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.

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.

Report Shows Housing Becoming Costlier In New Mexico

Jun 28, 2013
The State of the Nation's Housing 2013 Report

The economy is improving, according to a new housing report, but the number of households spending more than 30-percent of their income on housing higher than ever.

The State of the Nation's Housing report for 2013, published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, says households that spend more than 30-percent of their income on housing are considered to be “cost-burdened.”

21 Percent Of New Mexico's Seniors Have Food Insecurity

Jun 18, 2013

One out of every five senior citizens in New Mexico isn't getting enough to eat, according to a report from United Health Foundation. New Mexico ranks 49th in the nation for food insecurity.

The America's Health Ranking Senior Report looks at general health and food insecurity, among other issues facing the aging population.

Friction Between State Agencies Escalates As Health Exchange Deadlines Near

Jun 17, 2013
zpeckler via Flickr

New details have emerged about changes that were made to a grant proposal the state submitted to the federal government related to the state's Health Insurance Exchange.

NM Vets Battle For Healthcare Off The Field

Jun 13, 2013
DVIDSHUB via Flickr

Veterans with combat disorders joined their families this week to express their frustration at how long it takes to get veterans services. Congressional representatives Steve Pearce and Michelle Lujan Grisham hosted the public forum in Albuquerque Monday.  

Fans ran at high speed in the American Legion Post 13 auditorium as outside temperatures inched up to 100 degrees.  Tensions were also heated among the families of veterans who've had trouble receiving healthcare services once they're off the battle field.  

US Department of Education

  Only half of the Native American students in the U.S. graduated from high school in 2010, according to a new report by the non-profit publisher of Education Week. The study found Native American students graduated at a rate 30 percent lower than white students, 17 percent lower than Latino students, and 10 percent lower than African American students.

New Mexico Ranks Highest For Childhood Hunger

Jun 10, 2013

The Southwest has some of the highest rates of childhood hunger in the country. That's according to a new study that says New Mexico is the most food insecure state in the nation.

The report, authored by Feeding America, ranked New Mexico first for child hunger, followed by Arizona in third place, Nevada in eighth, Texas in ninth place, and California in 10th. Sonya Warwick is with New Mexico's Roadrunner Food Bank.

Tainted Frozen Berries Spread Hepatitis-A Across West

Jun 6, 2013

More cases of Hepatitis ‘A’ found in tainted frozen berries from Costco Wholesale have been identified in New Mexico and the southwest, with 100 people who were exposed receiving a vaccination. At least 61 people are sick and have been hospitalized in seven states, including New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.   David Selvage is an epidemiologist with DOH.  He says people who have eaten the Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend frozen berries in the last 14 days should see their doctor or go to a clinic to get the Hepatitis-A vaccine.

EPA To Inspect Acoma Pueblo For Radioactive Materials

Jun 5, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency says they'll be inspecting properties on Acoma Pueblo in western New Mexico for radioactive materials. The assessment is one of numerous being conducted in the southwest, and in Indian Country.

Since 2009, the EPA says they've been doing structural assessments of properties near former uranium mills and mines, including the Navajo Nation, Laguna Pueblo and now Acoma Pueblo.

Free Summer Meals Program For Children Underway

Jun 4, 2013


Children who depend on free meals at school in New Mexico have a place to go this summer now that the state's summer meals program is up and running. 


The pre-packaged meals usually include a sandwich, carrots or another veggie, milk or juice and fruit, and for kids who might not otherwise get lunch at home during the summer months.  New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department doles out the money to schools and local government agencies that hand out the meals at  central locations in dozens of cities.  Henry Varela is CYFD's spokesman.


Federal Grant Will Mean HIV/AIDS Housing Help

May 31, 2013

People and families living with HIV/AIDS in northern New Mexico, will get help with housing, as a result of a federal grant award, for a one-of-a-kind assistance program.  

Navajo Nation In Violation Of HUD Grants

May 31, 2013

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD for short, says the Navajo Nation has failed to spend nearly $150-million in housing grant money for fiscal year 2012. Since 2000, the Navajo Nation have almost consistently failed to spend HUD grant money.

In a letter of warning to the Navajo Housing Authority, HUD gave notice that the tribe was in violation of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act.

NM Lawmakers Look For Ways To Replace Funding For SNAP

May 31, 2013

The effects of the sequester are beginning to hit home for many of New Mexico’s federally funded social programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that provides a small amount of grocery money for hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans each month.  Several speakers at the New Mexico State Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee meeting Thursday pointed out that New Mexico leads the nation in income inequality, making it one of the poorest states in the nation.  

New Mexico’s Public Defender’s office has been undergoing changes since voters approved a constitutional amendment creating an independent office last year.  A commission made up of 11 members appointed by Governor Susana Martinez and state legislators will select a chief public defender by mid-October, moving the department out of the governor’s authority.

clevercupcakes via Flickr

Some critically ill New Mexicans could end up paying more for their health care this year.

Almost 16 hundred New Mexicans are slated to be shifted out of a state high risk medical insurance pool into a new federal health coverage plan on July 1st. That's because the federal government is cutting funding for the state program to just over 12 million dollars.

But the new plan would cost more for the patients, many of whom suffer from HIV/AIDS, cancer, and diabetes -chronic diseases that are often quite expensive to treat.

NM Officials To Help Victims Of Unlicensed Dentist

May 20, 2013

New Mexico Department of Health officials want to help any victims of an unlicensed tooth doctor who was operating as a "mobile dentist" out of a sedan around Santa Fe.

State health officials are offering counseling and testing services for any victims of a man known as "El Dentista."

The services include no-cost confidential blood tests and referrals for additional services if needed.

Santa Fe police are trying to build a strong case against 36-year-old Eliver Kestler, also known as Eliver Lopez.