Evaluation results. A three-year evaluation by the University of New Mexico and the NM Dept. of Health found that the health councils did in fact accomplish outcomes that will improve public health in New Mexico. The evaluation found that the councils serve as hubs for public health in their communities, and in a three year period the councils:
- Developed 142 new programs and initiatives leading to improvements in community health. They also played key roles in addressing emerging health issues, such as the H1N1 epidemic.
- Influenced policies to improve public health at the local, regional, and state levels. They helped to build coalitions, task forces, and public/private collaborations to improve immunization rates, reduce teen pregnancy, prevent suicides, reduce childhood obesity, improve access to health care.
- Leveraged $3.5 million in new funding for communities to support local health initiatives and priorities (not including state funding for the health councils themselves
Overall, New Mexico’s health councils have proven to be an effective means of improving the health of our citizens, as well as serving as a vital link between counties and tribal communities and state agencies.