Dr. Vanessa Downing is a licensed psychologist, trusted advisor, and executive coach certified by the International Coaching Federation. She received her doctoral degree in counseling psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. The early years of her career were spent as a cardiovascular psychologist working at the bedside of patients facing life altering diagnoses. Her experiences on multidisciplinary teams included navigating intense system demands while fighting for the lives of patients. These experiences sparked her enduring passion for the well-being of physicians, nurses, and all healthcare workers.
This work led to the creation of one of the nation's first hospital-based centers dedicated solely to original interventions and wellbeing services tailored for delivery to individuals and teams on the job. Her role as Director of the ChristianaCare Center for WorkLife Wellbeing emphasized advocacy for frontline workers, leadership development, and empowerment of individuals to influence culture change in meaningful and lasting ways. Heading a team of psychologists and researchers, Vanessa became a national thought leader, providing mentorship, education, and consultation to healthcare systems across the country as they established nascent programs.
Vanessa has led grant-funded mixed methods research on the application of emerging best practices to the psychological treatment of healthcare workers, and has produced multimedia continuing education for therapists working with this very special population. Vanessa founded Congruence Coaching & Consultation in 2021 to center her work on coaching and developing organizational leaders, who often serve as the most powerful levers of staff well-being and engagement. Her thousands of hours of expertise working to identify and center the humanity of patients and the healthcare workers who care for them serves as a powerful foundation for individuals and organizations ready to take the next step.