Faculty Profile

Melissa Creary

Melissa Creary, PhD, MPH

  • Assistant Professor, Health Management and Policy
  • Assistant Professor of Global Public Health

Dr. Creary is an interdisciplinary (public health, science and technology studies, medical anthropology, bioethics) social scientist who has worked with the sickle cell community as a scientist, policy maker, and public health researcher for over 20 years. Her primary research interests include how science, culture, and policy intersect, particularly around ethical, legal, and social concerns (ELSI). Her work provides critical analyses of the embodiment of policy via genetic and racial identities and has important implications for the development of a shared language for growing global research agendas, policy development, patient diagnosis, and health care provision. She is interested in the simultaneous constructions of race and science via the development of policy and what the bioethical implications are of those policies and interrogates broadly how inclusion and knowledge production are at odds with structural and societal barriers.

  • PhD, Emory University, 2016
  • MPH, Emory University, 2004
  • BS, Emory University, 2000

Research Interests:
global health, sickle cell, health equity, anti-racism, citizenship, justice

Dr. Creary has four general areas of research interests:

Bounded Justice
I have developed a concept called bounded justice that critiques the way that public health and technological policy responses often do not address underlying structural and historical conditions. The concept of bounded justice is useful because it provides a way of theorizing how embodied outcomes of accumulated injustice and exclusion inhibit the receipt of justice even via intentional, well-meaning, well-researched programs, policies, and technologies. It thereby allows us to better consider the realities of the intended benefitting constituents. Bounded Justice is integral to the anti-racist research framing of current and future research projects. It serves as the conceptual frame for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant for housing and health and a pilot project for developing an anti-racist public health department. https://melissacreary.com/bounded-justice/

Biocultural Citizenship
Biocultural citizenship is a concept that I coined which looks at how biology intersects with the cultural parts of identity and how it influences notions of citizenship, it speaks to a deep entanglement of biology, culture, race and citizenship.Currently I'm working on a proof-of-concept project to see how biocultural citizenship might play out here in the United States via mechanisms of trust. This work is centered on community perspectives of trustworthiness in the government and how that influences perspectives of trust in the healthcare system. https://melissacreary.com/biocultural-citizenship/

Making Institutions Antiracist
I center anti-racism and health equity in my research, mentoring, and administrative duties. I am the MPI on two University of Michigan grants that center anti-racism for the development of institutional interventions in public health higher education and local health departments. https://melissacreary.com/antiracist-health-research/

Sickle Cell and Global Health
I use sickle cell disease as a lens to investigate health equity and health policy. Most of my empirical research is based within the sickle cell community and helps shape my conceptual work around justice and citizenship. https://melissacreary.com/sickle-cell-and-global-health/

Creary, M. Legitimate suffering: a case of belonging and sickle cell trait in Brazil. BioSocieties 16, 492-513 (2021).

Creary, Melissa. Bounded Justice and the Limits of Health Equity. The Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 49 (2021): 241-256

Nong, P., Raj, M., Creary, M., Kardia, S., and Platt, J. E. Patient-Reported Experiences of Discrimination in the US Health Care System. JAMA network open, 3(12), e2029650 (2020).

Creary, Melissa, Daniel Thiel, and Arri Eisen. 2017. Social Meaning and the Unintended Consequences of Inclusion. The American Journal of Bioethics.

Creary, Melissa S. 2017. Biocultural citizenship and embodying exceptionalism: Biopolitics for sickle cell disease in Brazil. Social Science and Medicine.

Creary M and Eisen A. 2013. Acknowledging Levels of Racism in the Definition of 'Difficult'. TheAmerican Journal of Bioethics.

Complete list of published work in Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=F80uhm4AAAAJandhl=en

Email: mcreary@umich.edu
M3126 SPH II
1415 Washington Heights,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029

For media inquiries: sph.media@umich.edu