Dr. Larissa Avilés-Santa
Director of Clinical and Health Services Research
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Dr. Larissa Avilés-Santa is the director of Clinical and Health Services Research (CHSR) at NIMHD. In her current role, she works with the CHSR team on fostering research aimed at improving health outcomes of health disparities populations. This may be accomplished through research designed to understand most effective preventive and clinical care practices within healthcare settings, while also informing population health, health policy and public policy experts.
Prior to joining NIMHD, she worked at the NHLBI as the project director for the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos since it began on October 1, 2006. In addition, Dr. Avilés-Santa has participated in multiple NIH-wide committees and working groups addressing minority health, diabetes mellitus and its complications, women’s health, and vascular dementia. In 2015, she founded the NIH Hispanic Health Research Scientific Interest Group. In 2017, Dr. Avilés-Santa was the field coordinator of the post-disaster recovery of the health and social services of the entire country of Puerto Rico during the first six and a half months of work coordinated by the HHS ASPR, Recovery Division, impacting 3.4 million human lives.
Dr. Avilés-Santa earned her medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, and completed a residency in internal medicine at the University Hospital in San Juan and a fellowship in endocrinology at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center. As a faculty member of the Endocrine Division at UT Southwestern she worked in clinical research, teaching, and direct patient care. She also earned a Master’s degree at the UT School of Public Health.