The Center’s primary mission is to address the general health of New Mexico’s population by increasing the access of its residents of Hispanic and Latino descent to quality health care. It does so by focusing its efforts on increasing the number of health care practitioners trained and committed to addressing the particular health needs of this largest segment of the State’s population. The University of New Mexico’s Center for Hispanic Latino Health Initiatives (CHLHI) represents collaboration between the UNM Health Sciences Institute for Community Health Sciences, the Northern New Mexico Family Practice Residency Program and the Ben Lujan Institute for Leadership and Public Policy at New Mexico Highlands University. It also is committed to engaging Hispanic and Latino community leaders in identifying their populations’ most urgent health care needs, and helping to build local capacity in the areas of clinical services, health professions education, community-engaged medical research and health policy advocacy to address these needs.
CHLHI works with local health practitioners and community leaders to promote public health interventions aimed at addressing the primary health care concerns of the communities they serve. The Center will measure systematically the impact of such programs on the health and wellbeing of the Hispanic and Latino population. By facilitating local access to University centered resources the CHLHI will help these leaders to more effectively address the specific health care priorities of their communities. Sustained community-campus links for Center activities will be facilitated by UNM’s Health Extension Rural Offices (HEROs) and UNM Center for Telehealth. To reinforce the linkages to local Hispanic and Latino populations, the Center will collaborate with existing health care provider networks (RIOS Net), local health oriented public advocacy groups, community health promotion programs, state and local governmental agencies and regional academic institutions in targeting its services to local population in need.
CHLHI will work with local health practitioners and community leaders to promote health interventions aimed at addressing the primary health care concerns of the communities they serve. The Center will measure systematically the impact of such programs on the health and wellbeing of the Hispanic and Latino population. The new Center also will help engage the community in translational medical research, and serve as an incubator for innovative health promotion programs evolving from the partnerships between the partner universities, state government and regional community clinics.
Clinical Service and Community Health Outreach
- While the Center does not intend to be a regular provider of clinical services, it will involve UNM Medical Residents and Medical Students, local Community Health Workers from the Hispanic community and Pueblos in a team approach to delivering culturally appropriate community health services to individuals with chronic diseases. CHLHI will leverage community owned high speed internet connectivity and UNM’s tele health outreach (Project Echo) for use in educating in self care management groups of chronically ill patients initially from three to four Indian Pueblos and two community clinic networks of Northern New Mexico.
Health Professions Education
- With the support of a grant from the Con Alma Foundation the Center is sponsoring educational opportunities for Medical Residents from the Northern New Mexico Family Practice Residency and Community Health Workers from the regional clinics and Pueblos of Northern New Mexico. In addition, CHLHI plans to offer other health professionals access to the educational resources of both UNM Health Sciences through Project Echo and New Mexico Highlands University School of Nursing. Future courses will include on site and on line workshops on topics of concern to local communities such as geriatric medicine, diabetes, and misuse of prescription medications. Several of these courses will be designed to fulfill the Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) requirement for professional licensure of physicians, nurses, diabetes educators, community health workers and other health care professionals.
Research and Evaluation
- CHLHI will engage academic researchers and local communities in a form of translational research focused on studies directly impacting the health of Hispanic and Latino patients. This approach encourages the interaction of academic and community partners in collecting and interpreting research data, implementing and applying their findings. Using this outcomes oriented methodology the Center will establish an Hispanic/Latino Health Profile from various secondary data sources (i.e. State of New Mexico’s IBIS and Community Health Councils) on access, health status, health services and policies to be developed in collaboration with the RWJ Center for Health Policy, the Office of Community Health and the Executive Vice Chancellor of Community Affairs, the State of New Mexico Department of Health Office of Policy and Evaluation, and the New Mexico Health Policy Commission.. These entities will contribute to the development of biennial Health Status Profile and Statewide Report Card on Hispanic/Latino Health. The Center also will be involved in providing technical assistance to community health clinics and the conduct of external program evaluations such as one currently planned for the Northern New Mexico Family Practice Residency Program.
- The Center will conduct health policy oriented forums on issues of relevance to local health practitioners and the communities they serve in collaboration with the Ben Lujan Institute for Leadership and Public Policy and the Robert Wood Johnson Public Policy Center at UNM. Among these is the development of a public policy curriculum for UNM Family Practice Residents designed to introduce them to the role physicians can play in influencing policies at the local community level and at the level of state and national policy that impact their patients. Some possible policy areas for review are the reassessment of Medicaid reimbursement formulas, the utility of the patient centered medical home model of care, and the misuse of prescription medications. CHLHI also will promote community based projects to assess the practicality and efficacy of new and existing federal and state health related programs impacting the Hispanic and Latino population of New Mexico.
Funding and Administration
Initial support for the new Center comes from external funding of its specific programs. Among these is a grant from the Con Alma Foundation to the Ben Lujan Institute for Leadership and Public Policy to train Family Medicine Residents and Community Health Workers. Additional program specific funding is to be secured from private foundations and federal and state government grants.
CHLHI’s programs are overseen by the University of New Mexico’s Health Science Center’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Hispanic Health (Mario Pacheco, MD) and CHLHI’s Co-Director (Miguel Tirado, Ph.D). Both an internal UNM HSC Advisory Committee and an external Advisory Board will be formed to guide and monitor the Center’s progress. The external body is to consist of representatives of UNM HSC’s Hispanic Latino Health Advisory Council, partnering institutions including New Mexico Highlands and New Mexico State Universities, FQHC clinic networks, and community leaders representing the spectrum of the Hispanic and Latino population of New Mexico.