Public Health New Mexico

Mission

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.

We cover the politicians, the policies, and the agencies responsible for sustaining public health and solving poverty. To fully report on these topics, we give voice to those who are voiceless in the media: people and practitioners; advocates and analysts; researchers and activists; and people hoping to build a better way of life. Through our work, citizens are engaged, government is made more accountable, and the profile of public health and poverty is elevated by expanded public discourse and civic engagement.

This project has been sustained by support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundationthe McCune Charitable FoundationCon Alma Health Foundation. and private donors.

KUNM broadcasts on transmitter throughout central and northern New Mexico, reaching more than half the state’s population.  Nielsen Audio Research from Fall 2014 shows 100,000 people a week listen to KUNM.

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Let's Talk New Mexico 3/23, 8a: The coronavirus outbreak has everyone talking and thinking about the same thing, so each morning this week, we'll be coming to you live with special call-in shows all about local responses to COVID-19. We want to hear how you're holding up. What questions or concerns do you have about the way New Mexico agencies are addressing this public health crisis? How are you staying safe and caring for your community during this time of social distancing? Email letstalk@kunm.org, tweet at us with #LetsTalkNM, or call in live during the show at (505) 277-5866. If you're outside of the ABQ Metro area, the number is 1-877-899-5866. 

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. 

courtesy of GBCS

 

UPDATE 1/31 2p: Peña-Hanson says she is no longer supporting both bills and that Gordon Bernell Charter School will focus only on HB 152.

New Mexico lawmakers are considering setting aside $6 million dollars in the higher education budget for some charter schools that educate adults. Last year, legislators changed the K-12 funding formula so public schools can no longer get money for students who are over 21. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The 2020 census starts in a couple months, and organizers are reaching out to populations in New Mexico that historically were undercounted. A bill to spend $8 million on outreach efforts passed its first legislative hurdle on Thursday, Jan. 23. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

New Mexico lawmakers in 2019 set aside funding for extended learning time, which several Albuquerque schools took advantage of this year. Now, all Albuquerque public schools are being asked to consider adding 10 days to their year, sparking concern and confusion among teachers and parents at year-round schools.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The 2020 Census is coming up this spring. The once-every-decade survey determines how much federal funding New Mexico gets for things like food and housing assistance, and the state stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars for even a slight undercount. Now, organizers across Bernalillo County are strategizing to get as many residents as possible to fill out that form.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Thousands of people go without permanent housing in Albuquerque each year. Voters this fall approved $14 million taxpayer dollars for a new emergency shelter, and the City Council has approved an architect for the project. But the city’s plan is still unclear, and many people say they’d rather have several smaller sites than one big centralized shelter.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

At a town hall in Albuquerque on Wednesday, Dec. 18, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham presented her top education priorities for the 30-day legislative session that starts next month. She’s asking lawmakers to set aside $35 million to make college tuition-free for New Mexico residents starting in fall 2020, and for $300 million to start a trust fund for early childhood programs. Many attendees came looking for details on how the state is addressing serious disparities in public schools. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Albuquerque’s local elections this fall drew more than a dozen candidates for four City Council seats, but in the end, the governing body will change by just one. Longtime Councilor Brad Winter had his final meeting on Monday, Dec. 16.

Political newcomer Brook Bassan beat Ane Romero in the December runoff and will take the seat next month, making it the first time the nine-person council will be majority women. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The Albuquerque city government is considering where to build a new emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Voters last month approved $14 million in bonds for the new facility, but what it will look like, and where, are still to be determined. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Across New Mexico, public schools fail to provide bilingual instruction that’s appropriate for Native American students. Educators at a tribal education center in the Pueblo of Zuni have recieved a state grant to teach Zuni language in a way they say is more connected to their culture.  

courtesy of Kara Bobroff

Eight northern New Mexico schools are getting extra state funding to better serve Native American students. The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) has awarded $800,000 dollars for indigenous education initiatives that districts will develop with tribes and community partners over a three-year period.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The Albuquerque Public Schools board is starting its search for a new superintendent, after Raquel Reedy announced she’ll step down next summer. Community members can tell the board what they want to see in the district’s new leader online or at a series of meetings in late November and early December. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Throughout U.S. history, industries that dump toxic waste into the air, water and soil get put in neighborhoods where low-income people of color live. Advocates from historic neighborhoods in Albuquerque are calling for a real chance to make changes to city zoning rules, because they say the city's planning process was racially biased and ignored their concerns in favor of developers. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Parents, educators and tribal leaders from several Pueblos in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation gathered this week in Albuquerque to advocate for better public schooling. It’s been just over a year since a racist incident on Halloween in 2018, when students say their English teacher used a slur and cut a Native American students’ hair. Some say the district has not done enough to address the incident, and APS officials say there's a related lawsuit pending against the district. A few dozen community members attended a forum on Thursday, Nov. 14. 

