Ijeoma Opara
Ijeoma Opara, PhD, MPH, LMSW
Yale School of Public Health - Associate 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 Associate 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, Integrating Community Based Participatory Research and Machine Learning Methods to Predict Youth Substance Use Disorders for Urban Cities in New Jersey. Active
Principal Investigator, Understanding the Role of Neighborhoods on Urban Youth’s Substance Use and Mental Health: A Community-Based Substance Abuse Prevention Project. Active


Douglas RD, Alli JO, Gaylord-Harden N, Opara I, Gilreath T (2024).
Examining the integrated model of the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide and intersectionality theory among Black male adolescents
Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior [Epub 2024 Feb 27]. doi: 10.1111/sltb.13066.

Ma Y, Zang E, Opara I, Lu Y, Krumholz HM, Chen K (2023).
Racial/ethnic disparities in PM(2.5)-attributable cardiovascular mortality burden in the United States
Nature Human Behaviour, 7, 2074-2083. doi: 10.1038/s41562-023-01694-7.

Opara I, Weerakoon SM, Brooks Stephens JR, Choe T, Gunn JF, Thrasher SS (2023).
Relationship between suicide ideation and attempts, bully victimization, dating violence, and depressive symptoms among Black and Hispanic youth
Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior [Epub 2023 Nov 7]. doi: 10.1111/sltb.13015.

Budge M, Opara I, Weser VU, Sands BE, Hieftje KD (2023).
Black adolescent females’ perceptions of PrEP for HIV risk reduction
Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, 22. doi: 10.1177/23259582231206934. PMCID: PMC10588402.

Opara I, Gabriel C, Duran-Becerra B, Bond K, Hill AV, Hussett-Richardson S, Alves C, Kershaw T (2023).
Sexual health and drug use prevention for Black girls (The Dreamer Girls Project): Protocol for an intervention development
JMIR Research Protocols, 12, e45007. doi: 10.2196/45007. PMCID: PMC10448282.

Ms. Opara's Google Scholar Profile
Selected Press