Marisa Demarco

Public Health New Mexico Web Author

Marisa Demarco is a journalist, musician and event curator based in Albuquerque, N.M. In December 2012, she co-founded the New Mexico Compass news website at nmcompass.com with Margaret Wright. Since then, she's helped build and launch several local websites. Demarco's spent more than a decade in journalism, editing and writing for the Weekly Alibi, the Albuquerque Tribune and UNM's Daily Lobo. Find Demarco around Albuquerque crusading for journalism, modern grassroots media, and radical, D.I.Y. art and music.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:43 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Corrales Says Congress Should Ban Overuse Of Antibiotics On Big Farms

Credit en.wikipedia.org

The Village Council of Corrales is calling on Congress to stop the overuse of antibiotics on industrial livestock operations. Corrales is a bucolic village north of Albuquerque, home to about 8,500 people, some of whom keep farm animals. 

    

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Public Health New Mexico
3:33 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Lingering Concerns During WIPP Cleanup

Containers at WIPP
Credit Wikimedia Commons

As cleanup of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant commences, folks down south remain concerned about transparency and oversight.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:11 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Curanderismo In The Modern Age

Tonita Gonzales prepares for the ceremony in the North Valley of Albuquerque, N.M.
Credit Marisa Demarco

  

When we get sick, most of us make an appointment with a doctor trained in Western medicine. But in New Mexico, for some ailments people might head to their local curandero, a practitioner of regional, traditional healing. And in parts of Mexico and South America, curanderismo is sometimes the only option for medical care.           

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Public Health New Mexico
3:54 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

How APD Handles Mental Health Crisis Calls

Mentally ill James Boyd in a standoff with police in March
Credit Screenshot from video provided by APD through an IPRA request

    

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 11/13 8a: 

The Department of Justice is requiring APD to figure out how to respond to people in mental health crisis with the goal of decreasing the use of force in those situations. The agreement between the DOJ and Albuquerque’s police force also calls for APD to provide crisis intervention training to all officers.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:20 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Nuclear Security Expert Talks WIPP, LANL And Non-Proliferation

The MK 6 nuclear bomb produced between 1951 and 1955. Modern weapons are dozens and dozens of times more powerful, according to James Doyle.
Credit Public Domain

News broke last weekend that Los Alamos National Laboratory took shortcuts when treating some nuclear waste headed to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. One of the LANL waste drums sprang a radiation leak earlier this year, contaminating workers and closing the facility. 

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Public Health New Mexico
3:51 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Report: Rise in Incarceration Has Not Prevented Crime

Credit Michael Coghlan via Flickr CC

Members of a National Academy of Sciences committee presented a report on high incarceration rates at the State Bar of New Mexico this morning. The NAS says the growth in lockups in the United States is historically unprecedented and unlike any other country in the world.

The U.S. has too many people behind bars, according to the NAS report, and the high rate of imprisonment has surpassed any public safety benefit.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:03 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

State Backs Away From SNAP Work Requirements

Credit Sodanie Chea via Flickr CC

The Human Services Department announced it would not begin demanding more New Mexicans on food stamps meet work requirements. The rule change was slated to go into effect at the beginning of this month, but a lawsuit filed by two nonprofits threw a wrench in the works. 

The lawsuit charged HSD with not following proper procedure in alerting people to the rule change—or posting the full and correct version of the work requirement—before it was adopted.

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Local News
4:27 am
Wed November 5, 2014

GOP Congressional Challengers Face Defeat

Credit Arianna Sena

Two New Mexico Republicans hoping to oust incumbents in Congress were handed big defeats on election night despite their efforts. 

When we spoke Tuesday night in his campaign headquarters, Allen Weh was still hoping to overtake Sen. Tom Udall and win his Senate seat. Instead, the retired Marine colonel ended up trailing in the polls. He said he’ll be happy to get back to work as the head of CSI Aviation after the election, and he mused, briefly, on the political system in America. 

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Local News
4:26 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Gov. Martinez Highlights Bipartisanship

Gov. Susana Martinez' campaign staff awaits her arrival on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.
Credit Marisa Demarco

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez secured a second term last night, beating her Democratic challenger Gary King handily. Martinez emphasized bipartisanship during her acceptance speech at the Marriott in Albuquerque, which was packed with Republicans from around the state.

As Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela introduced Gov. Martinez late Tuesday night, he focused on her heart—perhaps a nod to opponent Gary King’s maligned comment about the governor’s not being Latino enough. 

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Local News
3:01 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Find A Polling Location With No Wait

Credit Theresa Thompson via Flickr CC

Polls are open today until 7 p.m., and registered voters in Bernalillo County can cast their ballots in any of the polling locations around the city. There's a great map and an app [Google Play or iTunes] that can show you where all the vote centers are and how long the wait is at each.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:48 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Voices Behind The Vote: Veteran Concerned With PTSD

Credit Courtesy of Amber Royster

Amber Royster is a sixth-generation New Mexican and Navy veteran who served in the Iraq War and was deployed twice overseas. She said Bernalillo County’s advisory mental health ballot question and the secretary of state’s race are her main interests this year.

