Organization: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., is a Research Professor in the Department of Public Policy, a Fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG), and the Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was previously the Chief Research Innovation Officer at HighScope Educational Research Foundation, Director of Research at the Buffett Institute at the University of Nebraska, and Associate Director and Scientist at FPG at UNC. Dr. Iruka is a developmental psychologist focused on elevating the cultural wealth of Black and other minoritized children, families, and communities and addressing racism and other systemic inequities. She works at the intersection of early childhood research, program, and policies. Her work focuses on family engagement and asset-development, quality rating and improvement systems, and early care and education systems and programs. She addresses how best to ensure healthy development and excellence for young diverse learners, especially Black children, such as through equity-focused, family, classroom, and policy tools, examining non-traditional pedagogical approaches, public policies, and publications geared towards early education practitioners and policymakers.
Dr. Iruka earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Miami. She has served or serves on numerous national and local boards and committees, including the Brady Education Foundation, Trust for Learning, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees on Supporting Parents of Young Children, and Applying Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Sciences from Prenatal through Early Childhood Development: A Health Equity Approach, and the American Psychological Association’s Board of Educational Affairs Racial Disparities in PreK-12 Education. She is the mother of two young children.