Leyla Ismayilova

Assistant Professor
School of Social Service Administration

Leyla Ismayilova specializes in the development and adaptation of health promotion and family-based interventions in the international context and has been involved in international research projects in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union. Her research agenda focuses on developing culturally congruent interventions to improve mental health functioning and reduce risk behaviors (sexual risk behaviors and substance use) among at-risk children and youth.

She has been involved in two randomized clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health, testing the family-based economic empowerment model of care and support for AIDS-orphaned children in Uganda and its subsequent adaptation to impoverished communities in Nigeria. She also served as an investigator on a clinical trial funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and participated in a National Institute of Mental Health–funded longitudinal epidemiological health study.

Ismayilova received her PhD and master’s in social work from the Columbia University School of Social Work, with a concentration in advanced clinical practice, and was among the first Open Society Institute/Soros Foundation fellows from the former Soviet Union at Columbia. She also has MS and BS degrees in psychology from Baku State University, Azerbaijan. She was the founder and director of the Center for Psychological Counseling in Azerbaijan, which was the first mental health clinic in the country that provided counseling services to adults, children, and families with various emotional and behavioral problems.

Ismayilova joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2012.