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Deborah L. Harnois, MS, MBA, JD

Deputy Executive Vice Chancellor, People Strategy

Deborah HarnoisDeborah L. Harnois, MS, MBA, JD, has served as the chief human resources officer for UMass Medical School since July 2014. In this role, she is responsible for determining the vision and providing overall strategic and tactical leadership for the Human Resources team, specifically in the areas of talent management, total rewards, employee engagement, labor and employee relations, HRIS, performance management, succession planning, immigration, learning and development, and change management. Harnois’ first role at UMMS was as assistant vice chancellor of HR effectiveness, in which she was charged with strengthening the department’s operational strategies, plans and performance while improving business outcomes and increasing customer satisfaction.  

Prior to joining UMMS in 2013, Harnois served as the chief human resources executive at other large organizations, including Tegra Medical; New England Medical Care, PC; and the Boston Department of Health and Hospitals. Harnois’ experience also includes the private practice of law in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, specializing in employment and labor law. Harnois holds a BA in political science from Rhode Island College, an MS in criminal justice and an MBA from Northeastern University, and a JD from Suffolk University Law School—all received with honors.