Maria Avila, a part-time adjunct professor, joined the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s College in September of 2008. She attended Mount St. Mary’s College for her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Minor in Leadership, attended Pepperdine University for her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and attended the California School of Professional Psychology, now known as Alliant International University, for her doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology.
Dr. Avila has taught graduate-level courses for the Psychology department in basic counseling skills as well as courses that focus on cultural issues in the mental health treatment of Latino families.
In addition to working at Mount St. Mary’s College, Dr. Avila is the Social Services Coordinator of the Early Head Start program at the Hope Street Family Center. The program is based on the hospital campus of the California Hospital Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles. Dr. Avila works within a multi-disciplinary team to access, coordinate, and provide families with appropriate services. She also provides clinical and administrative support and provides reflective supervision to Early Head Start professional case managers, as well as providing assessment, crisis intervention and ongoing therapy for families and children. She also coordinates, mentors and works along with the parents of the various programs that participate in the Parent Policy Council of the Early Head Start program at the Hope Street Family Center. Dr. Avila also serves as a consultant for children and adolescent services to the emergency department of the hospital.
Dr. Avila is a licensed psychologist whose clinical background includes over fifteen years of provision of outpatient mental health counseling to Latino children and their families who have experienced domestic violence and abuse. Prior to working at the Hope Street Family Center, Dr. Avila worked at the Child and Family Guidance Center-Family Stress Center in North Hills, California. This included provision of child and adult therapy, conducting intakes and assessing for trauma of child abuse. She also worked in the Crisis program which included working with children who had been recently discharged from the hospital and stabilizing them back into their home, school and community settings. She also conducted several groups that focused on such issues as domestic violence and bereavement. She has also had experience in providing parent education classes to Spanish-speaking families and she has also provided outreach therapeutic services within the pubic school setting.
Dr. Avila has also attended numerous trainings related to domestic violence, trauma and bereavement and has had extensive clinical experience in working in trauma-based services for children who have experienced abuse.
She is fluent in Spanish and demonstrates an awareness of cultural issues in her clinical work. Her doctoral project also focused on the attitude and beliefs of Latinas who sought out mental health services and the impact it had in their pursuit of such services.
Dr. Avila holds a strong belief in nourishing the child and stabilizing the family which, in turn, provides for strong capable future leaders serving the community. She also enjoys nurturing and mentoring the graduate students so that they can also become successful clinicians working with families in the Los Angeles community.
When not working, Dr. Avila believes in spending time with family and friends and exercising.