She’s a registered Green Party member, and said she generally prefers to vote on issues instead of candidates. She’s voting for Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver for secretary of state because that office can allow direct issues-based questions onto the polls.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:18 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Voices Behind The Vote: Mental Health Brings Single Mom To The Polls

Christina Dominguez
Credit Denicia Cadena

Christina Dominguez is a single mother of three kids in Albuquerque. Her primary interest in the election is the mental health poll question on the ballot in Bernalillo County. The question is only advisory, which means it wouldn’t become a law if passed, but it’s intended to allow the public to weigh in on mental health funding.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:08 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Lawsuit May Halt Food Stamp Work Requirement

Credit danielle_blue via Flicr CC

Two New Mexico nonprofits filed a lawsuit this week against the state that could halt changes to the state’s food assistance program.

The Center on Law and Poverty and the Southwest Organizing Project, along with three people who rely on food stamps, are asking for a temporary restraining order that would stop a work requirement for certain SNAP recipients that’s slated to go into effect on November 1.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:31 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Voices Behind The Vote: Health Care And War Pull Veteran To The Polls

Pete Comstock and Sharon, his wife of 54 years
Credit Courtesy of Pete Comstock

Veteran Pete Comstock was wounded in Vietnam—once by a hand grenade and once by an AK-47—and he’s recovered physically. “I have some combat trauma issues that I had to deal with as I was recovering coming back. But today, most days I’m pretty normal.”

Comstock, a Republican from Cedar Crest, relies on VA health services and said he zeroes in on issues affecting veterans during every election cycle. In particular, he wants to ensure candidates will commit funding and support to medical care for returning soldiers, address military sexual trauma and work to stop the wars.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:43 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

APD Reform Forum Focuses On Mental Health

The Collaborative on Community-Police Relations talks mental health at the North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014.
Credit Marisa Demarco

People affected by mental health issues in Albuquerque gathered for a meeting on police reform on Monday night. 

Only people who’d signed up online in advance of the forum were allowed to participate in the discussion about the Albuquerque Police Department and mental health. A handful of participants sat in two separate circles with concentric rings of observers radiating from the center.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:19 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Voices Behind The Vote: Disability Rights The Focus For Mother, Daughter

Nannie Sanchez hosts her public access TV show "Self-Advocacy and Empowerment," produced in collaboration with Quote...Unquote, Inc.

Rosemarie Sanchez and her 39-year-old daughter Nannie are disability rights advocates and hard-line Democrats. Rosemarie adopted Nannie, a child born with Down syndrome, when she was an infant. KUNM Public Health New Mexico reporter Marisa Demarco caught up with them at their home in Albuquerque’s Clayton Heights to talk about how their lives and their politics intertwine. 

Both women are concerned about changes to the developmental disability waiver in New Mexico.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:32 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

APD Reform Meetings Begin in Albuquerque

Demonstrators in Downtown Albuquerque on March 25, 2014
Credit Rita Daniels

Tuesday marked the first of 10 meetings of the Collaborative on Police-Community Relations in Albuquerque. Police officers and commanders attended, along with grieving families, mental health advocates and neighborhood association representatives.

Mayor Richard Berry said the process should yield a document that outlines expectations for effective community policing.  The Department of Justice investigated APD after a high-number of officer-involved shootings, and findings indicated city police use excessive force.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:48 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

VA Cuts 30 Inpatient Beds

Dr. Jaime Robbins addresses the crowd of veterans at the town hall on VA medical care on Wednesday, September 10, 2014.
Credit Marisa Demarco

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced this week that it’s decreasing the beds available at Albuquerque’s VA Medical Center—the only such inpatient facility in New Mexico.

The news that the VA is cutting the number of inpatient beds from 150 to 120 doesn’t sit right with Mike Gallegos, a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart Medal recipient from Los Lunas.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:59 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Concern About Ebola Readiness At Santa Fe Hospital

Ebola virus virion. vreated by CDC microbiologist Cynthia Goldsmith
Credit Public Health Image Library via CC

Earlier this week, there was a brief Ebola scare at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe. A patient was isolated, and though it turned out to be a false alarm, hospital workers are questioning whether the hospital is ready to handle the disease.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:22 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Think Tank: Why Can't Patients Compare Prices?

Credit Bill David Brooks via CC

A nonpartisan think tank in New Mexico released a report on health care costs this week suggesting that providers should be more transparent about the price of procedures up front.

