Marisa Demarco

Public Health New Mexico Reporter

Marisa Demarco is a reporter and musician based in Albuquerque, N.M. She's spent more than a decade in journalism, founding the New Mexico Compass, and editing and writing for the Weekly Alibi, the Albuquerque Tribune and UNM's Daily Lobo. She covers poverty and public health for KUNM. 

Ways to Connect

Arianna Sena / KUNM

KUNM Call In Show 5/26 8a: The results of a federal investigation about how UNM handles sexual assault are out, and the report is sharp and critical. We’ll talk to folks from the university as well as advocates for survivors about their reactions and what’s next for the university.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Hungry people in New Mexico may have been denied expedited food assistance after their applications were falsified and put on hold. That’s according to testimony from state workers in recent weeks during an ongoing hearing about whether the Human Services Department is fit to process applications.

In the wake of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike’s death in Shiprock on the Navajo Nation, questions have surfaced about law enforcement resources, a late Amber Alert and legal jurisdiction for the crime that’s being tried in federal court. Hand-in-hand with those concerns is also the high rate of assault on Native women.

Deleana OtherBull, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, says talking about these issues is tough, but it has to happen to support health and wellness in tribal communities. 

via PullTogether.org

When state officials unveiled a $2.7 million ad campaign aimed at improving the quality of life for New Mexico kids this week, Catholic leaders responded with criticism, releasing a statement saying it takes more than advertising to fight a problem as big and as severe as child abuse.

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Court proceedings were paused in a hearing about the slow processing of food stamps applications last week when it seemed like a former state employee could incriminate herself.  A supervisor was set to answer questions about falsified applications when the judge asked if she wanted an attorney of her own.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Child abuse and neglect is highly preventable—according to a report the CDC just released. It also says stopping child maltreatment altogether should be a public health priority. There are plenty of people who’ve been working in New Mexico on this issue for decades who agree, like the folks at the Nurse-Family Partnership in Albuquerque.

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The company that handles medical services for prisoners in the state—Corizon Health—is facing hundreds of lawsuits filed by inmates who say care is inadequate. A series in the Santa Fe New Mexican investigates whether state officials have been ignoring warning signs or have done an inadequate job overseeing Corizon. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Dollar stores are everywhere these days—they’re being built at a record pace, according to industry reports. In some rural communities in this state, you might not see any store except a dollar store. A campaign is calling on these discount chains to make sure products are nontoxic.

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New Mexico’s attorney general announced on Tuesday that his office cleared the final two behavioral health providers accused of fraud. Those allegations against more than a dozen providers shuttered services that the state is still scrambling to restore.   

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Ads raising awareness about the overdose-reversing drug naloxone will be appearing on the sides of buses around Albuquerque. It’s available over-the-counter now—but only at pharmacies willing to carry the medication.

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KUNM Call In Show 3/31 8a:

The winds have picked up, pollen counts are high, and people around the state are coping with stuffed sinuses, respiratory troubles, and puffy eyes. We’ll talk to experts who help people find both natural and pharmaceutical solutions to these daily woes. Plus, we’ll learn about why plants have such a devastating effect on us.

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Bioethical questions around the use of fetal tissue in research have been central to a House panel’s investigation, but opponents say it’s all political theater aimed at restricting abortion. The debate is unfolding in New Mexico, as both an Albuquerque abortion clinic and researchers here respond to that panel’s queries.

Courtesy of Dr. Fiona Sinclair

  In order to help babies that are born too early, you’ve got to experiment on fetal tissue. At least that’s what scientists say. A House panel investigation of this kind of research has raised its profile. We went to the University of New Mexico Hospital to find out how fetal tissue is used.

Pecos Enterprise, Smokey Briggs / Courtesy of The Nation

The number of people being prosecuted for illegally crossing the border has risen drastically over the last couple of decades. And the penalty can include lengthy stays behind bars. But where do all these inmates go? 

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University of New Mexico regents voted Monday, March 14, to put themselves in charge of the Health Sciences Center despite public objections to the sudden shift.

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How quickly criminal cases work their way through the system has a big impact on defendants’ lives. And it’s been a little over a year since the state Supreme Court first set deadlines to speed things up and clear thousands of backlogged cases in Bernalillo County, the state’s busiest judicial district. The criminal justice system is still adjusting.

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More than half a million people in the state make use of food stamps. Federal judges ordered the state on Monday, March 7, to halt work requirements for the program.  

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The Legislature found more money for health care this year than it did last year, but it’s still not enough to cover the costs of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. A group of advocates and associations from all corners of the health care system met on Friday to grapple with the projected shortfall.

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A congressional panel investigating fetal tissue exchange held its first hearing this week, and among the topics of debate: Should institutions be forced to turn over a list of names of the people involved? Officials at the University of New Mexico have expressed concerns about doing so.

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The state’s Medicaid Advisory Committee is meeting Friday afternoon in Santa Fe to talk about budget shortfalls. 

One lawmaker called it the tightest budget in memory after the legislative session ended last month. And advocates are warning that Medicaid will be millions short, which could mean higher fees for low-income patients, lower rates for providers and limited job growth in the health care field. About 40 percent of the state’s population is covered by Medicaid after the expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

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A congressional committee that is investigating abortion providers nationally that supply fetal tissue to researchers asked several clinics to hand over documents. On Monday, an Albuquerque clinic provided just about all of the info that was requested—except for one thing.

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New Mexico has one of the highest overdose death rates in the country, and recent spikes in the state’s numbers have been linked to the abuse of prescription opiates. But a drug that reverses overdoses is about to become more widely available.

Zack McCarthy via CC

Behavioral health funding in New Mexico took about a $4 million hit at the end of last week’s legislative session. But the Human Services Department may have asked for even less money than that.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The legislative session ended at noon on Thursday, Feb. 18, and even though funding was scarce, lawmakers found money to process sexual assault evidence that’s been piling up around the state. 

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In the final hours of the 2016 session, lawmakers are scrambling to push legislation through and finish the budget. Several measures would address the almost 5,500 untested rape kits in the state, including one that creates a task force to help survivors and ensure their rights.

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Changes to the way the courts handle bail passed both chambers of the state Legislature as of Wednesday morning and will be on the ballot in November. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

More than 20 organizations joined together Tuesday to call on lawmakers not to cut funding for behavioral health services. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

In the final days of the 2016 session, lawmakers are trying to figure out how to deal with a tight budget caused by plummeting oil and gas prices. 

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UPDATED 2/16 7a:

Several groups that were in favor of a bail reform measure are yanking their support after a House committee amended it Monday, Feb. 15. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/18 8a: 

  

The state’s attorney general cleared just about all of the providers accused of Medicaid fraud a couple of years ago—but the news didn’t come soon enough to keep many of their doors open.

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