Wrapping Up Health Equity Week

Please join us to cap off our first ever Health Equity week, for an informative conversation about the New Mexico COVID19 emergency sourcing and collaboration, with Gabe Mounce, Director, Space Force Accelerators/Technology Commercialization Lead and Jason Jarvis, Field Representative, Senator Martin Heinrich.

We will also include our featured guests and community partners from the week - highlighting Tom East, CEO, Syncronys (New Mexico's Health Information Exchange), Leigh Caswell, Vice President Community Health, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Lilly Irvin-Vitela, President and Executive Director, New Mexico First.

Friday, October 23, 2020 @ 10am-11am

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New Mexico First determined the 2020 New Mexico First Town Hall topic by surveying New Mexicans from our 7,000 person database in the spring of 2019. We asked about public policy priorities that must be addressed to make New Mexico the best we can be. Health was the top priority. Concern regarding an adequate healthcare workforce for physical, behavioral, and mental health services figured prominently in 94% of the survey responses. Gaps in services for children and adolescent behavioral and mental health needs were identified in 78% of the survey responses, including promotion and prevention to intervention and treatment.


Additionally, 60% of responses indicated a concern about fairness in health access and quality, including awareness of health challenges for rural residents, mothers and children, elders, Tribal members, chronically ill people, special needs people, people experiencing homelessness, and veterans. There were also concerns raised about our communities' conditions that influence health and well-being outside of the healthcare systems. Specific concern had also been raised in past town halls about healthcare provider knowledge of language and culture and the health workforce's capacity to respond to diverse individuals, families, and communities. New Mexico First's Board of Directors and Town Hall Research and Planning Committees agreed to incorporate the spectrum of issues New Mexicans had identified and chose the overarching topic Health: Body, Mind & Spirit.  


New Mexico First convened a planning committee and a research committee to help guide implementation of the town hall outreach and the town hall event. Members of the committees included leaders in health-related NGOs, philanthropy, former legislators, business leaders, academics, and grassroots leaders. These committees met every 4-6 weeks from October 2019-August, 2020. There was a shared commitment across committees to focus on equity and inclusion in every phase of the work.


With the work centered in equity, New Mexico First convened 17 community conversations leading up to the town hall across New Mexico with over 300 people representing diverse communities racially, ethnically, culturally, and geographically. There were groups that primarily included the voices of people experiencing homelessness, health leaders, youth, and people with disabilities as well as parents and advocates of people with disabilities. Reports from the convenings were recorded and shared with the communities to inform their own collective work and reported back perspectives about values, beliefs, community assets, challenges, and priorities. The dialogue also helped inform the framing of the town hall.


Due to a shared commitment to health and safety, the town hall shifted from the formal face-to-face format to a remote town hall series. Over 200 people were registered and participation included 17 hours of virtual meetings with people statewide. The launch session included a framing about health equity. Local experts shared information on health in NM on topics ranging from food security and local food systems, health workforce, and systems of care to the impact of toxic stress, trauma, and resilience to well-being across the lifespan. Together, participants arrived at recommendations and strategies that were grounded in shared values and commitment to building from our strengths while maintaining accountability to more just approaches to advancing health and well-being. To learn more about the recommendations and outcomes, visit http://nmfirst.org/event-details/healthcare-body-mind-and-spirit-town-hall#Reports