UVM Health Network DEI Commitment

The UVM Health Network is dedicated to creating a workplace that is diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive for our employees, patients and communities we serve. This commitment will be included in all strategies and policies and will represent who we are as an organization.

Colorful silhouettes of diverse group of people

Photo collage of UVM Health Network staff at Health Equity Summit.

Call for Proposals:
2024 Health Equity Summit

Do you have a thought-provoking session idea or abstract presentation?

Submit your proposal by May 15.

Learn more

Our Patients and Families

We will work to create a more equitable, accessible, and inclusive care environment in order to provide high-quality health care to our diverse communities.

Our priorities include:

  • Identifying and establishing processes to address disparities in health outcomes, and to advance health equity.
  • Improving timely, appropriate access to health care services.
  • Fostering cultural awareness and humility among providers and staff.
  • Developing and reviewing Network policies and practices related to equity and inclusion of patients, families, and visitors.

Our People

We will work to create a more equitable, accessible, and inclusive environment for providers and staff, in order to promote a culture of belonging and attract and retain a talented and committed workforce.

Our priorities include:

  • Identifying and creating opportunities to better support our diverse workforce.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion will be embedded in recruitment and retention efforts.
  • Standardizing all Network internal policies through a DEI lens.
  • Providing diversity, equity and inclusion education for all employees Network-wide.

Our Communities

We will work collaboratively to create more inclusive and sustainable local economies; to help address systemic barriers to health; and to support health and well-being in our communities.

Our priorities include:

  • Addressing structural determinants of health, advancing equity and keeping our communities as healthy as possible.
  • Influencing local hiring, purchasing and investment to create equitable economic impact.
  • Focusing our Health Network Boards on community needs and barriers to health.
  • Working with community partners to identify and address health priorities and being transparent in our communication.
  • Working to build trust by acknowledging historical inequities in health care.


Marissa Coleman (She/Her), VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The University of Vermont Medical Center

Marissa N. Coleman, PsyD is the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Vermont Medical Center. She is a practicing bilingual, clinical psychologist with a specialty in International Psychology and Human Rights. Additionally, Dr. Coleman serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at The University of Vermont. She completed her pre-doctoral residency at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami; followed by her postdoctoral fellowship at Emory School of Medicine. With her background in creating culturally grounded healing spaces, Dr. Coleman’s work emphasizes psychological safety, liberation theory, and centering the role of community in systemic change.

Her career in healthcare spans domestically and internationally with focus areas in program development, monitoring and reporting, participatory action research, DEI strategic planning, and cultivating holistic educational experiences. Dr. Coleman continues to work in multiple international contexts, particularly working with individuals and communities affected by human rights violations, conflict/war, torture, health epidemics, and trauma.  Utilizing her expertise in social justice, traumatology, cultural and community psychologies, she seeks to contribute to local capacity building, infrastructure development, and culturally humble approaches to what is considered “best practice” in the areas of equity, belonging, and psychological well-being. She has worked in numerous countries including Jamaica, Brazil, Mexico, Kenya, and El Salvador.  

"My approach in the DEI space is directly connected to my own multicultural background, international experiences, and training in psychology. I am inspired by the incredible employees, patients, and community members that I see every day and feel grateful to help cultivate a sense of belonging for every employee, patient, and learner."

Guadalupe Martinez (She/Her), Network Diversity Director

The University of Vermont Health Network

Guadalupe is a Mexican/American millennial who emigrated from Sonora, Mexico to Arizona with her family at a young age. Thankfully, because of her DACA status, she received her Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of Arizona in the spring of 2022.

Her lived experiences of food adversity, house instability, and health disparities propelled her to become a DEI professional in 2018 at Banner Health, a large integrated health system, where she had the opportunity to be one of the founders of their Diversity and Inclusion department. During her time there, Guadalupe co-led and established Employee Resource Groups, facilitated Unconscious Bias, Macroaggressions, and LGBTQIA2S+ Health 101 across clinical and non-clinical teams, and fostered community relationships, all aimed to tackle health disparities.

She was fortunate to join the University of Vermont Health Network as their first Network Diversity Director, in March of 2022 where her focus is cultivating a culture of belonging and addressing health equity. In her short time with the network, Guadalupe has delivered DEI and LGBTQIA2S+ care training to leadership at multiple hospitals and agency, is spearheading policies aimed at creating more equitable processes for staff, patients, and communities alike, and is collaborating with key network partners to identify DEI metrics and data. She is excited to continue serving marginalized and underserved populations by fostering a culture of innovation, belonging and equity across the communities that the University of Vermont Health Network operates in and serves.

"My lived experiences of food adversity, house instability, and health disparities not only within my own family but surrounding communities propelled me to be an advocate for historically marginalized communities and am passionate about building equitable opportunities for all individuals."

Erin Armstrong (She/Her), Director, Community Health Improvement

The University of Vermont Health Network

Erin Armstrong is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and experienced leader. After graduating from St. Michael’s College she completed two years of AmeriCorps VISTA, and worked at alternative schools before graduating from Bryn Mawr College of Social Work in 2006. In her early years as a social worker, she worked with many people experiencing systemic barriers. She has since provided oversight and supervision of several therapeutic, case management and residential programs for individuals experiencing mental illness.

