Dr. Pavilanis trained in medicine at McGill University. He received certification from the College of Family Physicians of Canada in 1979 and fellowship in 1992. He received a Diploma in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from McGill in 1991. He practised rural family medicine in Quebec's Eastern Townships from 1975 to 1982, was director of the Adolescent and Youth Medicine Service at the Montreal Children's Hospital from 1982 to 1989 and an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Montreal from 1989 to 1999. He is presently an associate professor of family medicine at McGill University and St. Mary's Hospital. He has been involved in a wide variety of initiatives, including being President of the College of Family Physicians of Canada in 2004-2005.