Ijeoma Opara, PhD, LMSW, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare and a Visiting Fellow at Yale University School of Public Health. Dr. Opara also is a child and family therapist at a private practice in New Jersey where she uses cultural, gender, and race specific clinical approaches in her work with Black and Hispanic adolescent youth.
Dr. Opara currently teaches Adolescent Development and Human Behavior & the Social Environment (HBSE) courses at Columbia School of Social Work. Previously, Dr. Opara worked as a youth and family therapist for an alternative-to-incarceration agency in New York City, where she primarily served urban youth of color and their families.
Dr. Opara holds a PhD in Family Science and Human Development from Montclair State University, a Master of Social Work from New York University, a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from New York Medical College and a BA in Psychology from New Jersey City University. She also attended the University of Pennsylvania for post-baccalaureate pre-health coursework.
Earlier in her career, Dr. Opara was selected as a Centers for Disease Control & Prevention fellow and was placed at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to conduct research on racial disparities in asthma morbidity in African American children.
During her time at NYU Silver, she received a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services & Administration/Health Resources & Services Administration (SAMHSA/HRSA) fellowship, which provided her with core strategies on the integration of primary and behavioral healthcare while working with predominantly homeless women of color and veterans in New York City.
While studying for her doctorate at Montclair State, Dr. Opara worked under two SAMHSA funded programs which provided a community-based HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and viral hepatitis educational intervention to ethnic minority youth in Paterson, NJ. She also received a training grant funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) predoctoral fellowship and was awarded the John L. and Harriette P. McAdoo Dissertation Award from the National Council on Family Relations.
Dr. Opara has received multiple awards during her career including the POZ Magazine’s Top 100 Women dedicated to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the New Writer’s Fellowship for early-career researchers from the Family Process Institute and was also named Population Health Scholar by AcademyHealth. Dr. Opara has presented her research at the American Public Health Association, National Council on Family Relations, International AIDS Conference, and various other conferences. She currently serves on the board of the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI).