© New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils


  • 26 Mar 2015 12:15 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    We are happy to report that an appropriation of $200,000 is in the budget bill that was sent by the Legislature to the Governor, thanks to the efforts of Representative Sharon Clahchischilliage, Senator Howie Morales, and House Speaker Don Tripp.  We are extremely grateful to these and other legislative allies of the health councils.  We are also grateful to all those health council members who have worked so hard on this process and made key contributions along the way.


    The next step is the review of the budget by the Governor and her staff, with the possibility of exercising her pocket veto power over individual items in the budget.  We are asking everyone--health council coordinators and members, and others who are familiar with the important work of the health councils--to contact Governor Martinez to ask her to approve this particular appropriation (i.e., to not veto it), which says: 


     "Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for county and tribal councils to identify local community health needs."  


    The exact wording in the original legislation was "to identify and address local community health needs."  In your communications to the Governor, it is probably worth mentioning that health councils not only identify local health needs; they also develop community action plans and actions to address those needs.  This funding, like previous appropriations, will be administered by the Department of Health, and will be added to the current recurring budget item of $195,000, which has translated into $5,000/health council.


    I have attached sample of a letter that might be used.  However, this is only a suggestion; it is important to make it local:  to state in your own words what your health council has been able to do in your community, and how much more it will be able to do with additional funding.  You can emphasize that health councils have demonstrated their ability to bring people together to improve the health of everyone, including children, families, and seniors.  They have local support, and they bring in additional resources to communities to create healthier communities.  



    Governor Susana Martinez

    Office of the Governor

    490 Old Santa Fe Trail, #400

    Santa Fe, NM 87501


    Telephone calls:(505) 476-2200


    e-mail messages:  fill out the Contact Form at: http://www.governor.state.nm.us/Contact_the_Governor.aspx.


    Contacts to the Governor should be made as soon as possible.  


    Thank you all for your amazing work, and thank you for helping in this collaborative effort to restore partial State funding to the health councils.



  • 13 Feb 2015 1:55 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    The Senate Indian and Cultural Affairs today voted a "Do-Pass" on SB79, the health council funding legislation sponsored by Senator Howie Morales.  Several people were on hand to testify, if necessary, on behalf of the legislation:  Dick Mason from Sandoval, Patricia Boies from Santa Fe, Lore Pease from Rio Arriba, and Kim Gabaldon from Los Alamos County.  This follows a similar action by the House Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee yesterday, with HB99, the companion bill in the House, sponsored by Representative Sharon Clahchischilliage.


    The next step will be for an appropriation to be incorporated into the House Budget Bill, HB2, by the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.  The budget will then go over to the Senate Finance Committee for modifications.  The goal is to get the entire $900,000 incorporated into the house budget, and failing that, to have the full amount inserted on the Senate side.  It is clear that in the Legislature we have increasingly wide understanding and support for the health councils, and their role as a vital part of the New Mexico's public health system.  We also have able and committed allies in Rep. Clahchischilliage and Senator Morales.  Our major challenges are the increasingly pessimistic revenue forecasts (based on the price of oil), and the fact that the health council funding was not included in the original Executive and Legislative Finance Committee budgets.


    It will be extremely important to contact legislators to ask for their support for this appropriation--and especially those on the House and Senate finance committees.  Members of these two committees are listed below.  


    Thanks to everyone for your active support and continued great work.


  • 02 Feb 2015 2:38 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)
    Bill Weise at Public Health DayRetta Ward at NM Public Health DayHowie Morales at NM Public Health Day

    The NM Alliance of Health Councils worked with the NM Public Health Association, NM Dept. of Health, and 20 other groups to organize a Public Health Day at the Legislature on January 26.  In addition to information tables from the participating agencies and organizations, there was a program of speakers that included Dr. Bill Wiese of UNM and representatives of NMPHA and NM Dept. of Health.


