Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila

Director, Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program


Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila joined the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) as a public member in 2021. She holds an appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. She is the Director of the Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (VT LEND) Program, an interprofessional maternal and child health leadership training program. She is a member of the Vermont Governor’s Racial Equity Task Force, the Vermont Governor’s Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs, and the Vermont Green Mountain Care Board nominating committee.

Dr. Avila has been involved in more than twenty HRSA, PCORI, SAMHSA, ACL, and OMH grants. Since 2011, she has been invited to lead 58 national presentations and keynotes and more than 150 regional sessions on topics related to National CLAS Standards, health disparities research, social justice in health care, culturally responsive care and practice, social determinants of health, and structural competence and cultural humility. Dr. Avila holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Master’s degrees in Educational Leadership and in Social Work, and Graduate Certificates in Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice and in Interdisciplinary Study of Disabilities. Dr. Avila recently completed a Harvard Medical School Program in Refugee Trauma Mastery Certificate in Global Mental Health. Dr. Avila is mother to a son on the autism spectrum.