The Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education (CORSW) Community Impact Award recognizes community practice, which shapes the process of social work education by exemplifying the feminist leadership models. The criteria for the award are:

  • The recipient should have an affiliation with one or more accredited social work education programs (i.e., community-engaged research partnerships, field education placements, or other service-learning opportunities).
  • The recipient engages in feminist practice and leadership in a community setting, drawing on theories, models, competencies, and practice behaviors from their social work education.
  • The recipient clearly articulates how their approach to practice, program, and/or policy reform shapes awareness of how social work education through the real world of community, contributes to feminist leadership, and the grand challenges of social work.

The award will be presented at the Feminist Networking Breakfast during the Annual Program Meeting (APM) held by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The award winner is expected to attend.

The call for nominations is now closed. Please check back soon for the list of awardees.

2023 Community Impact Award Recipient

Picture1-(1).jpgDr. Ijeoma Opara is this year’s recipient of the Community Impact Award. Dr. Opara stands as an Associate Professor of Public Health within the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences at Yale University's School of Public Health. She holds the mantle as the visionary founder and director of the renowned Substance Abuse & Sexual Health Lab, a pioneering hub that drives innovation and transformation in the realm of public health.

At the heart of her academic journey lies an unwavering commitment to advancing the frontiers of knowledge in critical domains. Dr. Opara's research pursuits orbit around paramount themes, including the relentless fight against HIV/AIDS and STIs, alongside the imperative task of substance use prevention for urban youth. Dr. Opara maintains a resolute dedication to crafting racial and gender-specific prevention interventions, with a focal lens on empowering and safeguarding Black girls.

Embedded within her scholarly endeavors is the ethos of community-based participatory research, a dynamic approach that underscores her genuine connection with urban youth. This authentic engagement translates into tangible impact, effecting positive change in the lives of the communities she touches. Dr. Opara was awarded the 2023 National Institute on Drug Abuse Pioneer Award, a 5-year grant that will allow her to lead a community-based participatory research project integrating data science to prevent youth substance misuse among youth of color in Paterson and East Orange, New Jersey.

In her early career, Dr. Opara was awarded the 2020 National Institutes of Health Director's Early Independence Award that catalyzed her 5-year community-based study based in Paterson, New Jersey. Dr. Opara’s trajectory of accomplishment is underscored by a remarkable ability to traverse the frontier of independent research, embarking on intellectual expeditions that yield substantive contributions to the public health discourse. Her legacy is defined not only by exceptional expertise and achievements, but also by her capacity to harness the power of knowledge for the betterment of society at large.