© New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils

Santa Fe County Health Policy and Planning Commission

The Santa Fe County Health Policy and Planning Commission (HPPC) is charged
by the Santa Fe County Board of County Commissioners with recommending
health policies, conducting an assessment of the health care needs of Santa Fe County
residents, and preparing a health action plan. In 2013, “Santa Fe County in 2013:
A Community Health Profile”
was completed. It was sponsored jointly by the HPPC,
Santa Fe County Community Services Department, and CHRISTUS St. Vincent
Regional Medical Center.

Utilizing the socioeconomic, demographic, and health findings of the Community Health Profile, and following community input and a priority-setting process, the HPPC prepared a health action plan for the County and for  the community as a whole.   The action plan was approved the Santa Fe County Board of County Commissioners as “Santa Fe County Health Action Plan FY 2015-2017.”

The HPPC identified overarching issues and also topic-specific health goals. The overarching issues affecting health include demographic issues undefined poverty, disparities by ethnicity, the growing and aging population, and also provider issues – the availability of sufficient workforce to provide health care, the importance of prevention and treatment, and the need for greater coordination of services across agencies.

The six high-priority health goals for Santa Fe County are:

1.   Increase enrollment of residents in health insurance

2.   Reduce alcohol abuse

3.   Reduce drug abuse

4.   Reduce low birth weight

5.   Reduce suicides

6.   Increase consumption of healthy food


Specified health indicators will measure progress on the goals over time.  Each high priority goal sets forth specific actions for County government and proposed actions for the community as a whole. 

Santa Fe County Health Action Plan FY 2015-2017, as well as Santa Fe County in 2013: A Community Health Profile, can be found on the County website www.santafecountynm.gov. If you have questions, call Patricia Boies, Health Division Director at Santa Fe County Community Services Department, at (505) 995-9538.

Rio Arriba County Health Council

The Rio Arriba Community Health Council (RACHC) is the advisory board designated by the Rio Arriba Board of County Commissioners to address issues broadly related to health and human services.

The RACHC came into existence when the previous stand-alone health council dissolved. Staff were absorbed by the county to form New Mexico’s first county-run Health and Human Services Department, which provides health planning, care coordination and direct case management services in the Detention Center, Senior Centers and Emergency Room. The RACHC developed plans and millions in funding to create the Rio Arriba Health Commons, a state-of-the-art one-stop shop housing the Espanola Public Health Office, RAHHS and El Centro Family Health. The Council also acquired approximately $30,000 for the County’s mobile immunization unit.  

The RACHC serves as the community hub for health, evaluating data and setting outcomes for RAHHS’ Pathways Care Coordination Program, which has been recognized as a national model by both AHRQ and CMS. The RACHC developed the first City of Espanola/County of Rio Arriba Joint Affordable Housing Plan (and raised $30,000 to complete the plan). Member agencies are well on the way to developing a tax credit application for an $11 million dollar, award-winning, multi-income rental structure including open space, green building, community garden and on-site case management. The RACHC also brought member organizations together to create the Hunter Center for Arts and Agriculture, collocating the food hub run by Siete Del Norte, the Espanola Community Market (a food coop selling locally grown pesticide free food), and Moving Arts Espanola, a dance school for youth. The RACHC was instrumental in raising $290,000 from the state legislature to fund the first phase of this project. The Center is revitalizing Espanola’s Main Street, creating economic opportunities for local farmers, increasing food access, and providing after-school opportunities for youth.

The council has started up jail diversion, care coordination and hospital emergency room diversion programs and is currently partnering with Lovelace to explore the creation of a Health Information Exchange to include all of the County’s medical and behavioral health providers. The RACHC has brought Rio Arriba from last in the state to second for senior immunizations by holding immunization fairs at senior centers. In addition, it hosts medication reconciliation clinics at the centers. RACHC members are conducting an education campaign aimed at lowering the county’s high rate of overdose death by helping the public to understand the dangers of mixing drugs, helping family members to recognize and intervene in an overdose in progress and finding ways to make Narcan readily available.

