Maria Mercedes Avila, PhD, MSW

Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
UHC Campus RE4 477, 4318 Rehab
1 S. Prospect St.
Burlington, VT 05401
Phone: 802-656-8376
Secondary Phone: 802-999-4985
Email: [email protected]
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Last Updated: February 19, 2019

Maria Mercedes Avila

Leadership: LEND Director
Leadership Administrative Staff: Education/Social Work Faculty
Course Co-Coordinator
Primary Activity Coordinators: Person Centered Planning
Community Support
Cultural Diversity
Discipline Coordinators: Medicine
Social Work
Specialty Resource Contacts: Culturally Responsive Practice,
Workforce & Leadership Diversity
Discipline(s): Disability Studies
Education: Administration
Human Development/Child Development
Education/Special Education
Mental and Behavioral Health
Social Work
Family Member/Community Member
Family/Parent/Youth Advocacy
AUCD Council Membership: Council on Community Advocacy
National Training Directors' Council
Community Education Directors' Council
Multicultural Council
Research: youth behavioral health, cultural and linguistic competence, addressing and eliminating health disparities, social determinants of health, maternal and child health, developmental and related disabilities
Education: Ph.D. Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
C.G.S. Interdisciplinary Study of Disabilities, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
C.G.S. Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice, University of Colorado, CO
M.Ed. Educational Leadership/PreK-12 Administration, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
M.S.W. Social Work, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
B.A. English, Universidad del Salvador, Argentina

Service: Chair, Health Disparities and Cultural Competence Advisory Council, Vermont Department of Health's SBIRT Program
Co-Chair, AUCD Multicultural Council
Member, State Plan Steering Committee for Vermont's State Implementation Grant for Enhancing the System of Services for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs through Systems Integration
Member, UVM College of Medicine Dean's Advisory Committee on Diversity & Inclusion (DACDI)
Member, Vermont Governor's Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs
Member, Vermont Governor's Workforce Equity and Diversity Council
Member, Vermont Office of Minority Health Advisory Council
Member, UVM President's Commission on Inclusive Excellence
Member, Vermont Department of Health State Health Assessment and Health Improvement Plan Steering Committee


Dr. Avila is Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics where she has been involved in numerous SAMHSA and HRSA federal programs. She provides consultation on Cultural and Linguistic Competence to several Departments of Health and Mental Health, and has trained more than 7500 providers in 80 organizations and across 20 states (including 20+ network Centers). She is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences where she teaches Racism and Health Disparities in the U.S. courses.

Since 2011, Dr. Avila has been invited to lead 28 national presentations and 100+ regional sessions on topics related to National CLAS Standards, health disparities, social justice in health care, culturally responsive care and practice, and cultural competence in advocacy and leadership.

Dr. Avila received the 2014 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, and the 2015 Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award. Most recently, she was recognized with the 2016 ALANA Outstanding Faculty Award, the 2016 Child Mind Institute National Change Maker Local Hero Award, the 2016 AUCD National Multicultural Council Award for Leadership in Diversity, and the 2017 Outstanding Faculty Woman Award.