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Carlos Avila, Ph.D.

Principal Associate, International Health

Carlos Avila, Ph.D. Carlos Avila, Ph.D.
Carlos Avila, an expert in international health financing and HIV/AIDS, is a senior health economist at Abt Associates. His responsibilities include overseeing health financing activities, providing strategic technical assistance, designing and implementing health insurance programs, and other strategies to expand financial access to health care and to facilitate policy discussion and consensus building with key stakeholders.

Avila has provided technical assistance in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Before joining Abt, he held key positions within the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Ministry of Health of Mexico. He led the UNAIDS Financing and Economics Division and later directed its Strategic Intelligence Unit, where he created alliances and networks of practitioners within and across countries in order to conduct economic analyses related to AIDS investments.

At Mexico’s Ministry of Health, he was part of a team that designed and launched Seguro Popular, the country’s insurance program for low-income populations. Some 5 million families enrolled in the program within a two-year period. As Director of Planning and Development at the ministry, he launched and oversaw a sector-wide strategy to strengthen the national health system.

Previously, he worked for the Health Care Financing Program at Harvard University as senior consultant for health sector reform in Colombia.

Avila is a medical doctor and infectious disease specialist with more than 15 years of clinical practice. He is the author of numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals on topics ranging from clinical medicine, cost-effectiveness analysis, HIV and AIDS financing and program effectiveness.

He holds a Ph.D. in International Health and a Master’s of Science, both from Harvard University.  He was a Takemi Fellow in International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and earned his M.D. at the National University of Mexico. 
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  • International health financing
  • Health insurance programs
  • Health Systems Strengthening
  • Health economic modeling
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis 

Key Projects

  • Health Finance & Governance Project-India
  • Health Finance & Governance Project-Botswana


  • Avila C, Connor C, Stewart SR, Cogswell H, Husain I, Wong W, Nakhimovsky S and Amico P. Closing health financing gaps in sub Saharan Africa: projecting domestic resources for health based on economic growth and the Abuja commitment. (Submitted). Health Finance and Governance. 2013.
  • Nakhimovsky S. Zelelew H, Cogswell H, Langenbrunner J and Avila C. February 2014. Report on Domestic Innovative Financing for Health: Learning from International Theory and Country Experience. Bethesda, MD: Health Finance & Governance Project, Abt Associates Inc.
  • Katz I, Routh S, Bitran R, Hulme A, Avila C. Where will the money come from?: assessing alternatives to HIV donor funding BMC Public Health 2014.
  • Paliwal A, Luoma M and Avila C. July 2014. Strengthening India’s Public Health Workforce: A Landscape Analysis of Initiatives and Challenges. Bethesda, MD: Health Finance & Governance Project, Abt Associates Inc.
  • Zeng W, Rwiyereka AK, Amico PR, Avila C, Shepard DS. Efficiency of HIV/AIDS Health Centers and Effect of Community-Based Health Insurance and Performance-Based Financing on HIV/AIDS Service Delivery in Rwanda. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 2014. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.12-0697
  • Olufunke F, Avila C, Erik Schouten, Frank Chimbwandira, Nathan Shaffer, David Hoos. Paul De Lay. Cost-effectiveness analysis of option B+ for the HIV prevention and treatment of mothers and children in Malawi. Plos One March 12, 2013. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057778.
  • Gap analysis and Financial Requirements to Eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases in Low- and middle-income countries. November 2012. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Bethesda, MD, Abt Associates Inc.
  • UNAIDS. The user guide for the HIV-related Human Rights Costing Tool: costing programmes to reduce stigma and discrimination, and increase access to justice in the context of HI V. UNAIDS GUIDELINES | 2012.