Yumi Shirai, PhD

Assistant Professor, Applied Intercultural Arts Research - GIDP
Assistant Professor, Family and Community Medicine - (Educator Scholar Track)
Director, ArtWorks
Member of the Graduate Faculty

Dr. Yumi Shirai is the director of the Sonoran UCEDD ArtWorks, an instructor at the University of Arizona Department of Family and Community Medicine, a social behavioral scientist, and a trained modern dancer. She holds a PhD in Family Studies and Human Development and a MA in Dance, with an emphasis in Movement Therapy from the University of Arizona. Movement art has continuously provided her with a structured tool and unfolding opportunities to develop her physical, emotional and intellectual strength, to process thoughts and life challenges, to share and engage with others in a larger community. She has instructed creative movement classes for diverse community populations for over 30 years, including youth, older patients in a hospital setting, and adults with intellectual disabilities. Merging her training in Movement Therapy and dance with over 17 years of applied fieldwork and scholarship in the social sciences, her passion is supporting aging individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their family members during late life transitions through development, implementation and evaluation of tools and model programs.


  • BA: Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan, Fine Arts, Minor in Education in Japanese, 1995
  • MA: University of Arizona, Dance/Movement Therapy, 1999
  • MS: University of Arizona, Family Studies and Human Development, 2006
  • PHD: University of Arizona, Family Studies and Human Development, 2011
Honors and Awards
National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities Fellow, University of Delaware and University Centers on Disabilities, 2016
Canyon Ranch Institute Healthy World Scholarship, 2015
Board Certifications
Certified Grief Counselor Pending, American Institute of Healthcare Professionals (2016)
Certified High School Teacher, Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan (1994)
Certified Article 9 Instructor, Arizona Department of Economic Security (2011)
Certified Person-Centered Planning Facilitator, Arizona Department of Economic Security (2003)
Certified Advanced Dementia Care Mapping Facilitator, Heather Hill Hospital (2001)