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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Hospital custodians and houskeeping staff say that even though they clean the COVID wards and are in the room with patients, they aren't given adequate personal protective equipment. Three people we spoke with said because it is commonly known among other hospital staff that the sanitation workers are more exposed to the virus, they are treated unfairly and subject to discrimination. 

YNMG & COVID: Coming Home To A Pandemic

May 1, 2020
Courtesy of Orlando Watts

In episode 55, we return to the conversation around recovery from substance use during the pandemic. It's a special episode devoted to a conversation between Executive Producer Marisa Demarco and her cousin, Orlando Watts, who went to a remote rehab before the pandemic, and then returned home after it was in full swing. A lot of the conversation around reckoning with a loss of control, being present, sitting with discomfort and reaching out to connect could be useful for anyone during this time—not only people in recovery or seeking treatment.

YNMG & COVID: The People Beyond The Numbers

Apr 30, 2020
Courtesy of Alison Keeswood and Mariaelena Lopez

Your New Mexico Government honors the memory of four people whose lives were ended by COVID 19. These are not conversations about the virus, nor about the state of New Mexico's response in episode 54. Today we talk about the people, who they were and how they lived. Beyond the data, numbers or projections, it's about the humans who lived and the legacies they have left with their families and communities.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

 

Inmates across the country fear for their lives as the coronavirus sweeps through overpopulated jails and prisons. People incarcerated in New Mexico say they’re not getting enough hygiene products, space to distance from one another or good information about potential spread behind the walls. Facilities have done very little testing, and the Corrections Department has been slow to follow through on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s April 6 order to release non-violent offenders who have less than a month left on their sentences. As of April 29, just 29 people had been discharged from state prisons, despite a 2019 study that identified ten times that number of people who could be immediately released into community corrections programs.

YNMG & COVID: Did You Eat?

Apr 27, 2020
Vanessa Bowen

In episode 51, we talk about food access, cooking and gardening during the pandemic. Being able to get healthy food is a problem for many people all the time in New Mexico, but it's become even more of a struggle these last weeks. Many people are working to make sure folks here have food despite new obstacles, like people buying up some items at grocery stores and disrupting the supply chain, social distancing, and extra sanitation precautions to avoid the spread of coronavirus. 

YNMG: Walking The COVID Beat

Apr 22, 2020
Hannah Colton / KUNM

Episode 48 dives back into how the pandemic is affecting people experiencing homelessness. KUNM's Hannah Colton goes further into the story of the city breaking up encampments, despite the CDC advising against it during this time, and she brings us the perspective of Cypher Johnson, who's passing through Albuquerque and spending time on the streets. We talk to people who work with unsheltered folks around the state about what an outbreak at a shelter would mean for the whole community, about what needs to change right now—and what needs to change in the future. We also hear from the Albuquerque Police Department and the Las Cruces Police Department about how coronavirus has changed things for them philosophically and practically. 

Matthew Bisanz / Wikimedia Commons

  The number of grandparents raising their grandkids has been rising all over the country, and especially in New Mexico. Those folks might be affected by a last-minute deadline the IRS announced Monday, April 20. People who get federal benefits—and who didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019—only have until Wednesday, April 22, at 10 a.m. MST to fill out a form on the online IRS portal to get stimulus money for their dependents.

YNMG & COVID: Making It Happen

Apr 20, 2020
courtesy of CNM

We devote Episode 46 to local companies and makers who have switched up what they create or kicked production into high gear to make personal protective equipment and parts for ventilators. They're trying to fill the gaps at hospitals, for first responders and for other essential workers in New Mexico. 

Weixiang Ng via Flickr

The COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled in-person classes for universities and public schools in New Mexico, including crucial hands-on learning for nursing students in hospitals. That leaves future nurses feeling ill-prepared to take on the responsibilities of nursing after graduation.

YNMG & COVID: Help Needed

Mar 26, 2020
Courtesy of NM Craft Responders

In episode 29, we hear from people who are creating resources and helping out in their communities. Longtime organizer Selinda Guerrero talks about all of the people working together on the Mutual Aid network, providing food and other necessities to folks that many government efforts don't reach. Rebecca Jones talks about the grassroots Navajo and Hopi COVID-19 relief project started by Ethel Branch. Szu-Han Ho and Miriam Langer are two N.M. college art instructors mobilizing a network of people to sew reliable masks for folks in the state. Plus, Gilbert Ramírez, deputy director of the city's Health Programs, tells us about the rent relief fund.

YNMG & COVID: Home School

Mar 25, 2020
Moyan Brenn via Wikimedia Commons CC

In episode 28, we talk to parents about what it's like to become the primary educators of their kids—and to be at home with them pretty much around the clock. And Amy Biehl High School Counselor Kathleen Moore offers wisdom and tips on working with your teen in this new world. 

