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HEROs aims to link University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center programs and resources to rural and underserved communities across the mission areas of education, clinical service, research and health policy-- with the vision of working with community partners to make the most progress in health and health equity than any other state by 2020.

HERO agents:

  • Live in community
  • Link local health needs with UNM resources
  • Improve local health services and systems
  • Encourage youth to finish school and enter health careers
  • Recruit and retain a local health workforce
  • Bring latest research and health care practices to community
  • Strengthen community capacity to address local health problems

Health Extension Rural Offices (HEROs) is New Mexico's Health Extension program, developed over the last three years and built on the agricultural Cooperative Extension Service model which was successful in the transformation of rural America through the modernization of agriculture and the diffusion of innovation. Transmission of best practices and on-the-ground assistance to farmers and their families was conducted through each state's land grant university. Health Extension offers a similar model but applied to the health care sector.

New Mexico's HERO model has also grown as an important vehicle for primary care practice transformation and community health, built on a set of health service innovations developed over the past 13 years. These innovations were created to help New Mexico address many health service challenges and opportunities common to other states: large, poor, mostly rural, with a predominantly ethnic minority population (45% Hispanic, 10% Native American and 2% African-American), rich in cultural and linguistic diversity, strong in community-mindedness, and possessing a tradition of affirmative action.

A growing number of institutions and agencies from within New Mexico and from around the country have sought information about HEROs- how it operates, what are its primary care outcomes, and how it can be implemented in their home community or institution. Thus, the product of this project will be the creation of a Health Extension Toolkit aimed at states, academic health centers, FQHCs, professional societies and Tribal Nations so they might adopt aspects of HEROs transformational learning relevant to their own purpose and objectives. To learn more about health extension, please visit: 

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New Mexico's HEROs Regions

New Mexico AHEC Regions Map