Ed Williams

Public Health New Mexico Reporter

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.

Ed Williams

KUNM Call In Show 5/5 8 a: New Mexico has one of the oldest and most vibrant farming traditions in the country. Centuries-old acequia watering systems and ancient farming techniques are still used to grow crops that feed people from Taos to Las Cruces. This week on the KUNM Call In Show, we’ll take a look at New Mexico’s farming culture, and how community farms are growing fruits and vegetables for people who don’t have access to healthy food. We want to hear from you!

Psychonaught / Public Domain license via Wikipedia

Bernalillo County Commissioners are declaring an emergency over the county’s high level of opioid overdoses. 

The measure to declare a public health emergency was co-sponsored by all five commissioners. Maggie Hart-Stebbins is commissioner for District 3.

“We have seen consistent, explosive growth in the number of individuals in Bernalillo County who are overdosing from opioids and heroin,” she said.

PerryPlanet / Wikimedia Commons, public domain license`

On Friday the U.S. Department of Justice released the findings of its investigation into how the University of New Mexico handles sexual assault and harassment.

Dystopos

Five health clinics housed in public schools are set to lose their state funding this summer. Now the state health department is trying to decide where they’ll send students who use the school-based health centers.

AllenS via Wikimedia / creative commons license

UNM Hospital and UnitedHealthcare are in negotiations over continuing coverage for the company’s Medicaid patients. The hospital and insurer haven’t come to an agreement yet and are extending their negotiations for 60 more days.

Gina McCaleb via Flickr


School-based health centers are clinics housed in public schools that offer primary care, counseling, family planning and other services and the New Mexico Department of Health is closing several of them in the Albuquerque area.

DOE Photo

The U.S. Department of Energy is hoping to send tons of weapons-grade plutonium waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, near Carlsbad.

Andrew McGill via Flickr / creative commons license

Bernalillo County is facing a $19 million dollar budget shortfall next year, and jobs and grants to nonprofits could take a hit.

Ed Williams

When an industrial business like a concrete plant or a hazardous waste processor sets up shop in a residential neighborhood, arguments for economic growth and public health often clash.

Those tensions are especially high in the neighborhood of Mountain View, south of Albuquerque, where dozens of polluting businesses border neighborhoods, community centers and schools.

Flu Season Lingers

Mar 29, 2016
Univ. of Melbourne - public domain

After getting off to a late start this year, flu season is dragging on in New Mexico. The state Department of Health is urging people to get vaccinated.

SkyTruth; Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Creative Commons

President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just announced a joint effort to cut down on methane leaks from oil and gas wells. The agreement was part of the Paris climate accord and will have impacts here in New Mexico.

Karen McCullough

In some parts of Bernalillo County’s South Valley, parks sit adjacent to idling trains, schools lie across the street from waste disposal businesses, and entire neighborhoods are bordered by polluting industries. People living there are what’s known as environmental justice communities—neighborhoods that bear a disproportionate burden of pollution.

Ed Williams

This week is Sunshine Week, when reporters and editors across the country celebrate government transparency and access to public information. 

KUNM has been using public documents to investigate a plume of poisonous chemicals that has been moving in the groundwater underneath two neighborhoods in Albuquerque for at least several decades.

Living With Alzheimer's

Mar 14, 2016
debowsciphoto / creative commons via pixabay


KUNM Call In Show Thu. 3/17 8a: There are 36,000 New Mexicans who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Often they're cared for by family members who sacrifice financially and emotionally to look after their loved ones. 

BRRT via Pixabay / public domain

KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project has been reporting on a plume of toxic chemicals in Albuquerque’s groundwater for over six months.

We obtained public documents from the New Mexico Environment Department that show the groundwater plume has been spreading underneath a mile-and-a-half-long swath of Albuquerque’s Sawmill and Wells Park neighborhoods. Our investigation shows the contamination has the potential to reach people on the surface and could pose a serious health risk to people living and working in the area.

Matthew D. Britt via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association says New Mexico is the state with the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in America.

Ed Williams

    

For many people who are homeless or who have behavioral health issues, the right medical care is too far out of reach. Often folks turn to emergency services for basic healthcare—which can be both expensive and ineffective.

Santa Fe is just one of a dozen cities across the U.S. to try out a new program that brings meaningful help to people who frequently call 911.

Ed Williams

Mountain View, a neighborhood in the Rio Grande Valley south of Albuquerque, is one of the most environmentally burdened communities in New Mexico. There are dozens of industrial facilities, and hardly any places for kids to play outside. With heavy traffic and no sidewalks, just walking home can be dangerous.

But some of that is changing, with the help of a new wildlife refuge.  

Darko Stojanovich via Pixabay / Creative Commons

Budget woes at the New Mexico Department of Health are forcing a public health office in Albuquerque to close. 

The Alamosa Public Health clinic in southwest Albuquerque provides immunizations, STD screening, family planning and other services. Clients seeking help there are often low-income or uninsured.

Ed Williams

Hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans don’t have enough food to eat. A lot of those people also have expensive medical conditions that can make buying food even harder.

A new program is trying to bridge that gap, by getting healthy food to people suffering from chronic health problems.

Diliff via Wikipedia / creative commons license

New Mexico’s Democratic congressional delegation is calling for a federal investigation into the shakeup of the state’s behavioral health system.

taberandrew via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Lawmakers voted Wednesday to study a plan that would make small dollar loans available to state employees. At 26 percent interest, the loans would offer options for low income borrowers who have traditionally turned to high interest storefront loans.

Andy Rudorfer via Flickr

A bill to toughen curfew rules for kids in New Mexico failed in the legislature Tuesday night. 

House Bill 29 would have let local governments set their own curfews for minors. It made it through the House of Representatives, but got derailed by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week when it failed on a 6-4 vote.

@BeWellNM on Twitter

The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange reported this week that a record 54,586 people signed up for insurance using the exchange during the Affordable Care Act’s most recent open enrollment period.

Ed Williams

Editor's Note: A spokeswoman for the New Mexico Environment Department emailed with concerns about this story. We reviewed them and found no inaccuracies. We stand by our reporting. You can find a link to her email and read our response here.

Decades ago, a chemical business called Laun-Dry Supply Company leaked poisonous dry cleaning solvents into Albuquerque’s groundwater.

In the years since, nobody has investigated possible health impacts to people living near the contamination.

But that changed this week. On Wednesday, the New Mexico Environment Department started the process of testing houses for chemicals from the Laun-Dry spill.

Emory Maiden via Flickr

Lawmakers considered proposals Monday that would use a small share of the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood education, and the measures ran into familiar roadblocks.

For the past five years, some democratic lawmakers have tried to tap into the state’s $14 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund to pay for early childhood education programs.

Ed Williams

Wednesday was Public Health Day in Santa Fe. Two dozen organizations that work on issues of health, poverty and research were at the state capital to press for funding during the legislative budget session. 

wsilver via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 01/28 8a:

  

Lawmakers in Santa Fe are considering a number of bills aimed at addressing child welfare this session. We're taking a look at what's going on in the Round​h​ouse, from ​strengthening ​child porn laws ​and ending​ childhood obesity to domestic violence.​

Ed Williams

Across the country, Native American tribes are regaining parts of their ancestral land. It’s part of a push by the Obama administration to return half a million acres of territory to tribes.

Isleta Pueblo’s territory just grew by 50 percent as part of that initiative, and leaders there are looking at new ways to use their land as an economic engine.

Ed Williams


The Secretary of the Interior met with leaders of Isleta Pueblo Friday to return nearly 90,000 acres of ancestral land to the tribe.

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