Ezemenari Obasi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of Houston
Dr. Obasi is an Associate Professor and Director of the Hwemudua Addictions and Health Disparities Laboratory (HAHDL) at the University of Houston. Prior to this role, Dr. Obasi was an Early Career Co-Investigator for the Center for Contextual Genetics and Prevention Science (CGAPS) at CFR. CGAPS continues to support Dr. Obasi’s research.
Dr. Obasi’s research focuses on addictions, gene x environment predictors of health, and health disparities that disproportionately affect the African American community. As the director of the Hwemudua Addictions and Health Disparities Laboratory (HAHDL) at the University of Houston, he takes an interdisciplinary approach (incl., biomarkers, biofeedback, genetics, fMRI, experimental manipulations, etc.) and uses a diverse range of settings (incl., community, bar lounge, experimental rooms, medical facilities, etc.) to investigate biological, psychological, social, and cultural determinants of health. The impact that drug addictions have on health disparities impacting at-risk African Americans are grossly understudied. While there is strong evidence linking drug use and abuse to violent behaviors, injuries, mental health, and physical health problems, it is unclear how African Americans are disproportionately at risk given their relatively low incidence rates of drug use and abuse. There is a growing body of literature linking chronic stress – and one’s inability to effectively regulate stress – to addictions. As a result, Dr. Obasi is interested in taking students who are interested in investigating how stress dysregulation might be used to clarify the more subtle relationships between one’s cultural worldview/practices, environment, genotype, and drug use vulnerability. Ultimately, Dr. Obasi is committed to bringing about positive change to the African / African American community and other marginalized populations. To this end, he has a history of being actively involved in the community and publishing in the area of African/Black Psychology.