Luzita Vela

Assistant Professor of Education


  • Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2005
  • M.S., Barry University, 2000
  • B.S., Texas Woman's University, 1998

Luzita is a faculty member and Clinical Education Coordinator in the University of Virginia’s professional athletic training program. Prior to the University of Virginia, Luzita was a faculty member in the CAATE accredited athletic training program at the University of Texas Arlington where she coordinated the Standardized Patient Lab and facilitated interprofessional education activities. She also worked at Texas State University where she served as the Clinical Education Coordinator for 6 years and also served as the Coordinator of the Post-Professional Athletic Training Program and Pre-Rehabilitation Sciences program for 2 years. Luzita has also worked clinically as an athletic trainer in her jobs at both West Chester University (field hockey and women’s lacrosse) and Hope College (variety of sports).

Luzita is an active member in the profession. She serves as the Chair of the CAATE Standard Committee and on the editorial board of Athletic Training and Sports Health Care. She also reviews manuscripts for the Journal of Athletic Training, Journal of Sports Rehabilitation and Athletic Training Education Journal.  She served on the Professional Education Council and helped to develop the 5th edition of the NATA Education Competencies. She also served on the NATA Ethnic Diversity Advisory Committee (EDAC) and chaired the Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association’s EDAC. Luzita’s research interests include evidence based practice, disablement, clinical outcomes assessment and understanding clinical reasoning of novice clinicians.

Athletic Training Program Statement

I am so excited to be a faculty member in the Athletic Training Program at the University of Virginia. The program has so many progressive and novel opportunities available for students interested in being athletic trainers in a future healthcare environment. The academic preparation is top-notch and integrates the most recent evidence into the learning environment. There are so many clinical opportunities available within the University of Virginia Health System as well as within in the Central Virginia area. However, our program is also crafted so that students can take advantage of clinical opportunities anywhere in the United States.

My academic endeavors in scholarship, teaching and service are all founded upon a strong belief in patient-centered strategies that focus on timely clinical decision making. In particular, my teaching practices are influenced by my varied clinical experiences as an athletic trainer as well as my research interests in evidence-based practice. I not only want students to learn but I also want them to be reflective learners. I believe that engaging students in the learning process, making them accountable for learning, and fostering a relationship in which I can serve as an active mentor are all educational practices that produce mature clinical athletic trainers.