Yale University

Ijeoma Opara, PhD, LMSW, MPH

  • Associate Professor, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Yale School of Public Health
  • Former Fellow, Research Education Institute for Diverse Scholars (REIDS)


Dr. Ijeoma Opara is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences at the School of Public Health. She is also the founder and director of the Substances & Sexual Health Lab (www.oparalab.org). Her research interests focus on HIV/AIDS, STI, and substance use prevention for urban youth, racial and gender specific prevention interventions for Black girls, and community-based participatory research with urban youth. Dr. Opara has received many awards for her work in prevention research from the American Public Health Association, National Council on Family Relations, and AcademyHealth. Most recently, Dr. Opara received the NIDA Racial Equity Visionary Award which funds her work in Paterson and East Orange, New Jersey for the next 5 years to infuse data science and community based participatory research to predict substance use disorders in urban cities in New Jersey. She was also the 2020 recipient of the NIH Director's Early Independence Award. This award is given to junior scientists through the High Risk-High Reward program, whom who have demonstrated exceptional ability to engage in independent research.

Dr. Opara received her PhD in Family Science & Human Development at Montclair State University, a Master of Social Work from New York University (with a specialization in Primary & Behavioral Health Integration), a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from New York Medical College, and a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from New Jersey City University. Dr. Opara received fellowship training from the Behavioral Sciences Training on Drug Abuse Research at New York University funded by a predoctoral fellowship from the National Institute on Drug Abuse which funded her dissertation research.