Fred Nathan is the founder and executive director of Think New Mexico. The group’s report says New Mexicans are spending more out of their pockets for health care than ever before, and most of that extra money is going to administrative costs—not to doctors’ salaries or improved care for patients.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:35 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

First Ever Sex Week At UNM

Reid Mihalko is coming to UNM to give a workshop called "How to be a Gentleman and Get Laid" on Monday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m.
Credit about.me/ReidAboutSex

UNM is hosting its inaugural Sex Week next week, and this year’s theme is preventing sexual assault.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:45 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

High Bail Keeps People In Poverty In Jail

Credit Daniel Schwen / CC-BY-SA 4.0

The Legislature’s Criminal Justice Reform Committee met on Wednesday to talk about bail, among other topics. According to one speaker, the high cost of bail creates a system where people who can pay are released, while people in poverty remain behind bars. 

Arthur Pepin has a lot of work in front of him. He’s the director of the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Review Commission, a group tasked with figuring out how to decrease the population at the county jail.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:01 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Veterans Share Stories Of Poor Health Care, Long Waits At VA

Veterans wait to speak to state Director Jaime Robbins about concerns with the VA health care system.
Credit Marisa Demarco

Wednesday’s town hall was heated, as veterans gathered in Albuquerque to raise concerns about VA health care with the state’s administration.

Hands in the audience were still raised as the two-hour meeting drew to a close. Scores of veterans who got a chance to speak complained of extremely long wait times, rushed care and bad communication with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:55 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

U.S. Surgeon General Lushniak Highlights Skin Cancer Prevention

Kids at Bandelier Elementary School in Albuquerque play under the playground sunshade while wearing school-issued sunhats.
Credit Marisa Demarco

The acting U.S. Surgeon General was in New Mexico Tuesday to talk about ways schools and parents can work together to prevent skin cancer.

Boris Lushniak and New Mexico Health Secretary Retta Ward met with school officials, parents and students at Bandelier Elementary School in Albuquerque. 

Lushniak said there used to be a time when a tan was a good thing.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:36 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Faith Leaders Speak Against New SNAP Requirements

Credit lyzadanger | flickr.com | CC BY SA 2.0

The state’s Human Services Department held a hearing in Santa Fe this morning about changes that would add work requirements to the food stamps program. 

Faith leaders from around the state—along with AARP, family advocates and representatives from food banks—spoke against new requirements for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. They emphasized that hungry people in New Mexico are already looking for work: There just aren’t jobs to be had.

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Public Health New Mexico
9:36 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Mothers Fight Stigma Of Drug Addiction

Credit josemanuelerre via Creative Commons

The number of babies born addicted to drugs has risen sharply over the last decade or so in New Mexico. KUNM’s Public Health reporter Marisa Demarco brings us this story of how stigma surrounding addiction and pregnancy is contributing to the increase.

Mia just gave birth to a healthy baby boy even though she was addicted to methamphetamine until about a month and a half before he was born. Her name has been changed in this story to protect her identity. "My number one fear when I was using while pregnant was to lose him or him being born with something wrong," she said

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Public Health New Mexico
4:26 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

UNMH Patient Tested For Ebola

A technician sets up an assay for Ebola within a containment laboratory.
Credit Dr. Randal J. Schoepp via Army Medicine / Creative Commons

The Department of Health sent clinical samples to the CDC today to make sure a New Mexico patient doesn’t have the Ebola virus. 

A 30-year-old woman in Albuquerque went to the hospital this weekend with a sore throat, headache, muscle aches and a fever after returning from a trip to West Africa, where an Ebola epidemic this year has killed more than 1,000 people.

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Public Health New Mexico
2:43 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

DOE Secretary Talks WIPP In Carlsbad

Ernest Moniz in Carlsbad
Credit A still from the Town Hall video

Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz hosted a town hall meeting in Carlsbad last night to talk about recovery efforts at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. It's the nation's only underground nuclear waste storage facility, just 26 miles east of the town. WIPP has remained closed since the radiation leak in mid-February, and the cause of the leak remains unclear.

Secretary Moniz promised the crowd that WIPP will re-open, and members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation talked about their efforts to get WIPP the funds it needs to operate safely.

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Public Health New Mexico
11:32 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

The Trinity Test Legacy And The Birth Of The Atomic Bomb

The cast of "Manhattan," a TV series that premiered on Monday
Credit WGN America

KUNM Call In Show Thur. 7/31 8 a.m.

July marked the 69th anniversary of the world's first detonation of an atomic bomb, in New Mexico. And on Monday, “Manhattan,” a fictional show about the scientists who made the bomb, premiered on WGN America.

We’ll be talking about this moment in U.S. history with an eye on how it affected New Mexicans. Did you know there were people living nearby when the Trinity test took place? What are the long-term effects of the Trinity test? What does it mean to us today that the first atomic bomb was detonated right here in our home state?

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Public Health New Mexico
12:01 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Inhabited Desert: The Untold Story Of The Trinity Test

The Gadget
Credit Public Domain

This month marks the 69th anniversary of world’s first atomic plume rising into New Mexico’s sky. The day the nuclear bomb went off, there were 19,000 people living near the Trinity test blast site, including Native Americans of several tribes and pueblos. Residents weren’t given any warning of the detonation, and the health effects lingered through the decades—but those facts aren’t yet part of public conversation or historic memory.

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