About Paula Gilmer DesRoches

Paula Gilmer DesRoches
Download Hi-Res Photo

Paula Gilmer DesRoches, the spouse of Rice University President Reginald DesRoches and Rice University associate, is a highly accomplished healthcare professional, nurse practitioner and administrator recognized for her leadership in occupational health.

DesRoches began her career in the field 27 years ago. She spent 16 years in leadership positions, the most recent of which was as Director of Employee Health and Occupational Medicine for Houston Methodist, the city’s leading healthcare system. DesRoches served in this capacity at Houston Methodist from 2017-2022. In this role, she directed the administrative and clinical management of the hospital system’s seven employee health clinics. These clinics are located throughout Greater Houston and serve over 27,000 employees. DesRoches also directed the occupational health response to COVID-19, including the employee COVID-19 vaccination program, case management of COVID-19 positive employees and the hospital system’s employee contact tracing efforts. In addition, she oversaw numerous occupational health surveillance, workplace injury/illness management, fitness for duty and urgent care programs for Houston Methodist employees. DesRoches is also a board-certified advanced practice provider and adult nurse practitioner. She is currently a nurse practitioner and consultant in occupational health at Houston Methodist.

Prior to DesRoches’ time at Houston Methodist, she served 12 years as Corporate Director of Occupational Injury Management at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta. In this leadership role, DesRoches provided operational oversight, and clinical consultation to her team and direct care to patients. While at Emory Healthcare, DesRoches provided operational, clinical and case management oversight of Emory Healthcare and Emory University’s Occupational Health Program, which included 40,000 employees and six clinics. Of note, she and her team directed the care of staff serving Emory’s Ebola patients in its Serious Communicable Diseases Unit (SCDU) in 2014. Such care included the development and management of the medical surveillance process and the provision of care to providers potentially exposed to Ebola. DesRoches is the recipient of the prestigious Daisy Team Award, issued by the Daisy Foundation, in 2014 for her work during the Ebola outbreak.

DesRoches was the inaugural “Hospital Link” columnist for the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) Journal, Workplace Health & Safety section. In this capacity, she published several key articles in the AAOHN journal on a range of topics in occupational health.

As Rice University Associate, DesRoches is using her expertise in corporate health and wellness to advise Rice on ways to build new programs to promote health and wellness among its faculty and staff with the goal of enhancing the comprehensive well-being of employees.

She currently serves on the boards of the United Way of Greater Houston, Hermann Park Conservancy, Houston Parks Board, United Way Women’s Initiative Steering Committee, and the Kinsey Collection Committee.

A native of Los Angeles, DesRoches earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She received a Master of Science in Nursing and her Adult Nurse Practitioner Board Certification with specialization in Occupational Health from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

DesRoches is a runner and exercise enthusiast. She enjoys a rich family life with her husband and their three children, Andrew, Jacob and Shelby. Shelby ’23 is proud Rice Owl.

Download Biography

Campus Location

Allen Center, Suite 440
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005

Mailing Address

Office of the President–MS 1
Rice University
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892

Contact Information