Deborah Martinez

Public Health New Mexico Reporter


Deborah's love for radio began right here at KUNM while working on her BA (1983), she hosted the KUNM Evening News with Jim Shields.  In the years since, she has honed her skills in large market radio and television newsrooms across the US.


Deborah has earned four Associated Press awards in Florida, California and two here at KUNM for Best Broadcast and (2d Place) Breaking News.  She has also hosted All Things Considered and Morning Edition.


Long-time listeners are familiar with Deborah's reports on the New Mexico State Legislature, as well as features and series work on issues affecting Northern New Mexicans, including stories on the environment, education,  poverty and drug epidemics.  Deborah is proud to be on the Poverty and Public Health Team, telling the stories of the people affected by these topics.  



Public Health New Mexico
1:59 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

KUNM Earns Two NMBA Awards For Excellence

Plaques presented to Deborah Martinez and KUNM by NMBA
Credit Deborah Martinez

KUNM's Public Health Reporter Deborah Martinez took first place in two news categories for large market radio stations at the annual New Mexico Broadcasters Association awards banquet last night in Albuquerque.

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Public Health New Mexico
11:43 am
Wed June 4, 2014

State To Pay, Certify Promotoras

Promotora Beronice Archuleta takes Bonnie Jo Skinner's blood pressure.
Credit Deborah Martinez

new law aimed at paying community health workers will kick in this summer. These women and men provide health and social services to their neighbors and act as a vital link between time-strapped doctors and their patients.  Health promoters – or promotoras – are helping homebound New Mexicans get the healthcare they need.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:35 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

NM Seniors Not Hungry For Food Assistance

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Thirteen percent of seniors in New Mexico are under threat of not getting enough eat, according to an analysis of the most recent data by the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger.

But a lot of eligible seniors here are not signing up for food assistance, and that could mean $30 million worth of benefits are going unclaimed.

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KUNM Call In Show
6:54 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Will NM's Medical Marijuana Program Be Snuffed Out?

Credit Rusty Blazenhoff via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 5/22 8a:  New Mexico’s Department of Health has announced proposed rule changes to the state's medical marijuana program. The changes include increased fees for patients and for growers.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:03 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

APD's Mental Health Quandry

Credit Wikimedia Commons

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 4/17 8a:  The Albuquerque Police Department recently made national headlines for the shooting of a man in the Sandia foothills who was mentally ill.

How can Albuquerque police learn to interact with people with mental illness more effectively? What improvements does the U.S. Department of Justice say they need to make?

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Public Health New Mexico
4:13 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Is Illegal Sewage Dumping Contaminating New Mexico's Drinking Water?

Editor's Note: This story has been taken down as it contained text from a Farmington Daily Times article on the same topic without proper attribution. We strive for proper attribution in our reporting and will post the KUNM News Reporting Guide when it is completed which will include details on our newsroom ethics and practices. Questions? Please contact News Director Elaine Baumgartel -

Public Health New Mexico
10:11 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

New ACA Numbers Show Surge In Enrollment

Credit Deborah Martinez


The New Mexico Health Exchange reports that a total of 51,400 people have signed up for insurance coverage, either under the Affordable Care Act or directly through health insurance companies as of March 31.

The numbers seem large because unlike past reports, this one includes insurance exchange (or marketplace) shoppers and individuals and groups purchasing plans that are separate from the ACA.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:18 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

APD Chief Statement On Crisis Officer Contradicted

APD officers talk with James Boyd before firing on him
Credit Still from APD video footage March 16, 2014

Contrary to initial reports from the Albuquerque Police Department, no Crisis Intervention Team officers trained to de-escalate situations involving people with behavioral health issues were called to the scene of a Sandia foothills standoff that ended in the death of a camper last month at the hands of police.  

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Public Health New Mexico
3:16 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Hundreds Head To Santa Fe Health Care Event Ahead Of Deadline

Young Invincibles and older adults and families wait to sign up for healthcare in Santa Fe
Deborah Martinez

Midnight Monday is the deadline to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act.  Over the weekend in New Mexico people lined up to get covered, either through the insurance marketplace or Medicaid.  

From those in their 60s to young people under 26 covered under their parents’ plan, hundreds stood in the bright spring sunshine sign up under Medicaid, or with one of four insurance plans.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:47 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

AZ Firm Cuts Pay For NM Behavioral Health Workers

Credit Agave Health logo

One of the five Arizona companies that took over operations from New Mexico behavioral health providers last year is announcing salary reductions.  The company says it had to cut pay because it was losing money.

