Ijeoma Opara

Professor, Public Health Expert


Dr. Ijeoma Opara is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Yale University School of Public Health and the director of The Substances and Sexual Health (SASH) at Yale. Dr. Opara has given several talks across the country about her work in highlighting strengths of Black girls in prevention research. She has authored more than 60 publications and has been published in high impact journals such as AIDS & Behavior, Nature, and Urban Education. Dr. Opara is an award-winning scientist and has received multiple awards including the Woman of Impact award from the Community Healthcare Network-Nigeria on her work for Black girls, the National Institutes of Health Early Independence Award, and the John D. Slade, MD Memorial Advocacy Award from the American Public Health Association (APHA). 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 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. 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 a licensed social worker and has worked primarily with youth and families of color in urban cities. Before coming to Yale, she previously worked as an Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare, and has taught several social work and public health classes at various universities including Columbia University School of Social Work and Rutgers University. 

TOPICS: Women & Girls of Color, Health, Policy

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