Dr Cecilia Landa-Avila

PhD Health Systems Design, Loughborough University
MSc Ergonomics In Design, University of Guadalajara
BA Industrial Design, University of Guadalajara

Pronouns: She/her
  • Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Systemic Design
  • Co-Director Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity

Cecilia Landa-Avila is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Systemic Design. Her research focuses on addressing global societal challenges with a Systems Thinking approach, primarily those related to the context of systemic inequalities in health and care. Central to her practice is fostering share-power ecosystems that allow multiple actors to embrace plural worldviews, recognise tensions and navigate value conflicts to drive systemic change.

Her academic background includes Industrial Design and an MSc in Ergonomics in Design at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico, followed by a PhD in Health Systems Design at Loughborough University. Her work experience spans industry and government as a User Experience Researcher and Designer for Public Social Services.

In her role as a researcher, Cecilia has been involved in impactful projects such as DECODE (NIHR), IMMUNE (UKRI/AHRC), and Powering Productivity (UKRI/ESRC), where she focused on bringing systems-oriented approaches to understand and improve healthcare and wellbeing systems.

Additionally, Cecilia holds external positions, including being an International Advisory Council member of the Design Research Society (DRS), co-founder and academic lead for RELAESA (Latin American Network of Ergonomics), and the EDI Co-Director at the School of Design and Creative Arts.

Cecilia's research delves into health, care, and wellbeing through a systems-oriented lens. Her doctoral research focused on investigating healthcare outcomes to facilitate negotiations among stakeholders. She developed a dialogical mapping method to address conflicts and values, integrating network analysis to identify leverage points for mobilising healthcare systems.

Her more recent contribution as a postdoctoral researcher was in the DECODE project and NIHR-funded research that explores how AI-generated knowledge of multiple long-term conditions can improve the care coordination and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities.

She is also leading new research on “Systemic Citizens”, which explores how collective agency and relational autonomy can be creatively and fairly embedded in transformative change.
Research projects Cecilia has been involved in include:

  • IMMUNE – COVID-passport service design (AHRC)
  • Health Systems in Latin America (in collaboration with Dr Carlos Aceves-Gonzalez, University of Guadalajara)
  • Paz Alto Cauca (ESRC/Colciencias)
  • Powering Productivity (ESRC)

Cecilia teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in modules such as Experience Design and Service Design and has supervised Master's research studies.

She is also dedicated to developing curricula in Systemic Design, Social Justice and Ergonomics for Healthcare Professionals.

Cecilia is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and holds Post Graduate Studies in Pedagogical Skill for Higher Education.

Cecilia collaborates with different partners and projects:

  • RELAESA. She is a co-founder and the academic lead of a Latin American network of Ergonomics and Human Factors (EHF) in Healthcare Systems. As part of this role, she focuses on fostering collaboration among academics and healthcare practitioners to improve health systems in the region. Currently, she is collaborating with the HFE Hub (Loughborough University) to adapt the Healthcare Learning Pathway to Latin America.

  •  Design Research Society (DRS). She was elected a member of the International Advisory Council (IAC) for the 2022-2028 period. IAC members help develop policy, work on specific projects, and contribute her expertise to the global discourse on design research. She is part of the EDI working group and has chaired the PhD event and tracks on Systemic Design (Bilbao2022 and Boston2024).
  • Systemic Design Association. She has co-chaired one of the Hubs of the 12th conference, “Relating Systems Thinking and Design Conference”, focusing on “Synergies between sciences”.

  • Global Health/DILA. She has co-edited a “Little Book” of Design for Health in Latin America, which gathers design case studies to disseminate the value of design for improving health systems.

Cecilia also serves on Scientific Boards and Reviews for design and human factors journals and conferences such as Ergonomics, Health Systems, Design Science, Ergonomics Research and Development, Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD), Design Research Society (DRS), International Ergonomics Association (IEA) and Healthcare Systems Ergonomics and Patient Safety (HEPS).

Cecilia brings together a blend of expertise in systems thinking, participatory design, healthcare systems, and ergonomics, enabling her to support and collaborate with Doctoral Researchers across diverse areas.

Currently, Cecilia is seeking to supervise students in the following areas:

  • Rethinking Health and Social Care Systems, especially on systemic inequalities.

  • Participatory Systems Approach, especially those looking at power asymmetries and creative civic engagement.

  • Values conflict in super-diverse environments for Systemic Transformation.

  • Visual and creative mapping of complex systems and map-facilitated methods.

  • Theories of change in the context of learning systems.