Agave is a non-profit corporation formed in New Mexico by Southwest Behavioral Health of Arizona.  Rather than imposing layoffs, CEO and President Jeff Jorde said the firm needs to cut salaries for its 350 employees by five percent, beginning next week. 

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5:00 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Parents of People With Mental Health Issues Fear Calling 9-1-1

Credit peddhapati via Compfight CC

  In the wake of two shooting deaths by the Albuquerque Police Department  in two weeks, more families of people living with behavioral health issues are calling for reform of the department’s practices.  But despite recommendations years ago to train all staff on how to deal with people living with mental illness, just a fraction of the workforce has the special training.

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Public Health New Mexico
10:04 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Homeless Group Calls for Homes, Not Handcuffs

Credit Victor Cassale via Flickr CC

  UPDATE: March 26, 2014—Hundreds marched Downtown last night to protest the Albuquerque Police Department's killing of a foothills camper on March 16. As the demonstration wound down, APD opened fire on a man on the Westside, who police say, fired shots at them first. The suspect died at the hospital.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:31 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Was Crisis Officer Present When APD Shot Foothills Camper?

APD canine attacks James Boyd after police shot him
Credit A still from APD video released March 21, 2014

When police interact with people facing mental health issues, they send an officer trained in crisis intervention to defuse a volatile situation.  Those officers are key in preventing the kind of violence that ended in the death of a camper in the Sandia foothills last week.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:42 am
Sat March 22, 2014

State: Feds Wrong About Decline In Behavioral Health Services

Credit David Niblack,

New Mexico’s Human Services Department says more consumers, not fewer, are receiving services since the takeover last summer of a dozen behavioral health providers accused of fraud. HSD’s response is contrary to the results of a progress report by a federal oversight agency.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:31 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Water Fluoridation: Poison Or Positive Public Health Initiative?

Credit Steve A. Johnson via flickr

KUNM Call-In Show Thu. 3/20 8a:  The US has been adding fluoride to water supplies for almost 70 years, and no conclusive evidence links its use to poor public health.  But in many communities, including Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the topic is highly controversial.   This week on the KUNM Call-In Show, we'll talk with advocates on both sides of the issue in advance of an April 9 town hall in Albuquerque.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:15 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Insurers Vie For Low-Income Patient Data

Residents of Taos sign up for the Affordable Care Act in December
Credit Deborah Martinez

As the March 31st deadline looms for signing up for individual insurance under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies tried to obtain personal information in order to contact potential customers who were previously covered by a state plan.  But state officials would not release the information.

New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange officials say they will market Obamacare to the low-income group themselves, rather than provide personal information to the four big insurance companies. 

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Public Health New Mexico
3:27 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Funding For Developmental Disability Services Still Stalled

The Tatzes play with golden retriever Jelly Bean
Deborah Martinez

Thousands of people with developmental disabilities in New Mexico have been waiting to receive the full spectrum of services available through a government program, some for more than 10 years.  The Tatz family is inching towards that benchmark, as they and their kids grow older.   

“I had back surgery," Lesly Tatz announced. Lesly's mom, Jill Tatz, explained, "She has had medical issues, and had open heart surgery at 18 months.” Her daughter has had numerous surgeries.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:44 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Preschool Obesity Rates Drop Nationally

Children play after a healthy meal at Serendipity Day School in Albuquerque
Credit Rita Daniels

Young children are beginning to show signs of lower obesity rates – 43 percent over ten years, according to a new Centers for Disease Control Study.  

The study doesn’t break down the decline state by state, but the news doesn’t surprise Judy Baron.  She’s a co-director of the Serendipity Day School for 2 to 4 year-olds in Albuquerque.

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Public Health New Mexico
7:33 am
Thu February 20, 2014

What Is Public Health?

The 10 essential public health services.
Credit / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/20 8a:  What is public health?  Maybe the term makes you think of vaccinations or controlling and preventing diseases like diabetes and influenza.  But the field is much larger than that.  

Call 277-5866 in Albuquerque or toll-free 1-877-899-5866.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:30 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Bill Would Expand PE To Include JROTC, Other Activities

Credit Albuquerque Public Schools

UPDATE Wednesday, Feb. 19, 10:59 p.m.: SB 122 passed the House and Senate.

