Maria Mercedes Avila, Ph.D.


Program Director

Ph.D. Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Vermont
Pre-doctoral Fellowship Interdisciplinary Leadership Education for Health Professionals, University of Vermont, Department of Pediatrics
C.G.S. Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice, University of Colorado
C.G.S. Interdisciplinary Study of Disabilities, University of Vermont
M.Ed. Educational Leadership, University of Vermont



Dr. Avila is Professor in the Department of Pediatrics where she has been involved in numerous SAMHSA, HRSA, and MCH federal programs. Dr. Avila provides consultation on Cultural and Linguistic Competency to several Department of Health and Mental Health grants, and has trained more than 1500 providers in the state. She is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences where she teaches D1: Racism and Health Disparities in the U.S. courses.

She is a member of the Vermont Governor’s Council for Families and Children’s Prevention Programs, the Vermont Governor’s Workforce Equity and Diversity Council, and co-chair of the National Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Multicultural Council. Dr. Avila's recent publications include a journal article titled “Addressing Health Disparities through Cultural and Linguistic Competency Training” and a book chapter “Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Medical and Mental Health Education”.

In 2014, Dr. Avila received the Edith D. Hendley award recognizing a woman who has demonstrated excellence in research, scholarship and teaching, and who has performed dedicated service to women and the community. She was furthermore nominated for the 2014 AUCD National Multicultural Council Award for Leadership in Diversity. In 2015, Dr. Avila received the Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award recognizing faculty for excellent instruction, capacity to engage students in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding, innovation in teaching methods and curriculum development, demonstrated commitment to cultural diversity, and ability to motivate and challenge students.