For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Safiyyah M. Okoye, PhD

Contact Information

Safiyyah M. Okoye


Assistant Professor

Graduate Nursing

Safiyyah M. Okoye, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Graduate Nursing. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Health Management and Policy, Dornsife School of Public Health. Okoye joined Drexel as part of the Drexel FIRST (Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation) program. Okoye completed her PhD in Nursing (2019) at Johns Hopkins University where she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar. Okoye’s goal as a public health researcher and nurse practitioner is to increase equity in health and function for socially and economically disadvantaged older adults. Her research examines socioeconomic and built environmental influences on physical function and disability among older adults with the purpose of informing individual, household, community and policy interventions to increase health equity. As a primary care nurse practitioner Okoye cared for a panel of patients with high prevalence of chronic disease (e.g., diabetes) and related conditions (e.g., poor sleep, functional disability) and became aware of the social and structural barriers faced by health care providers, patients and their families in co-managing health conditions. With her research, teaching and practice she seeks to transform health care in the United States to better serve the needs of patients and their families and to decrease health inequity.

Professional Society

Member, Gerontological Society of America
Member, Sigma Theta Tau, Nu Beta Chapter
Member, Sigma Theta Tau, Xi Chapter

Selected Publications

Fabius, C., Okoye, S.M., Mulcahy, J., Burgdorf, J., Wolff, J.L. (2022). Associations between use of paid help and care experiences among Medicare-Medicaid enrolled older adults with and without dementia. Journals of Gerontology Social Sciences. Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 2022.

Okoye, S.M., Spira, A.P., Perrin, N., Schrack, J.A., Han, H.R., Wanigatunga, S., Nyhuis, C. & Szanton, S.L. Exterior housing conditions are associated with objective measures of poor sleep among low-income older adults with disabilities. Sleep Health, 7(6): 731-734.

Okoye, S.M., Szanton, S.L., Perrin, N., Nkimbeng, M., Schrack, J.A., Han, H.R., Nyhuis, C., Wanigatunga, S., & Spira, A.P. Objectively measured sleep and physical function: Associations in low-income older adults with disabilities. (2021). Sleep Health, 7(6): 735-741.

Okoye, S.M., Mulcahy, J.F., Burgdorf, J.G., Fabius, C.D., Wolff, J.L. (2021). Neighborhood broadband and older adult’s use of telehealth. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(6):e26242.

Okoye, S.M., Samuel, L.J., Fabius, C., Mulcahy, J., Reider, L., Szanton, S., Wolff, J.L. (2021). Home and neighborhood context of falls among Black and White older Americans. Journal of Aging and Health, 33(9): 721-731.

Grant participation:

Housing Predictors of Adverse Consequences of Unmet Care Needs Among Low and Moderate Income Older Adults with Disabilities” 9/2021 – 9/2022, Pilot Award, Center for Innovative Care in Aging, School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University. Role: Principal Investigator.

Research Interests

Gerontology, housing and health, neighborhoods and health, functional disability, accidental falls, sleep health

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Training Program in Health Services
    and Outcomes Research for Aging Populations, 8/2021 to 7/2022
    Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing
    Baltimore, MD
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
    of Aging Training Program, 9/2019 to 7/2021
    Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
    Baltimore, MD
  • PhD, Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing, 2019
    Baltimore, MD
  • MSN, Family Health Nurse Practitioner, 2012
    University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
    Philadelphia, PA
  • BSN, Nursing, 2011
    University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
    Philadelphia, PA
  • BA, History, 2005
    Barnard College, Columbia University
    New York, NY