Ijeoma Opara
Ijeoma Opara, PhD, MPH, LMSW
Yale School of Public Health - Assistant Professor of Public Health
PhD, Family Science and Human Development, Montclair State University
MSW, Social Work, New York University
MPH, Epidemiology, New York Medical College
BA, Psychology, New Jersey City University
Research Interests
HIV/AIDS prevention, Drug use, Adolescent girls of color, Child health disparities, Adolescent development, Intersectionality, African-American families
Ijeoma Opara is an Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Opara is also the director of The Substance Abuse and Sexual Health (SASH) lab ( and a faculty fellow in the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale. Dr. Opara’s research focuses on HIV/AIDS, HCV, and substance use prevention among adolescents of color and highlighting racial-gender specific protective factors among Black adolescent girls. She primarily uses strengths-based approaches in her work to highlight resiliency, empowerment, and cultural strengths in ethnic minority families and their role in prevention.

Dr. Opara is a former NIDA T-32 pre-doctoral fellow in the Behavioral Sciences Training in Drug Abuse Research program at NYU Meyers College of Nursing from 2018-2019. This award supported her dissertation research, which examined protective factors for sexual risk behavior and drug use among Black and Hispanic girls living in Paterson, NJ.

Dr. Opara was named the 2020 NIH Director’s Early Independence Award recipient which funds her project on neighborhoods impact on substance use and mental health among urban youth in Paterson, NJ for the next five years. More information about Dr. Opara’s grant can be found at:
Principal Investigator, Understanding the Role of Neighborhoods on Urban Youth’s Substance Use and Mental Health: A Community-Based Substance Abuse Prevention Project. Active


Opara I, Lizarraga A, Lardier DT, Herrera A, Garcia-Reid P, Reid RJ (2022).
What happens when we ask? A phenomenological focus group on HIV prevention and sexual health education among emancipated foster care youth
Children and Youth Services Review, 140, 106583. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2022.106583. PMCID: PMC9337728.

Opara I, Lardier DT, Durkee MI, Garcia-Reid P, Reid RJ (2022).
Ethnic identity as a moderator between HIV knowledge, viral hepatitis knowledge, and psychological antecedents among racial-ethnic minority youth living in an urban community
Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 9 (4), 1298-1307. doi: 10.1007/s40615-021-01069-6. PMCID: PMC8617072.

Godbolt D, Opara I, Amutah-Onukagha N (2022).
Strong Black women: Linking stereotypes, stress, and overeating among a sample of Black female college students
Journal of Black Studies, 53 (6), 609-634. doi: 10.1177/00219347221087453.

McDanal R, Parisi D, Opara I, Schleider JL (2022).
Effects of brief interventions on internalizing symptoms and substance use in youth: A systematic review
Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 25 (2), 339-355. doi: 10.1007/s10567-021-00372-2. PMCID: PMC9061892.

Wint KM, Opara I, Gordon R, Brooms DR (2022).
Countering educational disparities among Black boys and Black adolescent boys from pre-K to high school: A life course-intersectional perspective
Urban Review, 54 (2), 183-206. doi: 10.1007/s11256-021-00616-z. PMCID: PMC8450170.

Ms. Opara's Google Scholar Profile
Selected Press