The RACHC hosts a large annual health fair every August, and this year, worked with Santa Clara Pueblo to institute the first Run, Walk, Ride from Santa Clara to the new food hub downtown. The RACHC takes on large issues and it often succeeds! The Rio Arriba Community Health Council meets the second Wednesday of the month from 10:00am – 12:00pm (this can change depending on if there is a guest speaker or special event taking place) at the Rio Arriba Health Commons located at 2010 Industrial Park Road Espanola, NM 87532.

The Rio Arriba County Health Council meets the 2nd Wednesday of the month, 10 am – 12 pm, at the Rio Arriba Health Commons, located at 2010 Industrial Park Road, Espanola.

Taos Cares

Taos CARES Health Council is back, having reconvened after a 3-year hibernation in December of 2013 with wide-sector participation from community agencies, the Taos Pueblo, neighborhood associations throughout the county, and engaged community members. Taos CARES’ top four priority areas align with those identified in the 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by its fiscal agent Taos Health Systems (http://taoshospital.org/About-Us/single_post/taos-community-health-needs-assessment-and-the-taos-health-council). These are: 1) Access and Affordability; 2) Mental Health; 3) Substance Abuse; and 4) Maternal Child Health.

As an umbrella organization for the many agencies and grassroots efforts in Taos already working to address those issues, Taos CARES has engaged active community groups such as the Crisis Systems of Care, Taos Alive and Recovery Friendly Taos, and the Paso a Paso early childhood network, all of which function as expert working groups reporting in to the Health Council on improving health outcomes in these areas. In order to share information on community health needs, Taos CARES is hosting a series of neighborhood-based listening sessions throughout the county, with a focus on community engagement and policy change.

The Taos County Health Council meets the 3rd Wednesday of every month, 1:30 – 3:30 pm at the Hotel Don Fernando, located at 1005 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos.

Santa Clara Pueblo

The Health Committee is conducting monthly committee meetings inviting key members of various community agencies within and near Santa Clara Pueblo to discuss various health topics and upcoming events to plan and collaborate on events and share health information through flyers postings etc. Recent collaboration include 2013 community health fair, food tastings in the community library, speakers on health topics for the community and youth, spring kids gathering  and collaboration w Santa Clara Pueblo CHR department on the upcoming men’s health fair. The Los Alamos Cancer Society  provided a small grant to the Santa Clara Library  to purchase cancer prevention materials which will be furnished to participants at the fair. Currently the Committee has just completed a community wide health survey to update the 2007 SCP Health profile. Other issues addressed will include input on a school wellness policy, and collaboration with Santa Clara Day School After School Program and IAIA on a Snap Ed. Grant.

The Santa Clara Health Committee meets on the 3rd Thursday of every month, usually at 9 – 11 am, at the Santa Clara Pueblo Community Library, located on State Road 30 (Los Alamos Highway), #1 Kee Street, Espanola.

San Miguel County

The San Miguel County Health Council, based in Las Vegas, is a solid, effective health council focused on improving the community throughout the entire county.  Currently, the council is focused on updating their Community Health Improvement Plan, and supporting efforts that bring funding into San Miguel County and positively impact the health status of its community members.  During this past year the San Miguel Health Council has:

  •  Worked in collaboration with Alta Vista Regional Hospital and other agencies, to establish a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) unit in Las Vegas.  Currently, there are two nurses who will be trained as SANE examiners, and will be housed at the hospital. 
  •   Partnered with UNM to give West Las Vegas Schools an opportunity to learn about eating more nutritious meals and snacks, and research about what types of foods are available in their community.  The Health Council members collaborated with the LV city schools to do an analysis of cafeteria foods by measuring the amounts of food that were discarded daily from the student lunches.  This led the LVCS Board of Education to review and revise their nutrition policy to provide more nutritionally balanced and appealing meals to the students. 
  • Partnered with Dr Joe Whitman and Dr. Galen Loughrey from El Centro Clinic to develop prescription trail booklet.  Using information from the NM Department of Health Diabetes and Prevention Program, the booklet was recently finalized and distributed in hard copy.