    Senator Howie Morales gave an impassioned talk in support of the health council legislation.  DOH Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward made a surprise visit, gave a very supportive talk, and stayed for the entire program.  The program began with a musical presentation by interns from the Explora Museum in Albuquerque, under the able direction of Marsha McMurray-Avila.  In addition, several representatives of health councils spoke about their work:


    Marsha McMurray-Avila, Coordinator, Bernalillo County Health Council

    Richard Kozoll, MD, Sandoval County Health Council

    Judy Williams, Ph.D. , Chair, Santa Fe Health Policy & Planning Commission

    Chris DeBolt, Coordinator, Grant Co. Community Health Council

    Lauren Reichelt, Health & Human Services Director, Rio Arriba County


    Many thanks to the speakers and to everyone who worked so hard to make this event a success--both in terms of getting the word out, and in bringing together many of the key players in the larger public health community in New Mexico.

  • 02 Feb 2015 2:20 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)



    Mobilizing Communities for Health



    Legislation to restore funding to the health councils has been filed in both houses of the New Mexico Legislature:


    House Bill 99, sponsored by Representative Sharon Clahchischilliage, R-San Juan County

    Senate Bill 79, sponsored by Senator Howie Morales, D-Grant County


    Both bills use identical language:  


    $900,000 is appropriated from the general fund to the department of health for expenditure in fiscal year 2016 to fund county and tribal health councils' identification of local communities' health needs and development of strategies to address those needs pursuant to the maternal and Child Health Plan Act.


    HB 99 has been assigned to two committees:  


    House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs

    House Appropriations and Finance


    The legislative process for these bills will include the following steps:

    1. Bill analysis and Fiscal Impact Report are conducted by the NM Dept. of Health.  (The Fiscal Impact Report has been completed and includes references to evaluation data showing that health councils have been able to raise/leverage substantial amounts of outside funding.)
    2. House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee will review and vote on HB99.  Rep. Clahchischilliage, sponsor of HB99, is a member of this committee.
    3. House Appropriations and Finance Committee will review and vote on HB99.  This committee will decide whether to include the requested appropriation in House Bill 2, the budget bill.  Once the funding is included in the budget, HB99 will no longer be a separate, numbered bill.
    4. HB2, the House budget, will then go to the Senate Finance Committee, which may opt to approve the appropriation or to increase the amount.  Sen. Howie Morales is on Senate Finance, so he will be in a position to insert or increase an appropriation to support health councils.
    5. The budget will be voted on by the full Senate and sent to the Governor.
    6. The Governor will sign, veto, or line item veto the budget.  (We have met with staff members in the Governor's office, and they now have a clear understanding of the health council funding legislation.  We are also confident that the Department of Health will recommend keeping any health council appropriation.)

    Steps 2-6 are all potential points of intervention in which it will be important let legislators (and finally, Governor Martinez) know that you support the restoration of funding for the health councils, and you urge its approval.  The NM Alliance of Health Councils send e-mail alerts at various points in the process, urging everyone to make their feelings known, first to legislators, and then to the Governor.


    Thanks to the county and tribal health councils and their partner organizations for building this movement toward healthier communities throughout New Mexico.  



  • 08 Jan 2015 7:36 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    There is a planned Public Health Day at the Legislature on Monday, January 26, 2015.  Over 20 groups will have exhibit tables set up throughout the day, and will available from 8 AM to 5 PM, although many groups may leave by mid-afternoon.  There will be a program of speakers and music during the noon hour.


    There are still a few spaces left for tables.  If your health council or organization would like to have a table, please contact Ron Hale at ronhale@aol.com or Dick Mason at polirich@aol.com


    This should be a great event, as well as an opportunity to interact with legislators and others at the State Capitol, and to spread the word about New Mexico's health councils.


    Thanks, and we wish you all the best for a great New Year!

  • 17 Oct 2014 1:59 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    The New Mexico Department of Health has been working with the county-based health councils to compile important data regarding health status indicators and demographics, with the help of contracted epidemiologist David Broudy.  The health councils have been analyzing and interpreting the data as part of engaging their own communities in conducting local community health assessments.  For more information, please contact each health council directly.  Tribal health councils have also been conducting community health assessments, but as sovereign nations, their data is not made available to the general public.

