KUNM

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 

Santa Fe County To Propose Behavioral Health Tax

Sep 14, 2016
amayaeguizabal via Pixabay / creative commons license

The Santa Fe County Commission will be asking voters if they would support a tax increase to pay for behavioral health services. Commissioners voted to include the question on the November ballot Tuesday night.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Advocates have been trying to get a question on the ballot about whether all businesses in Albuquerque should be required to offer paid sick leave to workers. They faced a setback in court on Monday night.

Damian Gadal via Compfight CC

Funding for people with developmental disabilities in this state has been tight for years. And one organization might have had thousands less than it should have. The state auditor says a program director may have siphoned federal funding into his personal bank account.

Group Pushes Alcohol Tax Hike

Sep 12, 2016
AgencjaAIAC via Pixabay / creative commons license

An organization based in Santa Fe is hoping lawmakers will consider a plan in an upcoming special session that would raise taxes on all alcoholic beverages. The group recently commissioned a poll that found a majority of New Mexicans are in favor that idea—but Governor Susana Martinez has said she won’t support any kind of tax hike.

Frank de Kleine via Flickr / Creative Commons License

It’s been more than six months since Alta Vista Regional Hospital in Las Vegas announced the temporary closure of its obstetrics unit. Pregnant women in northeastern New Mexico have had to drive to places like Albuquerque, Santa Fe, or Taos for routine check-ups and delivery.

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A judge decided Friday afternoon that Bernalillo County’s ballots for the November election can’t be printed until the issue of paid sick leave is sorted out. Advocates filed a lawsuit after the initiative failed at a Bernalillo County Commission meeting. 

Now's The Time For Flu Shots, DOH Says

Sep 9, 2016
U.S. Air Force

Flu season starts next month. The state Department of Health is asking people to get vaccinated before the disease starts to spread.

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Advocates wanted voters to make the call about whether all businesses in Albuquerque should be required to offer paid sick leave to their workers. The measure died before the Bernalillo County Commission on Thursday.

LANL’s Long Environmental Cleanup

Sep 6, 2016
U.S. Army

Los Alamos National Laboratory has been one of the country’s foremost nuclear research centers ever since the atomic bomb was developed there in the 1940s. Weapons and engineering programs continue there today, but the U.S. Department of Energy is still cleaning up contamination left over from World War II.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

It can be hard to get motivated to exercise. But what if your doctor wrote you a prescription for it? One physician in Albuquerque is leading the charge against inactivity.

UNMH Low-Income Money Heads To Ballot

Aug 24, 2016
skeeze via Pixabay / creative commons license

The Bernalillo County Commission voted Tuesday night to put a measure that would continue funding treatment for low-income and uninsured patients at UNM Hospital on November’s ballot.

UNM Hospital has been getting around $90 million a year in taxpayer dollars to pay for medical care for patients who can’t afford it. Now voters here will be asked to choose if they want to keep that money coming.

Ed Williams

Española’s youth science and tech programs had two big-league visitors Monday—National Science Director France Córdova and Senator Martin Heinrich.

Española has one of the highest poverty rates in the state, but it’s also got some strong science, technology, engineering and math programs—also called STEM. There’s a robotics club that Senator Martin Heinrich says could help fill a looming workforce shortage at Los Alamos National Laboratories. 

ALL ~ TROY VIA COMPFIGHT CC

  The U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing last week that it’s unconstitutional to keep people behind bars just because they can’t afford to pay bail. Some bail bondsmen in New Mexico argue people in poverty shouldn’t be allowed to skirt the law.

Emory Maiden via Flickr

The Santa Fe Juvenile Justice Board is hearing an update on its budget Thursday. The city plans to continue directing funds towards programs that aim to keep kids out of the criminal justice system.

insunlight via Flickr CC

There are 13 federal prisons around the United States that are run by private companies. One of them is in New Mexico. And today the Department of Justice said it’s going to stop using corporations to run federal prisons.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

It’s expensive and it takes years to get a new drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. So researchers at the University of New Mexico are going back through the medicine cabinet of drugs developed for things other than cancer and testing them on cancer cells. 

Albuquerque Tightens Water Pollution Oversight

Aug 12, 2016
Robin JP via Flickr / creative commons license

Pollution flowing out of Albuquerque in the Rio Grande is a problem for Isleta Pueblo and other downstream communities. Now the city is boosting oversight of water contaminants. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The lack of paid sick leave in the U.S. contributes to the spread of disease and emergency medical costs, according to the American Public Health Association. There are no federal laws about it, but some states and cities have passed their own. Advocates in Albuquerque gathered enough signatures to put the issue before voters in November. 

Ryan Hyde via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 8/11 8a: 

Nearly 40 percent of U.S. workers don’t have the option of staying home with pay when they aren’t feeling well. There aren’t any federal laws about who gets sick leave, but the issue could go before Albuquerque voters in November.

Ed Williams

Under the Civil Rights Act, local governments that receive federal money are prohibited from discriminating against low-income people of color. But people in some parts of Albuquerque say that’s exactly what the city is doing by putting polluting businesses in poor Hispanic neighborhoods.

Now a federal investigation is underway to see if those claims are true.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The feds released a report on the most dangerous intersection in central New Mexico for pedestrians. It links improvements there to the controversial Albuquerque Rapid Transit project, or ART

New Mexico Department of Health

Lawmakers are trying to stop the planned closure of a youth detox center in Albuquerque. The Turquoise Lodge detox service was funded by the state three years ago, but now the Department of Health says not enough kids are using it and the money needs to be redirected to services for adults.

insunlight via Flickr / Creative Commons License

There’s been a lot of focus lately both locally and nationally on how police officers use force—sometimes deadly force—against people.

Now, New Mexico’s largest jail is back in the headlines after it was revealed that two inmates may have been the victims of excessive use of force.

Rashad Mahmood/KUNM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it’s opening a civil rights investigation into Albuquerque and Bernalillo County air pollution policies.

Can Your Smartphone Fix Your Drinking Problem?

Jul 27, 2016
Rashad Mahmood/KUNM

Lots of people enjoy a beer or a glass of wine after work. Or maybe two glasses, or three. But at what point do everyday drinking habits become a drinking problem?

Joe Gratz via Flickr CC

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 Detox Center Gets Funding

Jul 14, 2016
Austin Ban via unsplash.com

A Rio Arriba County detox center is getting $45,000 from a state-funded grant. The county’s Community Health Council voted to award the funds Wednesday.

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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.

Melissa Tso member of the Red Nation and the Party for Socialism and Liberation

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.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

All around the country, states are trying to address a mounting number of untested sexual assault evidence kits. And even though New Mexico’s budget is tight, the Legislature found $1.6 million to work through the backlog here. At a meeting in Albuquerque on Monday, stakeholders gathered to talk about what’s next.

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