For the upcoming year, the San Miguel Health Council will:

  • Continue to organize a community of Care team that will focus on the continuum of care for youth with behavioral health issues or who are in the juvenile justice system. 
  • Continue partnering with UNM on various grants that focus on researching behavioral, social and cultural backgrounds which determine health disparities among minority populations. 
  • Continue working with the Department of Health in assessing community health needs, and improving the priority areas the council focuses on.  These areas include diabetes and obesity , teen pregnancy, access to care, interpersonal violence, and substance abuse.
  The San Miguel County Health Council meets the 4th Tuesday of every month, 10 am – 12 pm.

Guadalupe County

Guadalupe County is a strong health council that is based in Santa Rosa, NM, but is also focusing on community health improvement in Vaughn and Anton Chico.  It has received CDC Community Transformation Grant (CTG) funding for the past three years to make positive changes in children’s access to healthy lifestyle choices in Guadalupe County.  They have worked for the past 3 years to accomplish:

  •  Updating school wellness policies to change disciplinary techniques to not include taking away a child’s lunch, providing more fruits and vegetables for lunch time by creating a salad bar, and promoting more activity and a child’s day.
  • Created a mileage club.  This is where a child can decide where “theoretically” he/she would like to walk (I.e. Denver, Co.) and then spend the year walking those miles at school to accomplish their goal.  They receive tokens for each mile they walk. 
  • Develop the current open spaces in Santa Rosa, Vaughn and Anton Chico.  They have cleaned up their local parks with the help of volunteers, painted the play structure with donated paint, and make the parks safer, and more accessible to promote more use by parents and children.
  • Created weekly fruit and vegetable tastings in the classroom to bring a variety of fruits and veggies that the children might not have ever tasted before.
  • Work on a Farm to School Initiative.  Local produce has been sold to schools to be used on their salad bar to increase the children’s access to fresher, locally grown health foods. 
  • Initiate the Governor’s challenge.  Each school participates in a 21 day challenge to increase its fruits and veggies to 5 times a day, reduce its “screen time” (T.V. and video game time) to two hours a day, have physical activity for at least one hour a day, and increase its water intake. 
  • Create a farmers’ market in Santa Rosa. 

The Guadalupe Health Council will continue their forward movement with community health improvement in spite of the federal government suspending funding for the CTG grant.  The Health council will continue to support the schools to improve and implement their school wellness policies and access to community parks will continue to strengthen and support the local Farmers’ Market in an effort to support local farmers and bring healthy locally grown foods to its community members.

Mora County

Mora County Health Council is based out of the small town of Mora.  The Health Council has been focused on improving overall health of their rural county, but after the Department of Health lost its funding for health councils, Mora County Health council struggled to maintain membership and focus on their goals.  In an effort to continue to focus on health and continue to gather, the county decided to merge with the local DWI taskforce meeting.  The joint efforts have been successful, ad eh health council continues to hold annual health fairs, focus on access to care. It also strongly concentrates on reducing the number of DWI’s and repeat offenders in Mora County. 

With the help of Department of Health money, Mora County has used its county statistics to engage their community and find out what the major concerns or priorities are in Mora County.  At the conclusion of its conversation with the community, Mora County has decided to focus on the following priorities in the upcoming years.

  •  Alcohol Abuse
  •  Substance Abuse
  •  Underage Drinking

The Mora County Health Council meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month, 1:30 – 3:00 pm.

San Ildefonso Pueblo

The Pueblo De San Ildefonso is a federally recognized tribe and one of the nineteen pueblos still in existence in New Mexico. There are approximately 750 people live in the tribe. San Ildefonso is one of the five remaining Tewa-speaking tribes. The Rio Grande River bisects the Pueblo.

