African-American and Xicana) inspire her broad focus on issues of race/racism, place, and healing.
Naya's research especially centers on Black Diaspora food and healing practices, including past studies on Afromexican gardening and participatory research with African-American youth about food in their gentrifying neighborhood. Her latest research explores food-related healing and trauma through ritual.
As a holistic practitioner, Naya has facilitated meditation and ceremony with individuals, grassroots, non-profit and university partners since 2008. As owner of a holistic private practice (RootWork), she specializes in meditative arts with historically-marginalized populations who navigate legacies of resilience and racial trauma. In 2012, Naya co-launched Food for Black Thought, an action education initiative, with her partner. She has been a speaker at local and national events.
Naya's first teachers are ancestors, activists, and elders on the path. She holds a PhD in Geography and the Environment from the University of Texas at Austin, along with a MA in Latin American Studies. She is certified in a range of holistic healing ways, including trauma-informed yoga therapy, overcoming anxiety facilitation, and Master-Level Reiki.
Currently, Naya is a Culture of Health Leader (2017-2020) and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Time with nature and laughter keep her moving.