Associate Professor of Psychological Science and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry

From the Burlington Free Press:

Dr. Sondra Elice Solomon, Associate Professor of Psychological Science and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont, died peacefully at the Vermont Respite House on Sunday, September 13, 2015 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 66.

Born in Bronx, NY, the daughter of Eric Leander Solomon and the late Lilah Erina Sylvia Lockhart Solomon, Dr. Solomon was a compassionate and loving person who inspired colleagues, students and friends alike with her resilience, determination and grace. Her lifelong challenge with neurofibromatosis enhanced her commitment to and empathy with people coping with social stigmatization, marginalization, and other chronic and acute challenges, and informed her remarkable career, which spanned teaching, mentoring, research, community outreach, and spiritual development.

In addition to her appointments in the Departments of Psychological Science and Psychiatry, Dr. Solomon directed UVM's Fall Institute on Racism, Heterosexism, Bias and Oppression, chaired the Diversity Curriculum Review Committee, and was committed to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds. She was director of the Undergraduate Program in the Department of Psychological Science, as well as an affiliate faculty member of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies programs.

In 2006 Dr. Solomon co-founded the Person-Environment Zone Projects (PEZ). These projects bring together graduate and undergraduate students, research faculty, and staff members to foster an increased understanding of stigma, resilience, coping, healthy behaviors, prejudice, and discrimination. She was also Co-Principal Investigator of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded project Rural Ecology and Coping with HIV Stigma, focusing on how stigma associated with HIV disease affects people with HIV/AIDS in rural settings.

Dr. Solomon's commitment to the communities she cared so deeply for is also reflected in the work she did outside the university. She generously served as a Board Member of the Vermont People with AIDS Coalition (Montpelier, VT), Board President of the Behavior Therapy and Psychotherapy Center (Burlington, VT), and as the Vermont Chapter Chair of the Children's Tumor Foundation (New York, NY).

Dr. Solomon was also a Buddhist practitioner with a meditation practice spanning nearly four decades. She was a student of and meditation facilitator for Shinzen Young. Throughout her life, she embodied her practice, facing challenge with patience, grace, clarity and equanimity.

Dr. Solomon is survived by her father Eric of Riverdale, NY; her sister Fredericka Lucy Solomon of Shrewsbury, MA; and her nephew Davis Miller Woodruff of Bronx, NY. Her family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Vermont People with AIDS Coalition, Vermont Respite House, the Children's Tumor Foundation, or the charity of your choice.

UVM Student Remembers Late Professor