Image of a Black woman with braided hair wearing a pink suit leaning on a column.Iheoma U. Iruka

Founding Director, Equity Research Action Coalition, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG)

Research Professor, Department of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Iheoma U. Iruka (pronounced EE-OMAH EE-ROO-KAH), PhD, is a Research Professor in the Department of Public Policy and the Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. Iruka is leading projects and initiatives focused on ensuring that minoritized children and children from low-income households are thriving through the intersection of anti-bias, anti-racist, culturally grounded research, program, and policy. She serves on numerous national and local boards and committees, including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the American Psychological Association’s Board of Educational Affairs, and the Brady Education Foundation. In addition to being on the National Advisory Committee for the U.S. Census Bureau and a Census Advisor for the National Urban League, Dr. Iruka is the recipient of the 2022 American Psychological Association Mid-Career Award for Outstanding Contributions to Benefit Children, Youth, and Families.


CommunicationFIRST is the only disability-led nonprofit organizationIcon of 2 overlapping word clouds. Text: Communication First Because communication is a human right. dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights and interests of the more than 5 million people of all ages in the United States who, due to disability or other condition, are unable to rely on speech alone to communicate. CommunicationFIRST’s mission is to protect and advance the rights, autonomy, opportunity, and dignity of people with speech-related disabilities through public engagement, policy and practice reform, and systemic advocacy.

“We believe that having access to the tools and supports necessary to effectively express one’s thoughts, needs, and desires is a fundamental human right and that communication is essential to autonomy, self-determination, and well-being. Our mission is to educate the public, advocate for policy reform, and engage the judicial system to advance the rights, autonomy, opportunity, and dignity of our historically marginalized community.”

Learn more about CommunicationFIRST.