Check-in and Reception will begin at 5:45 p.m. The lecture will start at 6:30 p.m.
Part of the Meyer and Renee Luskin Lecture Series
In a talk titled, “Approaching Substance Use Prevention by Harnessing Black Girls’ Strengths,” Yale University scholar Ijeoma Opara will delve into substance use prevention tailored to the unique challenges faced by Black girls, harnessing their inherent strengths to achieve success. Many Black girls encounter intersecting societal pressures, deal with stereotypes and often must overcome systemic inequalities. Shifting the narrative from deficits to strengths provides a proactive and empowering solution. Scholars and service providers can foster resilience, confidence and a sense of agency through a strengths-based approach, equipping Black girls with the knowledge and confidence they need to make informed, healthy choices. By highlighting evidence-based strategies that draw upon the inherent strengths within Black girls, the approach advocated by Opara bolsters cultural pride, fosters community engagement and mentorship, and encourages self-expression while also discouraging substance misuse.
About Dr. Ijeoma Opara
Ijeoma Opara PhD is an associate professor in Social and Behavioral Sciences at Yale University’s School of Public Health and the director of its Substances and Sexual Health (SASH) effort. Opara has given several talks across the country about her work highlighting strengths of Black girls and prevention research. The author of more than 60 publications, she has been published in high impact journals such as AIDS & Behavior, Nature and Urban Education.
She is an award-winning scientist whose recognitions include the Woman of Impact award from the Community Healthcare Network-Nigeria, the 2020 National Institutes of Health Early Independence Award, and a Memorial Advocacy Award from the American Public Health Association. Her currently funded research includes a project on machine-learning methods with youths of color in New Jersey.
A licensed social worker who has worked primarily with youth and families of color in urban cities, Opara received her doctorate in family science and human development from Montclair State University, a master’s in social work from New York University and a master’s in public health in epidemiology from New York Medical College. Her bachelor’s is New Jersey City University.
Land and Labor Acknowledgement
As a land grant institution, UCLA acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles basin, So. Channel Islands) and are grateful to have the opportunity to work for the taraaxotam (Indigenous peoples) in this place. We pay our respects to Honuukvetam (Ancestors), elders, and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.
We hold sacred the labor of enslaved Africans and immigrants, often exploited, indentured and underpaid, that built and continue to serve our institutions of higher education. We honor the labor and resistance of these ancestors, acknowledge that we benefit from this land and labor, and strive to work towards liberation for all.