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Leissa A. Roberts


Judy Fred Professor in Nursing

Associate Dean, Practice and Community Engagement


Dean's Office

Leissa Roberts, CNM, DNP, FACNM holds the Judy Fred Professorship in Nursing at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston. She also serves as the Associate Dean of Practice and Community Engagement and is faculty in the Graduate Department. In her role as Associate Dean she oversees UT Health Services (UTHS) which encompasses three areas of care.  UTHS provides employee health services to approximately 12,000 faculty, staff, residents, and scholars across all the UTHealth Houston, Houston schools, and colleges. UTHS also provides primary care services for adults and provides occupational health services to a number of Houston based businesses.  Dr. Roberts’s forte is building interdisciplinary and collaborative practices. She is an entrepreneur in faculty practice development and is able to articulate connections in an impactful manner. She teaches practice management in the graduate program.   

Dr. Roberts is a Certified Nurse Midwife who has practiced since 1993.  She had an active clinical practice for 28 years prior to joining UTHealth Houston and enjoys all aspects of woman’s health care and obstetrics. Dr. Roberts is the Primary author of the Coping With Labor Algorithm© a tool which replaces the 0 -10 Numeric Rating Scale in the evaluation of labor pain. The Coping With Labor Algorithm has been adopted widely across the United States, with dissemination and adoption in Europe, Mexico and the Middle East. Dr. Roberts has consulted with multiple Schools of Nursing across the country on how to develop a viable faculty practice. In reference to her scholarship and the Coping Algorithm she has also consulted with multiple hospital systems, graduate students, professional organizations and Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health system innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, on delivery decision initiatives.    

She is active in various committees at UTHealth Houston and Nationally.  In 2013, Dr. Roberts was the recipient of the National Perinatal Association’s 2013 Individual Contribution to Maternal Child Health Award. She was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Nurse Midwives in 2015 and received their Distinguished Service award in 2020.  In 2016 she received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Wyoming, Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing. Dr. Roberts was awarded the Exemplary Academic Practice – Partnership Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in 2018. 


Wharton Executive Education
Certificate, AACN Leadership Program

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Certificate: Leadership for the 21st Century- Chaos, Conflict and Courage

University of Utah, School of Business
Certificate: Administration for Physicians: A Medical Leadership Program

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
MS - Nurse-Midwifery

University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
BS - Nursing

Clinical/Research Focus

Midwifery, Women’s Health, Clinic Operations, Faculty Practice, Billing and Coding Coping in Labor, Leadership, Change Management