Think physical education means just basketball or track?  Not necessarily, if lawmakers decide to change high school graduation rules and allow school districts to choose other activities to meet the PE requirement. That proposal received a unanimous “high five” from the Senate earlier this week.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:42 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Lawmakers Advance Ban On E-Cigarette Sales To Minors

  UPDATE Feb. 19, 2014, 10:10 a.m.: This measure was approved by the House and is awaiting a vote in the Senate.

  State lawmakers advanced a bill Thursday evening that would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.  

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KUNM Call In Show
11:33 am
Fri January 31, 2014

2014 Legislature: So Little Time, So Many Public Health Bills

Credit puroticorico via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show Thu.

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KUNM Call In Show
4:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Why Aren't More New Mexicans Enrolled In Medicaid?

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 1/23 8a: Medicaid Expansion is underway in New Mexico.  We'll talk with several people directly involved in enrolling and outreach, working to get more people covered.  Are you wanting to enroll but haven't, or are you concerned about the number of uninsured New Mexicans? 

We'd like to hear from you! Email, post your comments online, or call in live during the show.  


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Public Health New Mexico
6:10 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

OptumHealth: Martinez Administration Knew Of Potential Fraud In 2009

Elizabeth Martin (R) addresses Legislative Finance Committee members on Jan. 20, 2014. LFC staff Pam Galbraith sits to her right.
Credit Deborah Martinez

A company that oversaw $135 million worth of Medicaid services in New Mexico told a legislative committee Monday that it had been sounding alarms long before payments were frozen to 15 behavioral health providers after an audit last year; however, lawmakers  pointed out that doesn’t square with OptumHealth’s own consistently high audit scores for those firms.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:42 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Most NM Enrollees Eligible For Health Insurance Discounts

New Mexicans sign up for Obamacare at an event in Taos
Credit Deborah Martinez

Almost 75 percent of the nearly 8,000 New Mexicans who have enrolled in insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act are eligible for discounts, according to numbers released by the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange Wednesday.  Officials are attributing the spike in the number of enrollees to the state’s multi-pronged advertising campaign.

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Public Health New Mexico
11:54 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Free App Enrolls New Mexicans in Obamacare

Credit Cheon Fong Liew via Compfight cc

Medical residents at UNM created a free app to help New Mexicans get hooked into health care.

The app, called Get Covered New Mexico, can aid folks in calculating what they're eligible for. It links directly to websites people can use to apply for Medicaid and the health care exchange. It also points the way to the nearest physical location to apply for services in-person.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:38 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Should NM Legislature Tax, Regulate E-Cigarettes?

Various e-cigarettes
Credit Wikipedia

E-cigarettes – those pen-like nicotine dispensers people inhale without the smoke – are posing challenges for governments trying to reduce the number of people who take up smoking.  Today a Legislative panel that oversees spending of a tobacco-settlement fund discussed whether to regulate e-cigarettes in the same way as the traditional kind.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:00 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Vaccinations Survey Reveals Personal Reasons For Exemptions

Credit Univ. of Melbourne - public domain

Most parents asking for an exemption to mandatory vaccinations in New Mexico schools were anglo, according to a survey done by the state Department of Health. 

The survey reveals details behind the exemptions. 

Most New Mexico parents cited religious beliefs in order to get an exemption for a child, believing it’s better to develop immunity to diseases naturally by contracting the illness. 

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Public Health New Mexico
4:40 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Judge To Hear Behavioral Health Audit Lawsuits This Week

Public Consulting Group's audit was heavily redacted before release
Credit audit screen shot

The audit that led the Martinez administration to freeze Medicaid funding for more than a dozen behavioral health non-profits in New Mexico is at the center of a hearing Tuesday in Santa Fe.  

The Foundation for Open Government sued state government after state officials released a heavily redacted audit to media.  FOG attorneys claim the report is “too important to the citizens of New Mexico to be kept form public view.”  The open government group asked in its lawsuit for for the audit to be released in its entirety.

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Public Health New Mexico
11:20 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Whooping Cough Cases Prompt Officials To Push Vaccinations

Credit Centers for Disease Control

State health officials are urging parents to get their teenagers immunized in the wake of a whooping cough outbreak at a northeast Albuquerque high school.

Even if teens had the pertussis vaccination early on, they need to get boosters to prevent infection and transmission of the highly contagious illness.

Dr. Chad Smelser is an epidemiologist with the New Mexico Department of Health. He said teens need the booster because, over time, immunity fades.

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