Since 2017, she has held a variety of leadership positions at the UVM Medical Center, shifting from directly connecting people to the care they need, to addressing some of the upstream factors that lead to the barriers and injustices people face. Erin currently leads a team of talented individuals who work closely alongside community partners to address community priorities, health literacy, and the development of health equity initiatives. She is excited to bring her knowledge, build new partnerships, and highlight the voice of the community to make a greater impact on all of the areas served by the UVMHN.

"I feel honored to be a part of an organization that prioritizes DEI. I am humbled to be on this journey with a team of talented professionals and to be able to listen and learn from the community in effort to make it a more just and thriving place for everyone."

alex prussin, MPH, (They/Them), Interim Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director, UVMHN Medical Group

The University of Vermont Health Network

alex is the interim University of Vermont Health Network Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Director for the Medical Group. Alex is a gender non-conforming, queer, bilingual, and empathetic human who has centered their work around DEI for many years. They have over 18 years of experience in the healthcare field including direct patient care, operations, leading health care centers, and mentoring leaders. They grew up in Berkley California, spending time traveling to the east coast as well as Germany to visit family.

In this role, they are focused on understanding the needs of the Network Medical Group and creating a structure of support to achieve its DEI goals, directly linked to the Health Network DEI strategic plan. Chief among those goals in the network-wide DEI strategic plan is creating a culture that provides a sense of belonging to all that work within the Medical Group and provides respectful and meaningful healthcare to all that seek care within our network.

Most recently, they were the Assistant Director of Psychiatry and Neurology for the UVMMC Medical Group for the last 6.5 years. In this role they were responsible for outpatient healthcare practices within both departments, including leading, coaching, and mentoring 8 clinical and practice supervisors.

Before moving to Vermont, they worked at Planned Parenthood and the University of California at San Francisco for many years.  Alex holds a bachelor’s degree in Critical Gender Studies with a minor in dance from the University of California, San Diego, a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University, and are a Co-Active trained coach.

“Exclusion and disparities have been a large part of the lens in which I see the world for much of my life, including the lens through which my education showed the world. I have experienced exclusion and disparities in my own life and am someone with a huge amount of privilege. With that privilege comes an enormous amount of responsibility. My goal is to lead from this place of responsibility in everything I do to impact the building of an environment where we all genuinely feel that we belong and where healthcare experiences are centered around the human receiving care and their identities to improve their lives.”

Geera Demers, MPA, CPHQ, PMP, (she/her), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director, Employee Education and Experience

The University of Vermont Medical Center

Geera is the University of Vermont Medical Center Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Director over Employee Experience and Education. Geera has twenty years of experience in health care including facilitating trainings, program management, health administration, quality improvement, and strategic planning. In her DEI role, she guides leaders and managers on DEI practices and how to navigate complex DEI-related situations with their staff.  She facilitates and develops DEI trainings to improve knowledge, culture, and employee retention. Geera also supports the network-wide DEI strategic planning work.  Prior to this role, Geera was the Senior Quality Improvement Partner for the Jeffords Institute for Quality for The University of Vermont Health Network.  In her quality improvement role, she provided project management support for the hospital, network, and external community stakeholders using quality improvement methodologies and best practices. 

Before moving to Vermont, Geera worked in New York City as the Program Manager for the Cancer Prevention Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital (NYP), where she enhanced the hospital’s market presence by organizing cancer screenings, awareness events and educational lectures. In her role as the research project coordinator at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, she conducted research for multi-institutional clinical trials, which included researchers from nationally recognized cancer centers in Italy and India.

“Our organization’s commitment to DEI work is not only essential for creating a more equitable and inclusive culture, but it also helps us grow as an organization and sustain us for the ever-evolving healthcare landscape. By incorporating my own lived experiences into this work, I am grateful to create an environment where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and contribute to our collective success.”

We're thrilled to have been able to celebrate Pride Month together.

“It’s difficult to put into words the feelings of positive energy that came from marching with everyone at this year's Burlington Pride Parade and Festival. It’s our way of acknowledging past wrongs, a recognition of the progress we as a society and organization are making, and a reminder of the positive things that are to come. Being able to join you all to celebrate a group of people who are being their authentic selves was amazing.”

- LGBTQIA2S+ Employee Resource Group

Employee Resource Groups

Our employee resource groups (ERGs) are employee-led programs with a focus on employee and patient experience, community outreach, recruitment, and support for those who identify with one or both diverse groups. Each ERG is led by two co-leaders who facilitate monthly meetings that provide space to process, educate, and cultivate ongoing opportunities to build community.

Our Mission and Vision: To co-create culturally inclusive spaces for processing, networking, educating, empowering, and celebrating people with resources and discussion.

REACH (Racial Equity and Cultural Humility) ERG uplifts our BIPOC employees and is co-lead by Alli Castille (they/she) and Vanessa Rose (she/her)

SAGE (Sexuality and Gender Equity) uplifts our LGBTQIA2S+ employees and is co-lead by Tanya MacDonald (she/her) and Wendy Shores (she/her).

Both ERGs welcome allies to attend and support their colleagues.