By Heather M. Lardier

Partners in a Pandemic

UNM College of Nursing Joins National COVID-19 Community Engagement Pledge

“We strive to meet one of our key missions – serving the well-being of all New Mexicans, especially our most vulnerable populations,” says Carolyn Montoya, PhD, RN, associate dean for clinical affairs in The University of New Mexico College of Nursing.

That’s why the College of Nursing joined more than 70 nursing schools across the nation in the COVID-19 Community Engagement Pledge led by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Through its pledge, the College commits to deploying students, faculty and staff to support vaccination efforts, conduct contact tracing and provide other key services across New Mexico. 

Students, faculty, leadership and staff volunteered to vaccinate starting on Dec. 15, 2020, the very first day vaccines were available to frontline health care workers in New Mexico. They continue to provide volunteers for the New Mexico Department of Health and Indian Health Service in their COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Vaccinations for New Mexico Department of Health

The Department of Health (DOH) is spearheading New Mexico’s COVID-19 vaccination planning and implementation in close collaboration with other state agencies, as well as public, private and tribal partners.

On the UNM campus, the College of Nursing supports the DOH by filling volunteer roles at The Pit, joining UNM undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, leadership and staff.

Indian Health Service Vaccinations

The Indian Health Service has also asked the College for help in distributing vaccines. The College has since participated in First Nations Community HealthSource COVID-19 vaccination event on Saturday, Feb. 13, and the Pueblo of Acoma-Cañoncito-Laguna Service Unit vaccination event on March 6. They expect a continued partnership throughout the pandemic.

michaela-padilla.jpg“I felt so honored to have the opportunity to administer the first round of vaccines to this community,” says nursing student Michaela Padilla.

“One after another, we were thanked for our role and contribution in the COVID-19 relief process. This experience was enlightening and made me appreciate our role as nurses even more. The best feeling in the world is knowing that I and other health care workers are truly making a difference where it counts.”

Contact Tracing for the Navajo Nation

All 71 of the College’s Level 5 Albuquerque and Rio Rancho nursing students, who are expected to graduate this May, are assisting with Navajo Nation contact tracing efforts through the Community Outreach & Patient Empowerment program.


To stay up to date on the College’s COVID-19 efforts, please visit our website.

For information about signing up for your vaccine visit the DOH website.



Categories: College of Nursing, Education, Top Stories