Addiction & Overdose

Get to Know Ciana Creighton

December 22, 2023

Ciana Creighton currently serves as the Chief of Staff to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services in the District of Columbia Government. After receiving her masters degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Creighton returned to obtain her DrPH degree through the Bloomberg Fellowship after observing the impact of the decades long opioid epidemic on  DC residents. 

Creighton’s work in public health started when she witnessed the stark disparities in both Baltimore and Cape Town, South Africa, where communities of color bore the brunt of inequitable health outcomes.

What drew her to the realm of public health was not just the observation of these disparities but a visceral understanding of the impact of structural racism, particularly in housing policies. Even when outlawed, housing discrimination persisted in a de facto capacity, casting a long shadow that posed significant challenges to the health of communities.

Most recently, Creighton has worked closely with her team in the Mayor's office to raise awareness and combat the opioid crisis in the District of Columbia. Creighton takes pride in the multi-disciplinary effort that led to the declaration of a public emergency on opioids during her recent tenure as Interim Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services for DC. The declaration led to a series of tangible actions, including Mayor's Orders to give practitioners in the District more tools to deal with the opioid epidemic, public health messaging and crucial data improvements that directly touch the lives of District residents.

While these moments have been important milestones, Creighton notes that the District's non-state status constrains its ability to implement certain preventive measures, a reminder that despite the best intentions, the impact of policies can be curtailed by broader political environments.

For Creighton, the Bloomberg Fellowship presented an opportunity to bridge the gap between academic research and real-time application in the field. Two years into the fellowship, the contributions are already evident, validating her decision to embark on this journey. Creighton notes that she feels an immense sense of support and kindness from faculty, staff, and members of her cohort. 

What sets Creighton apart is her unique, real-world experience—a convergence of research, academia, and local government. Armed with public health training, she navigates the intricate landscape of government service, focusing on community participatory practices. As long as structural issues contribute to a life expectancy gap, she remains steadfast in her commitment to the ongoing work that lies ahead.

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