Public Health New Mexico

KUNM's Public Health New Mexico reporting project provides in-depth, investigative and continuous coverage of public health in New Mexico, with an emphasis on poverty. For all articles and web exclusive content, go to publichealthnm.org 

In an ongoing, decades-long conflict about whether public assistance in New Mexico is available to people who need it most, a federal judge has recommended that the Human Services Department secretary be found in contempt of court.

Rio Arriba County’s Health and Human Services Department is helping law enforcement there stock the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.

Rio Arriba County has the highest rate of opioid overdoses in New Mexico, but police and sheriff’s departments haven’t been able to get a reliable supply of naloxone—also known as Narcan—to use on the streets.

Police violence against people of color has been at the forefront of national debate in recent months. And in New Mexico, a group advocating for indigenous concerns called the Red Nation has been active on this issue since the killing of James Boyd two years ago.

The first report from a state investigation into whether state employees falsify food stamps applications revealed evidence of the practice, but so far, no written orders from higher-ups. The report was released Friday after a judge ruled that it had to be made public.

Congress is considering legislation that will make it easier to treat people for opioid addiction. And doctors in Rio Arriba County—an area hard-hit by drug addiction—are hoping the new laws will provide relief to patients there.

For the first time since allegations surfaced that state employees falsify food stamps applications, New Mexicans heard testimony from public officials Thursday.

    

A federal judge unsealed the results of a state investigation into falsification of food stamp applications by state employees Wednesday. That means the internal Human Services Department report will be released to the public. Public Health New Mexico's Marisa Demarco spoke with KUNM's Chris Boros. 

  A federal court hearing on whether New Mexico is fit to process applications for food stamps and Medicaid is set to wrap up on Wednesday, July 6. Top brass from the state Human Services Department are expected to testify in response to allegations from employees that applications for emergency food aid were falsified to avoid missing deadlines.

Most everyone knows someone who has died of cancer. It’s the number two killer in the United States. A White House initiative tried to jump start efforts to cure cancer with virtual summits at 270 sites across the country, including New Mexico.

KUNM’s reporting series Poisoned Earth: Albuquerque’s Toxic Secret revealed that state officials had not studied health effects of a dry cleaning chemical spill on people who lived near the plume. 

Abortion rights supporters in New Mexico are thrilled with the Supreme Court’s ruling today, but it might not immediately reduce the number of women coming here from Texas for abortions. 

New Mexico’s attorney general is filing a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court against Colorado. The suit calls into question how abandoned mines were handled in Colorado before the Gold King Mine spill. 

UnitedHealthcare is dropping insurance coverage for its Medicaid patients at the University of New Mexico Hospital. The decision comes after months of negotiations.

Though the country is focused on Orlando, another mass shooting happened in southeastern New Mexico last weekend, where a man is accused of shooting and killing his family. People in Roswell gathered on Tuesday to grieve. 

Right after the federal Department of Justice released a lengthy report slamming the University of New Mexico for mishandling sexual assault cases, UNM President Robert Frank held a news conference and questioned the investigators’ methods. KUNM's Marisa Demarco sat down with Frank to find out how seriously UNM’s president takes the federal criticism.

The New Mexico Department of Health is reporting a nine percent drop in drug overdoses in 2015.

The Department of Justice has scrutinized just two universities in the country about campus assault and harassment: The University of Montana and the University of New Mexico. Results of the DOJ probe in Montana were revealed in May 2013. The findings letter for UNM came out at the end of April this year.

There’s expectation in the air when students go off to college—an expectation of independence and learning—and even safety. But for many people on campuses around the country who experience sexual assault or harassment, the illusion of safety can fall away. Now, the federal government has begun looking at why.

The new Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge is a place of firsts: it’s the first urban wildlife refuge in the Southwest and the first wildlife refuge in the country to have an environmental justice plan. It's also the first time kids in one largely Hispanic community have had a wild outdoor space to play in close by.

When you think of a drug sting operation, you might think of busting drug dealers. Last week the chief of the Albuquerque Police Department defended a reverse drug sting operation in which undercover officers posed as dealers in early May and arrested mainly homeless people and people with mental health issues who tried to buy drugs.

Bernalillo County and the city of Albuquerque are holding a training session Saturday, June 4, on how to interact with people who have mental health conditions. The certification program is a first for the city.

  KUNM Call In Show 6/9 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.

New Mexico’s teen pregnancy rate has been cut in half over the last two decades, but it remains one of the highest in the country.

The Santa Fe City Council adopted an $82 million budget on Wednesday, May 25. Councilors devoted part of the city’s funds to addressing poverty and climate change in the capital.

The New Mexico Environment Department is rewriting the state’s rules on water pollution. 

The state’s water quality rules regulate everything from groundwater pollution from abandoned wells to sewer discharge into rivers. But some of those rules are outdated.

The Environment Department kicked off a review process last week to study them, and see which ones need to be updated.

Air pollution is a serious problem for some neighborhoods in Albuquerque—especially in low-income areas that border an industrial zone south of downtown.

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. 

A large fire broke out at a metal recycling plant in Albuquerque early Saturday morning. Bernalillo County issued a warning to neighbors during the fire, saying to stay inside and not breathe the potentially toxic smoke.

Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a new set of rules aimed at reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, as part of an effort by the Obama Administration to cut methane emissions 45 percent by 2025.

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