The boundaries of the tribe extend onto the lands owned and occupied by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

The community members’ health is a big concern to the tribal health councils at the pueblo. There are several individuals living in the tribe have one or more chronic diseases and many others are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes. In an effort to prevent more people from getting diabetes and other chronic diseases, the health councils also offer weekly health screenings and education.

Principal Accomplishments of the health council over the years

Following are some of the accomplishments that health council achieved over the years:

  • With the assistance from the Department of Health NM, San Ildefonso (San I) updated the community health profile.
  • Updated health profile information that was disseminated to each household.
  • Staff from the Health & Human Services Department at San I collected data including blood pressures, blood glucose, and BMI through weekly health screenings.
  • All individuals with elevated labs were referred to their physician to avoid any health complications.
  • Children in the community are taught health education in their native language, TEWA.

Current Status and Activities of the Health Council

Health council is currently providing the following activities:

  • A Diabetes program is offering 12 weeks Group lifestyle Balance sessions. All participants are expected to lose 7% of their body wt by eating healthy and exercise for 30 minutes X 5 days/ week.
  • Healthy Kids Initiative staff is offering a family walking challenge to all ages in the community. Approximately 20-25 participants walk for 2 miles each day.
  • AA group meetings are hosted every Tuesday and approximately 20-25 people participate.
  • Weekly health screenings are offered to check blood pressure, blood sugar, BMI, and A1c.
  • Tobacco cessation Group Support meetings are held every month.
  • One nutrition education class is provided on a monthly basis.
  • Nutrition education is also provided to the Community Day School and the Head start school children.
  • Currently planning for summer language camp that will start on June 9, 2014.

Current Goal and Priorities of the Health Council

  • ·       Continue to provide comprehensive health services to the community.
  • ·       Make efforts to reduce alcohol, tobacco, and substance abuse.
  • ·       Collaborate with State and Federal agencies to receive education, trainings, and resources for the staff and the community.
  • ·       Promote healthy lifestyle through community education and by hosting educational events.
  • ·       Continue to apply for more funding to provide quality and quantity health services in the community.

Los Alamos County Health Council

The Los Alamos County Health Council (LACHC) is the designated health planning body for Los Alamos County. It has been designated as such through the New Mexico Legislature and the Los Alamos County Council. The LACHC works collaboratively with other county offices and networks.

The LACHC’s chief planning document is the Health Profile, which is published every three years. The most recent is the 2011-2012 LACHC Los Alamos Community Health Profile. The Health Profile includes a summary and analysis of health indicators, issues and trends along with an analysis of community needs and the health and human service delivery system. It provides recommendations for building and sustaining community health.

Los Alamos has the best ranking of all New Mexico counties for its overall health status, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Project. The county is also very highly rated by the New Mexico Department of Health (NM DOH) in its Community Health Snapshots. The majority of local residents have better than average health status, a reflection of the community’s much higher-than-average education, income and assets, access to health insurance and health care, and healthy living habits. The health status of those with limited access to services and limited resources is not as positive.

Within the overall health picture, a number of areas require attention, further study, and community based efforts toward remediation. They include:

  1. Health issues affecting older people (including respiratory illnesses, falls and Alzheimer’s) and the need for expanded services.
  2. Problems with access to care for the poor and those with limited incomes.
  3. Youth risk behaviors and support for asset-based programs, in partnership with the Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB).
  4. Physical health Issues  (low birth-weight babies, hepatitis, thyroid cancer).
  5. Behavioral health issues (including mental health and substance abuse).
  6. Intentional and unintentional injuries.