InmateAid.com

Young people who have been arrested in New Mexico often have to wait for weeks or months before a judge hears their case. But the number of juvenile detention facilities has shrunk by about half since 2015, so more youth are being detained far from home. County officials say that’s a strain on the criminal justice system and it puts young people at risk.

Pelatia Trujillo, Bernalillo County Community Health Council


Dozens of organizations around New Mexico help folks who are addicted to opioids. The Bernalillo County Community Health Council is one of them.

 

Council organizers Christine Mintz and Pelatia Trujillo came into our studios to tell us about their work to address opioid addiction. Stigma around addiction and can affect patients and health care providers alike.

Hannah Colton / KUNM


    

New Mexico politicians paid lip service this election cycle to a landmark education ruling about inequities in public schools. But no one was drawing a line between the Yazzie-Martinez case and an issue that’s had students walking out of classes this fall – climate change. Verland Coker, a 26-year-old Albuquerque school board candidate, makes that connection, calling out the hypocrisy of an education system here that relies on oil and gas money.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Three school board seats in New Mexico’s largest district were up for grabs in this week’s election, as leaders across the state are still grappling with educational inequities surfaced by a lawsuit last year. Ballots were counted Tuesday night, and voters in Albuquerque re-elected all three sitting school board members. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

People in far Northeast Albuquerque were set to elect a new city councilor for the first time in 20 years on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Councilor Brad Winter is giving up his seat in District 4, and three candidates campaigned for his spot. But none of them cornered over 50 percent of the vote, which is what it takes to win. So Brook Bassan and Ane Romero are heading for a runoff. KUNM spoke to voters in District 4 on Election Day.

HANNAH COLTON / KUNM

Voters in Albuquerque will choose three new school board members on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Those officials will shape the district’s budget and policies, and they’ll hire a new superintendent—all at a time when a landmark education ruling points to huge disparities in the quality of public schooling kids get across the state. KUNM’s Marisa Demarco spoke with education reporter Hannah Colton about what’s at stake with the school board race.

VCU Capital News Service via Flickr / Creative Commons License


Hundreds of New Mexicans die from opioid overdoses every year. A new law went into effect this summer that requires patients who are getting prescriptions for five days or more of opioids to be given the overdose-reversing medication naloxone as well. 

TaxRebate.org.uk / Creative Commons

The Albuquerque school board election this fall has six candidates vying for three seats. Candidates have raised tens of thousands of dollars, with the bulk of those campaign contributions coming from businesses and labor unions. 

KUNM

The Albuquerque Public School board members control a massive budget and policies affecting more than 80,000 students. Three seats are up for election this fall, and KUNM invited candidates on to a live radio show on Oct. 24 to ask what they hope to do about longstanding disparities related to race, language access, class and disability. 

courtesy of Kimberlee Hanson / GBCS

Gordon Bernell Charter School fills a gap in New Mexico’s education system, helping adults in jail or who have previously been incarcerated to build the skills they need to finish high school. The school’s future is uncertain after the state Legislature this year banned schools from claiming Public Education Department funding for students over age 21. Leaders at the school went before lawmakers this week to ask for a stable funding source.

Planting Trees To Cool Down ABQ's South Valley

Oct 22, 2019
May Ortega | KUNM

Areas with less vegetation tend to be hotter than places with more greenery. That’s according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which also says folks can reduce high temperatures in their area by planting more trees.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Let’s Talk NM 10/24 8a: Members of the Albuquerque Public Schools board control a massive budget and policies affecting more than 80,000 students. Plus, they’ll hire the next superintendent. On Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll have the APS board candidates in studio, and we want your questions for them. What inequities do you see in Albuquerque schools? What should district leadership do about disparities related to race, language access, class and ability?

Hannah Colton / KUNM

University of New Mexico faculty voted to unionize this week, which means labor relations in the future will be negotiated through two separate collective bargaining units. The win for the United Academics of UNM (UA-UNM) comes after years of organizing by faculty who say they want fair compensation and better working conditions.

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.

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