New Mexico Could Be In Line for a School of Public Health

Democratic lawmakers introduce a bill to appropriate funding to expand New Mexico’s medical reach.


In Santa Fe, multiple Democratic lawmakers are pushing for New Mexico to use some of its federal funding to create a school of public health. As one of the few states without a public health government resource center, this school would increase New Mexico’s access to research. It would be jointly operated by the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University, but it would be located on the UNM campus. The proposal was initially introduced by lawmakers in a special session last month as part of a 335 million dollar plan to invest in public health infrastructure, but it was slimmed down to a 75 million dollar funding initiative specific to the school. However, the bill faces opposition, as it was not included in the original state spending package that is now being examined by the House Appropriations and Finance Committee who have a major say in budget-writing for New Mexico. But, there is still time for this proposal to become part of the state budget because the legislation is currently in a 30-day session focused on debates and amendments that ends on February 17th. Fortunately, the proposal also has many influential supporters such as three committee leaders in the senate: Gerald Ortiz y Pino(D-Albuquerque), Joseph Cervantes(D-Las Cruces), and George Muñoz(D-Gallup). Advocates for the plan say that New Mexico is a great candidate to use the funding for public health initiatives because of its small, diverse population, and poor health outcomes mainly caused by poverty. Many people are in support of a school of public health in New Mexico especially after the major effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.