The LACHC has designated three goal areas for its health priorities in its Health Profile.  These areas include:

  1. Older Adults
  2. People in Crisis and Financial Need
  3. Youth and Families at Risk

In order to develop and implement strategies and support coordinated activity in each of these priority areas, the LACHC has developed an Older Adult Service Network and a Basic Needs Collaborative to address the first two priorities. The Older Adult Service Network involves a number of community agencies involved in building collaborative strategies. These agencies include the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization (LARSO), Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service, Aspenridge Lodge and Sombrillo Nursing Home, Home Instead, Los Alamos Medical Center, A Nurse in the Family and Los Alamos National Lab. The Basic Needs Collaborative includes Self Help, LA Cares, Los Alamos Family Council, RSVP, First United Methodist Church, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church and Los Alamos County. The LACHC works with JJAB on its third goal area, to assist youth and families at risk.

The LACHC was asked for recommendations about service priorities by the County Council in 2011, and the Health Council provided recommendations for priorities and funding in February 2012 for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years. Recommendations included increases in funding for case management for older adults; people in crisis and financial need; youth and families at risk; more funding for basic needs services to address sharp increases in service requests; and for a county social services manager. The Council adopted many of these recommendations and allocated funding, which is currently on hold due to current fiscal challenges.

The LACHC has been strongly involved in local community outreach through Town Hall Meetings, the Health Fair, radio interviews and articles.  The Health Council has been actively promoting support for Health Councils at local and state levels, and working with the state Health Council network to rebuild state level funding for Health Councils.

More information about the LACHC and its work can be found on its web page: www.lachc.net.

The LACHC meets the first Thursday of each month from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm in the large conference room at the Betty Ehart Senior Center, next to Mesa Library in Los Alamos.

Harding Couty Health Council

In 2012, Harding County was home to only 695 people who lived within 2,138 square miles. Harding County is located in the northeastern section of New Mexico and supports two incorporated villages. Harding County features a mesa with canyons, grasslands, and the Canadian river gorge; Highway 39; and the longest designated Main Street.  Carbon dioxide is a major source of county income and it is experiencing a dynamic expansion of production, with the largest field of 99.9% pure CO2 in the world.  Designated hunting of a variety of wildlife species provides wildlife population management and extra income.


The Harding County Health Council, started in 2005, is trying to provide needed medical information and services for our citizens especially our elderly residents. The Council holds two health fairs, one in April in the Village of Roy and the other one in October in the Village of Mosquero. The health fairs feature immunizations (Influenza, Pneumonia, Tdap, and required immunizations for infants & children), bone density, mammograms, blood lipids, and glucose testing. Health professionals are invited to attend, and health information, guidance, and products are also available. The county’s only health clinic is open two days a week, and provides ambulatory medical services, laboratory management, chronic disease management and medical referrals as needed.


The county has three separate EMS rescue units who respond to any local emergency medical calls. There is a pre-school-K-12 grade public school in each Village that only has school nurse service once a week. The council continues to tackle the transportation problems encountered by the elderly as they try to maintain their health, independence and quality of life.   


Meetings of the Harding County Health Council usually alternate between Mosquero High School and Roy High School.

Colfax County

Colfax County is located in the northeast corner of New Mexico.  Raton, the largest city in this Northeastern region of New Mexico, is located 225 miles north of Albuquerque on Interstate 25.  Colfax County has a population of approximately 13, 750 (2010) spread across the county’s towns of Raton, Springer, Maxwell, Cimarron, Eagle Nest and Angel Fire and many ranches on the frontier. It has 3,768 sq, miles.  Its population density is 3.649 people per square mile. 


Colfax County Health Council is in the process of reestablishing itself after funding was cut in 2010. It is currently working with state the regional Department of Health Epidemiologist, Kelly Gallagher, to establish areas of need in Colfax County.  The Colfax County Health Council will determine three main priorities to work on as a community.


In the past Colfax County Health Council was the centralized entity in the County for most health related issues.  Priorities included substance abuse prevention, suicide prevention, diabetes/obesity prevention, and prevention of child abuse and neglect. The Health Council was key in bringing a Dialysis clinic to the county allowing for more cost effective and convenient services to be accessed by Colfax County residents. 


The Colfax Health Council meets every other month (on the third Wednesday of the month) at the Miners’ Colfax Medical Center Long-Term facility.
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