Ijeoma Opara is a doctoral student and research fellow at Montclair State University in the Department of Family and Child Studies. Ijeoma is a doctoral research fellow under two federally funded programs: Paterson Coalition Against Substance Abuse and Project C.O.P.E (Community Organizing for Prevention and Empowerment). Both programs aim to address health disparities in Paterson, New Jersey by increasing prevention education in the community, building awareness, and strengthening community partnerships. Ijeoma also conducts research with a faculty mentor in the Department of Public Health at Montclair State University on health outcomes for African American women living with HIV/AIDS and related comorbidities. Ijeoma is heavily involved in community level work with the purpose of reducing substance abuse and HIV/AIDS risk factors among ethnic minorities. Before arriving to Montclair State University, Ijeoma earned a Master’s in Social Work from New York University and a Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology from New York Medical College. Ijeoma also worked as a youth and family therapist for court-involved youth at an alternative to incarceration program in New York City. She is a former SAMSHA/HRSA fellow at New York University and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention R.I.S.E fellow at the Johns Hopkins University.