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Ijeoma Opara

Visiting Research Scientist


Dr. Ijeoma Opara is Visiting Research Faculty in the School of Public Health. Her primary appointment is as an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Welfare at SUNY Stony Brook University where she is the founder and director of the Substance Abuse & Sexual Health Lab ( Her research interests focus on HIV/AIDS, STI, and substance use prevention for urban youth, racial and gender specific prevention interventions for Black girls, and community-based participatory research with urban youth. Dr. Opara has received many awards for her work in prevention research from the American Public Health Association, National Council on Family Relations, and AcademyHealth. Most recently, Dr. Opara was named the 2020 recipient of the NIH Director's Early Independence Award. This award is given to junior scientists through the High Risk-High Reward program, whom who have demonstrated exceptional ability to engage in independent research.

Dr. Opara received her PhD in Family Science & Human Development at Montclair State University, a Master of Social Work from New York University (with a specialization in Primary & Behavioral Health Integration), a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from New York Medical College, and a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from New Jersey City University. Dr. Opara received fellowship training from the Behavioral Sciences Training on Drug Abuse Research at New York University funded by a predoctoral fellowship from the National Institute on Drug Abuse which funded her dissertation research.

Education & Training

  • NIDA T-32 funded pre-doctoral fellow
    New York University (2019)
  • PhD
    Montclair State University, Family Science & Human Development (2019)
  • MSW
    New York University (2014)
  • MPH
    New York Medical College, Epidemiology (2011)
  • BA
    New Jersey City University, Psychology (2009)

Departments & Organizations