Groups Push Public Health Funding

Jan 27, 2016

Wednesday was Public Health Day in Santa Fe. Two dozen organizations that work on issues of health, poverty and research were at the state capital to press for funding during the legislative budget session. 

Marsha McMurray-Avila is chair of the New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils, an organization that studies local community health needs throughout the state. The councils lost part of their funding during the 2010 recession, and she says the budget shortfall makes it hard to get help to everyone who needs it.

"When we don’t have the resources, what we end up with are little projects that are sometimes very good, but they only reach a small number of people," McMurray-Avila said.

The Department of Health co-sponsored the event Wednesday. DOH secretary Retta Ward says the Alliance of Health Councils and other groups need more money, but falling oil prices have stretched the state’s budget thin.

"It’s going to be a tight funding year because of the oil and gas revenues, but we’re hoping for the best," Ward said. "Whatever happens, we’ll make the best use of whatever funding we get."

Public health groups have three more weeks to see any funding approved, before the session ends in mid February.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify that health councils within the alliance lost funding.