Primarily, Dr. Opara is dedicated to changing the narrative of Black families and incorporating their cultural strengths in prevention programming. Her research exemplifies this approach as she conducts studies on three main areas:
Youth substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and STI prevention, and Health disparities among girls and women of color .
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Download Dr. Opara’s CV for citations of her peer-reviewed published manuscripts and conference presentations.
YOUTH SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION RESEARCH
Dr. Opara’s research on substance abuse has been centered on the experiences of minority youth in urban, under-resourced communities. Using the voices and experiences of urban youth to identify key issues plaguing their community and then highlight the various supportive structures both within the home (e.g., parent and sibling support) and immediate community environment (e.g. school, organizations) that can work towards reducing substance use.
HIV/AIDS AND STI PREVENTION IN ADOLESCENTS OF COLOR
Dr. Opara’s research has focused on understanding factors that contribute to HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infections) among adolescents of color. Dr. Opara is especially interested in how her research informs the way researchers, clinicians, and interventionists develop HIV/AIDS prevention programming that is specific to race and gender and incorporates the importance of family and communities role in prevention.
HEALTH DISPARITIES AMONG GIRLS AND WOMEN
Dr. Opara’s work uses a cultural, racial, and gender-specific lens in order to understand the unique intersections that may place girls and women of color at risk of poorer health outcomes. In her approach, she works directly with girls and women to understand how their unique position in society has could effect their health. Dr. Opara seeks to create awareness of prevention programs that need to be in place for girls and women of color that highlight culturally relevant and gender specific factors such as ethnic identity and address gendered racism.
Dr. Opara’s research is focused on providing strengths-based approaches to understanding disparities among urban minority youth.