UVM Medical Center

Dr. Marissa Coleman Named UVM Medical Center's First Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Dr. Marissa Coleman to Build on the Foundational Work She Has Helped Shape Over the Last Several Years

A headshot of Dr. Marissa Coleman

BURLINGTON, Vt. – UVM Medical Center today announced that Marissa Coleman, PsyD, has accepted the position as the organization’s first Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). A psychologist at UVM Medical Center since 2018 and a daughter of a Jamaican immigrant, Coleman has served as Senior DEI Advisor for the past year, and will begin in her new role on September 20. In addition to serving in this leadership role, she will continue to see a limited number of patients and supervise pre-doctoral psychology residents. 

“I’m thrilled that Dr. Coleman has accepted this important position to lead our DEI efforts,” said Stephen Leffler, MD, President and Chief Operating Officer of the UVM Medical Center. “She brings an amazing amount of DEI expertise and experience, and also a demonstrated commitment to fostering an environment where our employees, patients and community members feel seen, valued and heard. We have all learned so much from her already, and this new role at a higher level is going to enable her to have an even greater impact on building a culture that is great for employees and patients.”

Before joining UVMMC, Dr. Coleman spent more than a decade focusing on DEI consultation, clinical and research work and organizational development. She is an expert in social justice and trauma psychology, and has worked in numerous countries, including Jamaica, Brazil, Mexico, Kenya, and El Salvador. Her work is influenced by her own multicultural background (Jamaican, Norwegian, Danish) and international experiences, which have helped her develop the ability to view situations from several perspectives and honor diverse opinions.

“I feel very excited and honored to serve in this inaugural DEI role at UVM Medical Center,” said Dr. Coleman. “We’ve begun to lay the foundation for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion here at UVMMC, and I want to build and expand that work and ensure it is sustainable for years to come.” A mother of three school-aged children, she added, “I am a Black woman raising a Black family, who moved to Vermont from out of state, and initially, struggled to find a sense of community at work and at home. I know firsthand the impact of feeling like you do not belong where you work and live. I feel a deep sense of responsibility with this position to advocate for employees, patients and community members who have felt similarly.”

Dr. Coleman completed her Bachelor’s degree at DePaul University in Chicago, before earning her Master’s and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She completed her doctoral training at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Emory School of Medicine. She joined UVM Medical Center as a Staff Psychologist in 2018 and also serves as the Wellbeing Advisor at the UVM Larner College of Medicine.

Over the past year, as Senior DEI Advisor, Dr. Coleman helped guide the organization through a significant amount of DEI work. She co-facilitated more than 20 racial equity listening sessions, developed meaningful forums for sharing the organization’s workforce assessment survey findings, and worked collaboratively to create two employee resource groups – one to support employees who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and the other to support employees who identify as LGBTQ+. She also co-led numerous education sessions on racial humility and equity for employees and leadership, creating a safe space for employees to talk about these sensitive issues in new ways. 

In her new role, Dr. Coleman will lead DEI efforts at UVM Medical Center, building on the foundational work of the last several years. One of her first priorities includes partnering with Human Resources to lead the development of a new five-year DEI strategic plan for the organization.

About the University of Vermont Medical Center
The University of Vermont Medical Center is a 499-bed tertiary care regional referral center providing advanced care to approximately 1 million residents in Vermont and northern New York. Together with our partners at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, we are Vermont’s academic medical center. The University of Vermont Medical Center also serves as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties. 

The University of Vermont Medical Center is a member of The University of Vermont Health Network, an integrated system established to deliver high quality academic medicine to every community we serve.

For more information visit UVMHealth.org/MedCenter.