KUNM

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

Terry Trujillo’s family has been facing an ordeal that would be familiar to a surprising number of Americans. Holding back tears, she remembers the moment she had to explain to her adopted nephew that his severe learning disabilities, memory problems and behavior issues were the result of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

“The little boy would say ‘Well what’s that, what do you mean?’ And it’s hard to sit there and tell a child it means that your mother drank alcohol while you were in her stomach, and to see their face. Because they know it’s wrong,” Trujillo said.

Microbe World via Flickr

The New Mexico Health Department is screening babies for tuberculosis in Doña Ana County this week. 

Health Department officials in Texas and New Mexico say as many as 750 newborns might have been exposed to tuberculosis at Providence Memorial Hospital’s nursery unit in El Paso. Over 50 of those babies are thought to live in southern New Mexico.

US Census Bureau

New Mexico had the country’s second-highest poverty rate in 2013, according to a report released today by the United States Census Bureau. The bad numbers for our state come as poverty rates are falling in the country as a whole.

 

Poverty in New Mexico increased more than a full percentage point between 2012 and 2013, with nearly 22 percent of residents here earning less than the federal poverty wage during that period.

 

Capt Piper via Flicker

Bernalillo County Commissioners voted 3-2 today to include two questions on the November ballot. One will ask whether voters support decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. The other will ask whether voters support a tax increase to fund mental health services. The non-binding measures passed on a party line vote.

Commissioners voting in support of including the mental health question on the ballot said a current lack of behavioral health services in New Mexico is a growing problem for the state.

J McKenna Photography via Flickr

New Mexico has led the nation in drug overdose deaths for the past few decades. With rates around twice the national average, overdoses here account for more deaths than car accidents. But the state health department announced some good news this week: New Mexico’s overdose rate has dropped to the lowest level since 2009.

Overdoses in New Mexico fell 16 percent between 2011-2013. That’s the first time in over 20 years that overdoses have fallen two years in a row.

Rita Daniels

    

Kirtland Air Force Base will not submit a plan to pump and treat contaminated groundwater at the end of this month as expected.

Officials from Kirtland and the state say they still need more information before moving forward on the cleanup of an underground fuel spill that has contaminated Albuquerque’s aquifer.

Ed Williams-KUNM

    

(Click here to access the interactive map of vaccine rates)

Newly released figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show New Mexico ranks near the bottom for statewide child vaccination rates for hepatitis A

Ed Williams-KUNM

As Immigration lawyers prepare to battle the federal government over possible due process violations against immigrant women and children detained in Artesia, records obtained by KUNM raise another legal question about the facility—whether the detention center is in compliance with state child welfare laws.

World Bank Photo Collection via Flickr

New Mexico’s infant mortality rate fell 22 percent between 2012 and 2013, from 6.9 infant deaths per 1000 births to 5.4 in 2013, according to the state Department of Health

That might sound like a big drop, but that’s because the numbers for 2012 were abnormally high.

Ed Williams / KUNM

People from across New Mexico gathered at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia Sunday to protest the detention of hundreds of Central American migrants.

Women and children who’ve been detained by the federal government for entering the US illegally waved and cheered from behind a barbed wire fence as attorney María Andrade addressed a crowd of around three hundred marchers Sunday afternoon. She read from a letter her client had given her.

Homeless In New Mexico

Aug 13, 2014
cinocino via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 8/14 8a: The recent brutal murders of two Navajo men in Albuquerque have brought questions about homelessness in New Mexico into the national spotlight. We'll take a look at what policy and social changes are needed to improve the health and well-being of people without shelter.

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

Guests: 

Kate Ter Haar via flickr

    

Lawyers representing women being held in the Artesia immigrant detention center in southern New Mexico are claiming the Honduran consulate is encouraging immigrants to forego legal counsel and consent to deportation.  The claims follow concerns voiced by legal and health advocates over access to due process among the detainees.

World Bank Photo Collection via Flickr / Creative Commons License

There have been a number of reports that residents and officials are concerned that the surge of Central American immigrants who've crossed the U.S./Mexico border in recent weeks will have an impact on public health. A number of these immigrants are being held in a federal facility in Artesia in southern New Mexico. 

Jena g. . Einar E. Kvaran aka 98.20.23.52 23:59, 1 June 2009, via Wikimedia Commons

Some homeless advocates are voicing support for legislation that would classify violence against homeless people as a hate crime. Supporters of the idea say the issue has taken on new urgency following the recent brutal murders of Allison Gorman and Kee Thompson as they slept in a lot in Albuquerque.

The New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness is the latest group to come out in support of enhanced sentences for those who attack homeless people. Other supporters include Albuquerque City Councilor Rey Garduño and state Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto.

Steev Hise via Flickr

Some New Mexico immigration lawyers are speaking out in opposition to the Obama administration’s proposal to expedite deportation proceedings for Central American women and children, some of whom are being detained in Artesia in southern New Mexico.  

Ed Williams-KUNM

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People gathered at the Albuquerque Indian Center Friday morning to remember two homeless men who were beaten to death as they slept in a park last week.

Allison Gorman and Kee Thompson were both Native American, and their murders have drawn attention to ongoing violence against Native Americans in New Mexico.

Derek Bruff via flickr

Members of a legal working group who visited the federal immigrant detention center in Artesia  say some of the women and young children housed there are reporting a lack of access to medical care and legal counsel. Tannia Esparza, executive director of the advocacy group Young Women United, was a member of the group that visited the detention facility.

“At first glance the facility seems to be in working order,” Esparza said. “But the women told us the conditions are not adequate.”

Chelsea Stirlen via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Nurses and medical technicians at Santa Fe’s only general hospital are contemplating a strike after contract negotiations with hospital administrators stalled.

Workers overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer Sunday by Christus St. Vincent that contained nine percent pay raises over three years, saying the offer would leave the hospital understaffed.

KUNM Public Health Reporter Ed Williams spoke to Fonda Osborn, President of the Santa Fe branch of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, about the possible strike. 

Ed Williams

 

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 7/17 8a: The U.S. Supreme Court decided last month to strike down part of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for employer-provided contraception coverage.

@BeWellNM on Twitter

 

 

New Mexico is working to create its own online insurance exchange before the next open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act begins later this year. If the federal government doesn’t approve the state’s site, New Mexicans will be using the federal exchange for another year. 

Ed Williams

      

The crowds on the street corner outside Hobby Lobby were mostly civil, though emotions were running high. Several dozen men and women waved signs at oncoming traffic calling for a boycott of the craft store and decrying the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

One protester, Natalie Hrizi, was busy passing around a petition to have congress revisit the issue.

zacklur-Flickr

Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down part of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for employer-provided contraceptive coverage, is sparking both praise and condemnation here in New Mexico.

Local abortion rights groups are decrying the decision. Denicia Cadena is communications director at Young Women United, an advocacy group for women of color in New Mexico.

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