By Brianna Wilson

Healthy Living & Diabetes Awareness Fair 2024

Nearly 202,000 New Mexicans have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to The American Diabetes Association (ADA). On top of that, an additional 53,000 New Mexicans do not even know they have diabetes. It’s estimated the statewide cost for people to treat diabetes is $2 billion each year.

That is why, on Saturday, April 20, The University of New Mexico Hospital will hold its first ever Diabetes Awareness Health Fair in southwest Albuquerque.

Amy Bachyrycz, PharmD, said it is important now more than ever to raise local awareness about diabetes and offer support, especially to residents in Albuquerque’s International District who are struggling with social determinants of health. Food insecurity, housing instability, lack of transportation, and other barriers keep many in that community from accessing quality health care. Bachyrycz, an associate professor and the director of community outreach for the UNM College of Pharmacy will join other UNM Health representatives in performing free adult health screenings and immunizations at the Alamosa Community Center Saturday, as a way to break down some of those boundaries and meet people where they are.

“We are not trying to diagnose anyone with diabetes here,” Bachyrycz said. “But if we can identify that they have high blood sugar, then, we can refer them to get a follow-up.” 

UNM Hospital partnered with 40 local and state organizations to provide free diabetes resources and education. Together, they also organized activities for children and families, giveaways, a walk-a-thon, cooking classes, food trucks, and more. Attendees do not need to bring anything, unless they want to buy something from a food truck.

Health Fair Information

When: Saturday, April 20, 2024, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Alamosa Community Center: 6900 Gonzales Rd SW, Albuquerque, NM 87121


Free Health Screenings (18+):

  • A1C 
  • Blood glucose and cholesterol 
  • Body mass index 
  • Diabetic foot screening
  • Vision screenings by the New
  • Mexico Lions Clubs 
  • Prescription management
  • Glucometer use education
  • New Mexico WIC & Senior Farmers
  • Market Nutrition Program
  • PNM, Good Neighbor Fund
  • State of New Mexico SNAP-Ed

Immunizations (12+):

  • Covid Boosters (6 months+)
  • Haemophilus b (HIB)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
  • Meningitis
  • Td


For Lisa M. Taylor, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, her participation in this year’s fair is personal.

“My mom died from the complications of diabetes almost 20 years ago, and I remember how she struggled with, ‘What do I eat? Why do I have to take all these medicines? What am I supposed to do? What does this blood sugar mean?’” said Taylor, an assistant clinical professor in the UNM College of Nursing. “Some clinicians were better at responding than others. I want to be that person who advocates for my family, I want to be that person that advocates for somebody else's family member.”

Taylor said her goal is to use her family background and expertise as a Black provider in advanced diabetes management to educate New Mexicans and help them access the care they need.

“It is complicated, it is expensive, it is frustrating, and I get that,” she said.  “I want to make it a little less frustrating, a little less complicated, and something where people feel empowered to do what they need to do to manage this complex disease.”

Taylor said this weekend’s health fair is a helpful first step, and it is about so much more than conducting free tests and handing out brochures. She said the cooking and fitness demonstrations Saturday will be tailored to Black, Hispanic and Native American community members, so they can incorporate healthy lifestyle changes that align with their cultural traditions and beliefs.

“I always want to begin with, ‘you're a person that lives with diabetes,’ or, ‘you're a person that loves someone that lives with diabetes, but that disease does not define you.’” Taylor said. “They are the experts on their bodies. They are the experts on their cultural background, what nutrition they prefer, and what nutrition they don't prefer. It is our job as clinicians to listen.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Healthy Living & Diabetes Awareness Fair, click here.

Categories: College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy, Community Engagement, Diversity, Education, Health, News You Can Use, Top Stories, UNM Hospital