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Kiana Solomon

Kiana (Hardy) Solomon, MPH '16

Kiana Solomon headshot

Current position: Program Manager, March of Dimes

Kiana Solomon graduated from Dornsife School of Public Health in 2016 with a major in Health Management and Policy (HMP).

The Drexel Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program was established in 2015, and Solomon was part of the initial cohort of MCH trainees that helped shape the MCH program.

During her time at Dornsife, Solomon was a member of the Peer Health Educators Student Organization, completed a Clinical Research Internship with Planned Parenthood, and worked as a Research Assistant for St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.

Additionally, Solomon was an American Public Health Association (APHA) MCH Section Student Fellow. As a Fellow, Solomon attended the APHA annual conference in Chicago in 2015, worked with the APHA MCH section President and Secretary for her fellowship project, and developed MCH policy statements.

After completing her fellowship, Solomon stayed on as a section counselor and helped draft policy statements for the MCH section of APHA. The first policy statement she worked on was about child separation at the border. In 2020, she participated in the drafting of a policy statement on structural racism and public health that was adopted by the APHA.

What drew you to MCH?

Solomon says, “My interest in MCH goes back to when I was a little girl. My pediatrician was a Black woman, she is actually the same pediatrician for my children now, and I remember how light and happy I was going to the doctor. My experience at the doctor made me want to work with children as a pediatrician. Eventually, when I decided that I didn’t want to go to medical school, my high school teacher said I would be great in maternal and child health, under the umbrella of public health. This is how I got my introduction into public health and MCH.

"Then, as an undergrad, I saw the overlap between healthcare, disparities, and MCH, especially here in the US. I wanted to learn everything that I could about MCH and get involved in MCH activities. Drexel gave me that opportunity. Dr. Davis shared the APHA MCH Section Student Fellowship Program with me, and I applied and was selected as a fellow for the program. This program opened a new world of MCH opportunities to me and helped me understand the different paths you can take with a career in MCH.”

How are you currently using your MCH training?

Solomon is currently a Program Manager at March of Dimes in Washington DC. March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization working to improve the health of mothers and babies through research, programs, education, and advocacy. Solomon leads a pilot program called “Better Starts for All,” which works to increase access to care for mothers in maternity care deserts.

Solomon says, “My favorite part of this position is knowing that I’m helping someone on a daily basis. I feel happy to know that I am making a true impact that I can directly see. In my previous roles, there wasn’t a clear connection to the community or my colleagues. It is gratifying to know that I’m needed and useful and making a positive difference.”

How did your time as a MCH trainee at Dornsife influence your career?

Solomon says, “I knew I wanted to be in the field of MCH because of the program at Drexel. I knew I would have to work really hard to get into the field because MCH is small, and it can be challenging when thinking about other lucrative jobs you can find in public health. I had to take many steps to get to the point where my job, pay, and work all align, and I am grateful to be there now."

"Drexel’s MCH program taught me about all the MCH roles that would be available to me after I graduated, and that my dream role was out there.”

Additionally, a highlight of Solomon’s time at Dornsife was serving as an APHA MCH Section Student Fellow. She credits the fellowship experience, and the connections she made, with getting her current role at March of Dimes.

Advice to current and future MCH students?

To current and future MCH students, Solomon says “Don’t be afraid to say yes when an opportunity is not perfect. When you start out, the opportunity may not be exactly what you dreamed of, but take what you can from the experience and learn as much as you can. When you get to a certain point in your career, it becomes more stagnant, so be open to as many opportunities as you can because you never know where it will lead and what skillsets you will gain from the opportunity.”