Dr. Ezemenari M. Obasi is a tenured professor at the University of Houston. He currently serves as the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Education. He is the Founder/Director of UH's Helping Everyone Achieve A LifeTime of Health (HEALTH) Research Institute.
Dr. Obasi was born in Southeast San Diego where he was raised by a strong mother and extended family that facilitated his navigation through an impoverished environment. During that time, his primary goal was to be alive at the age of 18. Through his active engagement in sports (i.e., AAU Basketball, Pop-Warner through Varsity Football, and Varsity through NCAA Track & Field), spirituality, and social networks, he embarked on a path that resulted in earning a B.S. in Physics from the University of California - Irvine.
Through his early years of community activism, leadership, and strong mentorship network, he decided to pursue a profession that would better position him to be a change agent for addressing health challenges in underserved communities. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology at The Ohio State University where he completed his clinical internship at Harvard Medical School - McLean Hospital.
Dr. Obasi is currently a tenured Professor at the University of Houston where he leads groundbreaking research on the neurobiology of stress, alcohol and drug abuse, health disparities that disproportionately affect the African American Community, and cultural predictors of health behaviors. He directs the Hwemudua Addictions and Health Disparities Laboratory (HAHDL) – a Biosafety Level II laboratory – and has led or participated in over $17M of innovative science funded by the National Institute of Health, UnitedHealth Foundation, and the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.
Dr. Obasi has an incredible life story and a unique set of experiences that has blessed him to be a motivational speaker, consultant, and change agent in the areas of health-equity science, addictions, coping with stress and mental health challenges, empowering change in our communities, and organizational strategic planning.
The UnitedHealth Foundation partners with the University of Houston to fight obesity and type-2 diabetes in Houston's Third Ward and East End communities
Interview with Ezemenari Obasi and Dan O'Connor on Fox26 Houston