Who We Are

Center for Participatory Research

MSC09 5060
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Medical Arts Building II
Rooms 201-205

Phone: (505) 925-0715
Fax: (505) 272-4494

Magdalena Avila, Ph.D.


Phone: 505.277.8175

Physical Address

717 Encino Place NE, Suite 9
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Building #044A on the UNM map

Mailing Address

MSC07 4255
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1070

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Associate Professor


Associate Professor

Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Science (UNM)


Magdalena is currently an Associate Professor in Health Education, the Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Science at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Avila received her academic training and degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She has always worked with communities of color in developing sustainable strategies for effective and long-term interventions. Dr. Avila’s expertise is in Community Health and Community Based Participatory Research, as an orientation for working and partnering with Latino and other Indigenous communities of color. She brings extensive expertise in environmental social justice research, she was an active research partner in the South Valley Partners for Environmental Justice, a collaborative research grant funded by NIEHS for ten years to study environmental health problems impacting a predominantly Latino community. She is also a recognized expert working with Health Impact Assessments (HIA's) and urban /rural communities in addressing community health. Dr. Avila works directly with communities to partner in ways to increase the understanding of HIA's and their effectiveness as a tool to better understand and respond to potential policy impacts. Dr. Avila currently sits on the Bernalillo County Place Matters-Comprehensive Area Plan HIA Advisory Council; the New Mexico Voices for Children Food Tax HIA Advisory Council, she is also working with several Pueblo based HIA projects to address how HIA's can also be used in Pueblo/Tribal based settings. Dr. Avila has also partnered with the School of Architecture and Planning, Urban Design (M. Gonzales) in designing a successful Field School curriculum to build community capacity in linking community planning and develop and urban design with HIA's in New Mexican Communities. Magdalena continues to be involved in developing HIA partnerships with several northern New Mexican Communities to use HIA's to more effectively plan and integrate historical preservation in ways that better sustain community-based sovereignty, legacies and policy developments that sustain community well-being using more culturally aligned approaches. In Albuquerque she has worked with the Mt. View Community and the International District in their HIA community engagement process. Dr. Avila was a featured plenary speaker on Advancing Equity in HIA practice in the June 2015 National Health Impact Assessment Meeting in Washington, D.C.. This is a bi-annual meeting that provides a forum to bring together experts and communities across the country for exploring and strengthening HIA and health in all policies approaches.