Nash Jones / KUNM

The New Mexico Department of Health on Mar. 13 restricted visitation to nursing facilities, whose residents are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. New Mexicans with loved ones who they can’t see now say communication, both from the facility and with their relatives, has been mixed.

CABQ GovTV

Since the coronavirus reached the U.S. after being first detected in China last year, there’s been a spike in cases of xenophobia and discrimination against Asians and Asian Americans across the nation. Albuquerque’s newest city councilor Lan Sena met with local Asian American community leaders this week to hear concerns and offer support. 

rpclod via Wikimedia / Creative Commons License


  Let's Talk New Mexico 1/16 8a: We’re going to look back at the local news stories that affected New Mexicans last year and at how they might develop in the year ahead. And we’re going to talk about how these topics will impact the upcoming legislative session. Our guests will walk us through their picks for the most notable, important or interesting news stories they covered in 2019—from immigration to liver transplants to education—and how it made a difference to the people who live in our state.

 

And we want to hear from you! What New Mexico news stories stood out for you in 2019? Or what national events affected your life? Email Letstalk@KUNM.org, tweet us at #LetsTalkNM, or call in live during the show.

 

Jeff Anderson via Flickr / Creative Commons License

An overdose-reversing medication has become an important tool in preventing opioid deaths. But it’s not as available in Albuquerque as it is in other parts of the state, according to a team of students at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, who released their findings earlier this month.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The South Valley near Albuquerque has a long history of agricultural practice. Friday, October 4, marked the grand opening of a state-of-the-art greenhouse that will help local farmers and serve as a site where young people can learn the tradition. The shared greenhouse is the first of its kind, and it sits on land that was once an illegal dumpsite.

Vaping Illness Cases Rise To 12 In New Mexico

Sep 11, 2019
Lindsay Fox via Flickr / Creative Commons License

There are more cases of vaping-related illnesses appearing all over the country, and New Mexico is no exception. 

Uninsured Rate Sees Biggest Increase In Years

Sep 10, 2019
Olga Kononenko via Unsplash / Unsplash license


The United States Census Bureau has found that the national number of people who are uninsured increased significantly last year. This marks the first such change since the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2010.

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For years, people who’d been in New Mexico prisons brought lawsuits and allegations about dangerously bad medical care, as well as sexual abuse by a prison doctor. According to The Santa Fe New Mexican, a report just came to light detailing the Department of Corrections failures—even though the state’s been trying to hide it.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Forty-five people turned in paperwork Tuesday to run for office in a slew of local elections in Bernalillo County. Local government, education, and soil and water conservancy seats will all be on county ballots this November.

robertelyov via Flickr / Creative Commons License

We’re two weeks into the school year and school-based health centers around New Mexico are still waiting on the state to finalize funding contracts.

Photo by Brett Andrei Martin on Unsplash / Unsplash license


The University of New Mexico School of Medicine has created a new office to address mistreatment of students, residents and fellows.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Creative Commons License

The Trump administration has issued a new rule that could deny visas and green cards to some immigrants if they use government assistance programs like Medicaid or food assistance, citing the need for self-sufficiency and the cost.

Ribona Weermeijer via Unsplash / Unsplash license

Studies about kidney disease in the United States have historically left out Native Americans, but a pair of researchers at the University of New Mexico have won a $3.5 million grant that they hope will make way for more equity in health care research. 

Tiny Home Village Finalizes ABQ Location

Jun 27, 2019
Courtesy Bernalillo County

 

A village of tiny homes for folks experiencing homelessness in Bernalillo County has officially nailed down a location. 

Most NM Kids Are Getting Measles Shots

Jun 6, 2019
Teseum via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Outbreaks of measles are popping up around the country, and more parents in New Mexico are requesting vaccine exemptions for their kids. But most kids here are getting vaccinated for measles.

UNM Doctor: Measles Will Come To N.M.

Apr 30, 2019
Daniel Paquet via Flickr / Creative Commons License


The United States is going through its largest measles outbreak since the disease was eliminated in 2000, with more than 700 cases in 22 states. There have been no reported cases of the measles in New Mexico, but local experts say that could change any day now.

Alcohol-Related Liver Disease Deaths Rise Sharply

Apr 26, 2019
Johann Trasch via Unsplash / Unsplash License


New Mexico has the highest alcohol-related death rate in the country. The leading cause is liver disease. And the rate of folks who are dying from alcohol-related liver disease rose by 35 percent over the last five years.

May Ortega | KUNM

Students and adults can get free, confidential health care at a school-based health center in Albuquerque's South Valley.

But leaders at the health center at Robert F. Kennedy Charter School say they’re anticipating they’ll lose their funding and shut down.

School-Based Health Centers, Explained

Apr 24, 2019
May Ortega | KUNM

Students in New Mexico often have more than just homework to deal with. Sometimes they’re fighting depression or they don’t have enough to eat at home. These aren’t the kinds of things you can go to the school nurse for.

But there are dozens of school-based health centers across New Mexico that do address these problems.

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