Public Health Keeps Families Healthy from the Start
It’s work to stay healthy. You have think about what you’re going to eat, make sure it’s good for you, and exercise regularly. Imagine if you were responsible not just for your health but that of millions of people.
There are approximately 3,000 New Mexicans who work for the New Mexico Department of Health, and in all sorts of ways, be they large or small; local or statewide, they play a role in keeping the more than two million people living in our state healthy.
This coming Monday marks the start of National Public Health Week, an event created by the American Public Health Association for recognizing all the men and women championing the health of all people and communities.
It’s a job, like so many others, that’s recognized for a day, week or month but is worked on year-round.
The theme for National Public Health Week this year is: “Public Health: Start Here”, and in so many ways it begins with the Department of Health. Our accomplishments over the last century or so have included providing vaccinations to adults and children, controlling the spread of infectious diseases, and producing healthier mothers and babies one person at a time.
Public health has recognized and educated New Mexicans on the health hazards of tobacco use; historically, we’ve provided vaccinations resulting in the eradication of smallpox and control of measles, and rubella along with other infectious diseases, and provided for family planning.
During the 20th century, life expectancy at birth among U.S. residents increased by 62%, from 47.3 years in 1900 to 76.8 in 2000, and it all started with governments recognizing the benefits of maintaining public health.
Here’s some of the ways your local public health offices in southwest New Mexico make sure you stay healthy from the start:
- Families First offers prenatal care coordination assisting Medicaid eligible pregnant women and children 0-3 years of age to gain access to medical, social and education services that are necessary for healthy births.
- Women Infants and Children (WIC) is the special supplemental nutrition assistance program that identifies health and nutritional risks for mothers and their children. Enrolled parents and guardians get nutrition education and receive monthly food benefits for high nutrient foods.
- Children's Medical Services (CMS) offers access to treatment for eligible children through medical care coordination for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) ages 0-21 . It manages the Newborn Genetics Screening Program and the Newborn Hearing Screening Program.
- The Preventive Medicine Clinic at the Las Cruces Central Public Health Office provides family planning services, immunizations, and testing/treatment for tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases and breast and cervical cancer screening;
- The Public Health Resource Center at the Las Cruces Central Public Health Office offers care and treatment for Hepatitis C and for opiate addiction and classes for diabetes self care management;
- Disease Prevention concentrates on the prevention and control of infectious diseases with outreach, surveillance, outbreak response, testing/treatment, contact follow-up, and referrals for sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and more. The team performs harm reduction counseling and facilitates needle exchange/disposal to reduce the risk for the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis and Narcan training/dispensing for opiate overdose prevention.
- The Health Promotion Team works with community groups, coalitions and councils for awareness and mobilization initiatives related to healthy lifestyles, environments, policies and plans.
That’s just a small sample of services public health offices provide in southwestern New Mexico, but there is a world of public health we could show you. Visit the National Public Health Week website for more information.
We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.