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 

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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.

Ed Williams

A chemical company has been testing the air inside homes for toxins near Downtown Albuquerque years after spilling dry-cleaning chemicals into the groundwater. So far, results show residents are not being exposed to chemicals.

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. 

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

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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.

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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. 

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.

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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? 

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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.

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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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KUNM Call In Show Thu. 3/10 8a: New Mexico's Supreme Court created a new set of rules aimed at clearing a backlog of cases in Bernalillo County's criminal justice system. But there's been pushback from folks who say the new deadlines are tough to meet. 

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