Public Health New Mexico

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
6:40 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Voices Behind The Vote: Climate Change Drives Conservative To Polls

Credit Ed Williams-KUNM

KUNM public health reporter Ed Williams traveled north to Taos County where he met with Marty Michael, a conservative voter in Questa. Michael is an active member of the community, and has worked with the county on water issues. 

“Drought, global warming’s affecting it, lack of rainfall, mother nature. It’s something that can’t be measured," Michael said. "The conservatives are interested in keeping our water here. No more water transfers.”  

Check out the other Voices Behind The Vote profiles!

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Public Health New Mexico
6:39 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Voices Behind The Vote: Who's Talking About Immigrants Held In Artesia?

Credit Ed Williams-KUNM

KUNM public health reporter Ed Williams spoke with Santa Fe resident Allegra Love, a former public school teacher who now works as a lawyer for ADELANTE, a Santa Fe Public Schools program that provides help for families experiencing homelessness.

Love is also an immigration attorney. Since this summer she’s been working on asylum cases for refugees held in the federal immigrant detention center in Artesia. 

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Public Health New Mexico
4:22 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Feds Renew Funding For Homeless Healthcare

Credit PANationalGuard via Flickr

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services renewed funding this week for Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless.

Anita Cordova says the $1.22 million grant will allow her organization to continue providing medical and dental care to the homeless community. “Without the money," Cordova said, "we would be unable to provide as many services and pay our providers and staff to do the work that we do.”

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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
5:17 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

LISTEN: Public Health In New Mexico And Election 2014

Credit World Bank Photo Collection via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 10/23 8a: What public health issues are New Mexico candidates talking about in their campaigns? What are politicians and elected officials not talking about? We'll have an in depth discussion with KUNM's Public Health New Mexico reporting team - Ed Williams and Marisa Demarco.

Post your comments below and check out the project site publichealthnm.org

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Public Health New Mexico
5:08 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Santa Fe Students Pledge To End Gun Violence

Credit Al Hikes via Flickr

Wednesday is National Student Pledge Against Violence Day, and school administrators in Santa Fe are encouraging students to sign a pledge promising not to use guns to resolve conflicts.

Both the Santa Fe School Board and City Council signed resolutions to join in the national observance of gun violence in schools.

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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
3:37 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Flu Season Is Back: Time For Shots!

Credit Univ. of Melbourne - public domain

There’s been so much media attention focused on the Ebola crisis in West Africa and whether the healthcare system in the U.S. is ready for cases here, it’s easy to forget that the U.S. flu season has begun. Each year thousands of people in the U.S. die from the flu, tens of thousands in bad years. Last year there were 34 flu-related deaths in New Mexico.

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Local News
6:42 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

Gov. Martinez Orders Ebola Preparedness Plan

Credit Dr. Randal J. Schoepp via Army Medicine / Creative Commons

 

Gov. Susana Martinez has directed the state Department of Health to coordinate an Ebola preparedness plan in case the disease is diagnosed in any New Mexico patients.

Martinez's office says the Health Department will work with other state agencies, local governments and hospitals across New Mexico to ensure officials are prepared.

Martinez says that despite the low risk, she wants to reassure residents that the state would be able to respond quickly if an Ebola case emerges.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:14 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

No Signs Of Tuberculosis In Exposed New Mexico Babies

Chest X-ray of probable tuberculosis case
Credit Sandra Bermúdez via Flickr

New Mexico health officials have screened 56 babies for tuberculosis since an El Paso hospital worker tested positive for the potentially lethal respiratory infection last summer. Now, state health officials say none of the babies living here appear to have contracted the disease.

“So far we haven’t seen any clear evidence of transmission with the babies here in New Mexico, so that’s a very positive thing,” said New Mexico Department of Health Tuberculosis Program Manager Diana Fortune.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:37 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Reclassification Of Pain Meds Could Prevent Overdoses

Credit futurowoman via Flickr

The federal government has tightened restrictions on prescription hydrocodone combo drugs to try to reduce overdoses. That could be good news for New Mexico, which has the second highest opioid overdose rate in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Drug Enforcement Agenct now considers the highly addictive pain medication a Schedule II drug alongside oxycodone and methamphetamine.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:38 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Health Provider Says State Refused Evidence Refuting Audit

Credit Rubén Diaz Alonso via Flickr

A state agency citing potential Medicaid fraud refused to consider documents that could have cleared a health care provider of allegations that it had overcharged the government by as much as $4.3 million, the organization’s officials said this week. 

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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
12:25 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

UNM Expanding Telehealth Program

Dr. Howard Yonas of the UNM School of Medicine's Neurosurgery Department is chief investigator for the ACCESS program.
Credit John Arnold, UNM Health Sciences Center

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center has received more than $15 million in federal money to expand a statewide telehealth program. The program aims to provide rural hospital patients with emergency video consultations.

The funding, awarded through the Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center, will pay for a network of high definition cameras and AV conferencing equipment for emergency rooms throughout the state. 

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Public Health New Mexico
5:21 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Young People Struggle To Find Jobs

Credit Kathryn Decker via Flickr

The national unemployment rate has dropped to 5.9 percent, but that doesn’t mean that there are more teens and young adults in the New Mexico workforce. In fact, that number has been dropping for decades, according to a recent report.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:00 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Searching For Answers On Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

The Trujillo family in front of their home in San Fidel, NM.
Credit 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.

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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
4:33 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

New Mexico Babies Exposed To Tuberculosis At El Paso Hospital

Credit 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.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:34 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Poverty On The Rise In New Mexico

Credit 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.

 

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Public Health New Mexico
10:29 am
Wed September 10, 2014

News Orgs Appeal Ruling That Lets Health Audit Stay Secret

New Mexico In Depth and the Las Cruces Sun-News are appealing District Judge Douglas R. Driggers' August ruling allowing the audit to remain secret.
Credit Robin Zielinski / Las Cruces Sun-News

Two news organizations are asking the N.M. Court of Appeals to overturn a ruling allowing last year’s audit of 15 health organizations to remain secret.

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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
5:07 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Bernalillo County To Add Mental Health, Marijuana Ballot Questions

Credit 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.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:55 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Overdoses Down In New Mexico

Credit 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.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:26 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Kirtland Says More Info Needed Before Cleanup

Contamination from the fuel spill at Kirtland Air Force Base was discovered in 1999. The plume has spread underneath Albuquerque to within a mile of the Ridgecrest well number 5, one of the city's most productive drinking water wells.
Credit 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.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:06 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Fewer New Mexico Kids Vaccinated For Hepatitis A

Credit 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

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