Dr. Okechukwu completed her doctoral studies in the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health in June 2008 and was then awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program. During her Robert Wood Johnson Fellowship, Dr. Okechukwu was based at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health and the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. Previously she earned a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Maryland and a master of science in nursing and master of public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Okechukwu investigates how work environments influence the health and cancer prevention behaviors of working populations—with a special focus on the working class (i.e. blue-collar and service workers). She also works on global tobacco control, especially as it relates to tobacco industry practices in African countries.
Her research studies involve collection and analysis of observational epidemiologic data as well as design and evaluation of public health interventions. She has led and/or collaborated on a number of studies including two separate intervention studies designed to reduce: (a) workplace violence among community health nurses and (b) smoking among blue-collar apprentices. The chief goal underlying Dr. Okechukwu’s research is to promote optimal health and reduce health disparities by developing empirical findings that can be translated into population health interventions. For her future research agenda, she plans to explore other issues that affect the health of working-class populations, using transdisciplinary approaches and both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
In addition to the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Fellowship, Dr. Okechukwu received the Thomas D. Cabot Academic Scholarship from HSPH, the HSPH Student Recognition Award, and Association of Schools of Public Health/CDC and NCI fellowships, among others.