Ijeoma Opara

Professor, Public Health Expert


Dr. Ijeoma Opara is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Yale School of Public Health and the director of The Substances and Sexual Health (SASH) at Yale. Dr. Opara is also an award-winning scientist and has received multiple awards including the Woman of Impact award from the NIH Early Independence Award, Community Healthcare Network-Nigeria, and the John D. Slade, MD Memorial Advocacy Award from the American Public Health Association. Dr. Opara has given numerous invited talks, trainings, and workshops on her research involving strengths-based approaches for urban youth substance use and HIV prevention and highlighting racial and gender specific strategies in prevention research for Black girls. Dr. Opara is often consulted by universities and hospitals to share strategies on working with Black children and families, enhancing diversity in research, and addressing anti-Black racism amongst faculty, students, and clinicians. She defines herself as a community-based participatory researcher and encourages practitioners, researchers, and clinicians to incorporate a community-level perspective in their work to have the most sustainable impact.

Dr. Opara is also very passionate about mentoring the next generation of public health practitioners and has given talks around how to mentor underrepresented scholars and encouraging research independence. Her work has been featured in journals such as Nature, AIDS & Behavior and Youth & Society. Dr. Opara received her PhD in Family Science and Human Development from Montclair State University, Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University, Master’s degree of Public Health in Epidemiology from New York Medical College, Bachelors from New Jersey City University.  She is also a licensed social worker and has worked primarily with youth and women of color living with co-occurring disorders and previously worked as an Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare, and as a lecturer at Columbia University prior to coming to Yale University.

TOPICS: Women & Girls of Color, Health, Policy

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