KUNM

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.

May Ortega | KUNM / KUNM Radio

Having a lot of abandoned or foreclosed homes in your community can hurt morale and drag down property values. A group of neighborhood associations in Southeast Albuquerque are taking things into their own hands.

Hannah Colton/KUNM

School districts in New Mexico have options when it comes to trying to protect students and staff from violence. Rio Rancho Public Schools recently rolled out armed security guards, and not everyone is happy with that decision.

Pre-Existing Conditions Bill Heads To Governor

Mar 15, 2019
401(K)2013 via Wikimedia / CREATIVE COMMONS

The Affordable Care Act says health insurers can’t deny coverage for someone or charge them more if they have a pre-existing condition.

State senators approved a local measure 21-14 Thursday night that would protect folks in case that law is weakened or repealed. It now heads to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's desk.

Hannah Colton / KUNM Public Radio

On Friday, lawmakers advanced a bill that would make it easier for New Mexico school districts to recruit retired law enforcement officers to work as school security guards. The proposal took form in the wake of the December 2017 school shooting in Aztec, in which two students were killed. 

Senate OKs Medicaid Coverage Of Tobacco Cessation

Mar 13, 2019
Julia via Flickr / Creative Commons Attribution License


The state Senate unanimously passed a bill this week to have Medicaid cover services to help people quit smoking.

 

Under the proposal, Medicaid would pay for counseling, medications and other resources that help get folks off cigarettes, e-cigs and chewing tobacco.

Hannah Colton / KUNM Public Radio

The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission will hold a series of public hearings throughout March to gather reports of mistreatment of Native American students in K-12 schools in and around the Navajo Nation. 

Austin Fisher | Rio Grande Sun / Courtesy of the Rio Grande Sun

Española residents didn’t know about drinking water contamination for months. Thursday city officials issued a warning about high levels of nitrates in the city’s water that could be harmful to children and pregnant women and possibly fatal for infants.

Public Health New Mexico’s May Ortega spoke with Austin Fisher who broke the story this week for the Rio Grande Sun. He says test results show contaminant levels are lower now than they were in the fall.

NM Legislature webcast

With a little over a week left in the session, some lawmakers aren’t ready to give up on a proposal to devote more Land Grant Permanent Fund earnings to early childhood education. A bill that would have put the idea to voters died in the Senate Rules Committee earlier this week. But Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham showed up at a committee hearing this morning to push for a scaled-back version.

David Holt via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A bill that would require universal background checks for almost all gun sales is a signature away from becoming law in New Mexico.

More than two-dozen sheriffs signed a letter opposing it, but the Albuquerque Police Department’s on board.

N.M. Could Boost School Health Center Funding

Mar 5, 2019
Nduati.githae via Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons

 

School-based health centers provide basic health care to students across the state. Several communities have lost theirs due to budget cuts over the last few years.

But some advocates are optimistic that these health care hubs could be revitalized this session.

Fibonacci Blue via Flickr / Creative Commons


Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is expected to sign a measure into law that will require background checks for virtually all private gun sales except for sales of antiques and between relatives.

 

Gun safety advocates have been pushing for this type of legislation for years.

Ammodramus / Creative Commons

Nearly a quarter of New Mexicans live in rural areas, where things like high-speed internet, free meeting spaces and educational opportunities can be scarce. Public libraries are sometimes the only place to access those resources, and most are run on shoestring budgets or with volunteer support. Lawmakers have been looking at a bill to provide a permanent source of funding to rural libraries, but state Senators took most of the money out before passing it on the Senate floor on Friday. 

Courtesy of the Adelante Development Center / Adelante Development Center

 

Some folks who receive Social Security disability benefits qualify for a free federal work program that can help them find a job.

Few eligible New Mexicans actually enrolled in the program last year, but participation is improving some.

Ken Lund / Creative Commons

Let's Talk New Mexico 2/28 8a: Public charter schools play an important and often controversial role in our education system. On the show, we'll ask how charter schools can be great at meeting students’ unique needs, even while the charter school system can exacerbate inequalities between public schools. Do you or someone you know work at or go to a charter school? How did that go? We’d like to hear from you. Email LetsTalk@kunm.org, tweet your comment with the hashtag #LetsTalkNM, or call in live during the show.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Tucked inside a major education bill New Mexico lawmakers are considering is an age cap that would ban public schools from getting funding for students older than 21. The idea is that anyone 22-and-up could pursue the GED instead of a high school diploma, but staff and students at Gordon Bernell Charter School (GBCS) in Albuquerque are calling for lawmakers to spare their program.

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