  • 26 Sep 2014 3:12 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    Participants will learn the basics of how to use data as a community engagement tool, with emphasis on how to find, explore and put to use health and social information about NM neighborhoods at five interactive websites:  New Mexico Indicator Based Information System,  American Factfinder,  Share NM,  Community Commons, and the New Mexico Community Data Collaborative

    These skills will help you to facilitate group discussions and participatory data exploration or decision making. Use your new skills for grant proposals, public health program planning and management, efficient targeting of resources, health impact assessments and policy debates.

    Bring your laptop or tablet with wireless capability. 

    DATE: Friday, October 3, 2014

    TIME:  8:30 AM – 12:30 PM


    Road Runner Food Bank

    5840 Office Blvd NE

    Albuquerque, NM 87109

     (505) 247-2052


    FACILITATORS: Sarah Haynes, Larry Heard and Tom Scharmen, NM Department of Health, NMCDC


    RSVP: Sarah Haynes, mcglothster@gmail.com, (505-459-9527); Tom Scharmen, thomas.scharmen@state.nm.us, (505-897-5700 x126)



  • 08 Sep 2014 12:11 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    Laura Jaramillo, long-time Coordinator of the Cibola County Comprehensive Health Council, has recently been appointed as City Manager for the City of Grants.  Laura has been an effective leader of the health council in Grants and an active participant in the NM Alliance of Health Councils.  We wish Laura well in her new position. Sherri Kachirisky will be succeeding Laura as the new Coordinator of the Cibola County Comprehensive Health Council Administrative Director at Future Foundations.  Sherri can be reached by phone at 505-285-3542, extension 102, and by e-mail Familycenter44@yahoo.com.  We welcome Sherri to the statewide community of health councils and look forward to working together.

  • 21 Jul 2014 2:01 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    To:  Members and Friends of the NM Alliance of Health Councils

    The NM Alliance of Health Councils recently submitted a letter in support of a Federal grant application by the the DOH Office of Policy and Accountability for a State Innovative Model (SIM) program, which could involve a major re-design of the state's health systems, with a greater focus on public health and "upstream" approaches. The proposal includes a request for $300,000 in funding for the health councils and $50,000 for the Alliance--both to support stakeholder engagement in the state's health system.  We very much welcome this potential funding for the health councils, which we should know about in a few months. 

    The Alliance will continue to work with the Legislature and the Executive Branch to restore sufficient funding for each health council to hire at least a half-time coordinator. 
    The need for this funding is critical.  Expectations placed on the health councils are increasing.  Statewide organizations and agencies continue to view the councils as a vital link to communities--for data-gathering, communication, and implementing public health informational campaigns and other initiatives.

    The J. Paul Taylor Task Force, under its mandates from the 2013 and 2014 Legislative sessions, is recommending using the health councils as community hubs, to conduct gaps analyses and to coordinate screenings, services, and policies to strengthen early childhood health and development services.  These efforts build on the health councils' demonstrated strengths in coordinating, convening, policy development, and bringing resources to communities.  It is likely that the JPT Task Force will again recommend up to $900,000 in funding for the health councils.

    The DOH Office of Policy and Accountability is proposing to participate in regional meetings of health council representatives over the next few months to gather input/feedback on the State Health Assessment and to obtain "snapshots" of health and health care in New Mexico communities.  We recommended working wherever possible with regional Health Promotion Teams, the Alliance of Health Councils, and the Health Equity Partnership to piggyback with currently scheduled regional meetings

    Members of the Alliance Executive Committee are scheduled to meet with DOH Secretary Ward in early August to discuss these and other matters.  It will be an opportunity to provide the Secretary with updates on Alliance activities and plans for the coming year, and to discuss the various initiatives for potential health council funding

    Thank you all for your vital work to improve the health of all New Mexicans.

  • 17 Jul 2014 11:05 PM | Ron Hale (Administrator)

    After eight months of gathering input from health council representatives and others, the New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils has finished its 2014/2015 Strategic Plan, with goals, objectives, and activities in the areas of Organizational Development, Policy, Resource Development, and Capacity Building.

    Click here to see the Strategic Plan.  Many thanks to all those who participated in the planning process.  Please review the Plan and send any comments or questions to ronhale@aol.com

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