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Ijeoma Opara, Ph.D, LMSW, MPH

Dr. Ijeoma Opara is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Yale University and the founding director of The Substance Abuse and Sexual Health (SASH) Lab (

Most recently, Dr. Opara received the 2020 NIH Director’s Early Independence Award which will fund a five-year youth substance use prevention and mental health community-based study in Paterson, NJ. Dr. Opara is a licensed social worker and has worked primarily with women living with co-occurring disorders and court involved urban youth. Dr. Opara defines herself as a community-based participatory researcher with experience in working with youth and community organizations dedicated to reducing substance use in urban communities. Her current research focuses on using strengths-based approaches and strategies in prevention research, social work practice, and treatment.

Dr. Opara has received training and funding to conduct her work from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Dr. Opara received her PhD in Family Science & Human Development from Montclair State University, a Master of Social Work from New York University, a Master of Public Health from New York Medical College and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from New Jersey City University.

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