Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka, is a Research Professor of Public Policy, and the Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
As a consultant to the National Urban League, Dr. Iruka will direct the organization’s policy and strategic approach to ensuring an accurate count of African Americans and historically undercounted communities.
Prior to rejoining Carolina, she served as Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of The Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation at HighScope Educational Research Foundation. She was also at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska, and the FPG Child Development Institute.
Dr. Iruka is engaged in projects and initiatives focused on how evidence-informed policies, systems, and practices in early education can support the optimal development and experiences of children from low-income and ethnic minority households, such as through family engagement and support, quality rating and improvement systems, and early care and education systems and programs.
Dr. Iruka has been engaged in addressing how best to ensure excellence for young diverse learners, especially black children, such as through development of a classroom observation measure, examination of non-traditional pedagogical approaches, public policies, and publications geared towards early education practitioners and policymakers.
Dr. Iruka has served or serves on numerous national boards and committees, including the Brady Education Foundation and 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.
Dr. Iruka has a B.A. in psychology from Temple University, a M.A. in psychology from Boston University, and earned her Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami, Florida.