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, Hill AV, Calhoun A, Francois M, Alves C, Garcia-Reid P, Reid RJ. (2021).
Sociopolitical control as a mediator between ethnic identity and social support on 30-day drug use among Black girls
Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse [Epub 2021 Sep 17]. doi: 10.1080/15332640.2021.1975007.

Lardier DT, Opara I, Roach E (2021).
A latent profile analysis of psychological sense of community and ethnic identity among racial-ethnic minority young adults from the southwestern United States
Journal of Community Psychology [Epub 2021 Aug 16]. doi: 10.1002/jcop.22686.

Opara I, Malik S, Lardier DT, Gamble-George J, Kelly RJ, Okafor CN, Greene RN, Parisi D (2021).
Alcohol use cravings as a mediator between associated risk factors on increased alcohol use among youth adults in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly [Epub 2021 Aug 4]. doi: 10.1080/07347324.2021.1950091.

Opara I, Lardier DT, Garcia-Reid P, Reid RJ (2021).
Testing the factor structure of the Brief Sense of Community Scale among Black girls and the relationship with ethnic identity, empowerment and social support
Child and Youth Services Review, 127, 106095. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2021.106095. PMCID: PMC8294162.

Lardier DT, Opara I, Lin Y, Roach E, Herrera A, Garcia-Reid P, Reid RJ (2021).
A spatial analysis of alcohol outlet density type, abandoned properties, and police calls on aggravated assault rates in a Northeastern U.S. city
Substance Use and Misuse, 56 (10), 1527-1535. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2021.1942053. PMCID: PMC8324007.

Ms. Opara's Google Scholar Profile
Selected Press