New Mexico Department of Health
Our mission is to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and assure safety net services for all people in New Mexico.

Office of School and Adolescent Health

The Office of School and Adolescent Health (OSAH) works to improve student and adolescent health through integrated school-based or school-linked health services.

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OSAH engages in adolescent health promotion and disease prevention activities directly and through collaboration with public and private agencies across New Mexico. OSAH staff guide policy development on school and adolescent health issues and are involved in workforce development and training's for those providing services to New Mexico youth.

We also provide on-going technical assistance and training to school health personnel and other partners including pandemic flu preparedness, chronic disease management, traumatic loss in the school or community, suicide prevention and response, asthma and diabetes support systems, state immunization policy, and the New Mexico School Health Manual.


  • Improve health of all students and adolescents in New Mexico.


  • Youth suicide prevention
  • Teen pregnancy prevention
  • Immunizations
  • Healthier weight
  • Teen dating violence
  • School-Based Health Centers (SBHC)


  • Universal access for students and adolescents to high-quality, integrated, prevention programs, primary care and behavioral health services.
  • School-based health centers located in all schools interested and ready to implement one.
  • The relationship between health and academic success acknowledged by all state and community partners.
  • All students and adolescents in New Mexico with the rights to be safe, supported, and resilient; to pursue an education; and to contribute to their future.


  • Inclusion and respect for diversity at all levels.
  • Health equity and uses its influence in program and policy development to address improved access to care.
  • Collaboration and partnership as a cornerstone to effective systems integration and development.
  • Individual and organizational strengths and resiliency and pursues a “no failure policy” as it partners with youth, their families and the community.
  • The public health model and uses these tenets to guide its program and policy activities.
  • Positive youth development and is dedicated to implementing youth-adult partnership models and approaches.
  • Open communication and teamwork recognizing the importance of relationships to accomplish its goals.
  • Unconditional positive regard and is committed to demonstrating the utmost respect when working with teens, youth and their families, internal and external partners.
  • Holistic approach reflected in its integrated approaches in all its programs.

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School Health Manual

Developed for the purpose of providing guidelines and recommendations to school nurses and other school health personnel for coordinated school health practice and programs throughout the state.

The New Mexico School Health Manual was developed for the purpose of providing guidelines and recommendations to school nurses and other school health personnel for coordinated school health practice and programs throughout the state.

OSAH continues to assist users of the manual to transition from the historical heard copy to the Web-based version and Compact Disc version.

One updated Compact Disc copy is available annually for distribution from OSAH to each New Mexico school district and can be replicated by the district as needed.

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Conferences & Workshops

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School-Based Health Centers

OSAH promotes quality accessible student and community health services through the development and support of School-Based Health Centers. These centers provide comprehensive primary care and behavioral health services by using a multi-disciplinary health team.

One of the many services provided by School-Based Health Centers is reproductive health care and education. For communities where teen birth rates are high, School-Based Health Centers (SBHC) can be supportive partners in teen pregnancy prevention.

The New Mexico SBHC initiative is a collaborative partnership among the New Mexico Department of Health, Public Education Department, Human Services Division, and Children, Youth & Families Department.

New Mexico has more than 80 SBHC bringing health care to where students are – in the school. SBHCs provide comprehensive health services, so students can avoid health-related absences and get support to succeed in school. They also give students medical and behavioral health attention when they need it, providing opportunities to catch problems like asthma, diabetes and depression in the early stages and therefore preventing bigger problems later, SBHCs also help with barriers such as transportation to medical sites and parent’s time off work.

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New Mexico Alliance for School-Based Health Care

The Alliance represents over 70 School-Based Health Centers within New Mexico and collaborates with other partners to promote, facilitate, and advocate for comprehensive, culturally competent health care, including health education, in schools.

The New Mexico Alliance for School-Based Health Care (NMASBHC) represents school-based health centers in New Mexico and promotes, facilitates, and advocates for comprehensive, culturally competent health care in schools.

Visit the New Mexico Alliance for School-Based Health Care website for details.

School-Based Health Alliance

Our purpose is to provide the school-based health care field with help.  High-quality resources, training, information, guidance, as well as motivation and inspiration to achieve excellence in their work. We take many approaches to accomplishing this goal.

The mission of the School-Based Health Alliance (SBHA) is to improve the health status of children and youth by advancing and advocating for school-based health care.

Visit the School-Based Health Alliance website for details.

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Behavioral Health Services

School Health Request Portal

An email-based request form for use by school health personnel to obtain consultation support for non-urgent situations that arise in the school setting.

Get your questions answered through the School Health Request Portal. The portal includes access to the following.

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Suicide Prevention

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those 1-34 years old in New Mexico, making it a priority issue for the Office of School and Adolescent Health.

Current activities include the following.

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Youth Hotlines

A total of three contracts are funded through State General Funds and issued annually to support a statewide suicide hotline network. Currently funded members of the Network include the University of New Mexico Agora Crisis Line, New Mexico State University Crisis Assistance Listening Line, and Presbyterian Medical Services Santa Fe Crisis Hotline. Each provides bilingual services to callers in crisis and act as back-up responders to calls unanswered by the other hotlines, acting as a 24 hour network of response. For assistance with a crisis, please use the resources below.

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Natural Helpers

Natural Helpers is a peer-to-peer helping program that has been successful in New Mexico since 1994. Thousands of New Mexico teens have been trained as Natural Helpers. The first Natural Helpers program in New Mexico began as a response to concerns from school leaders over teenage suicide and other problems. Natural Helpers is an effective response to a need which still exists.

The Natural Helpers program is school-based peer support system based on a simple premise: Within every school, an informal "helping network" already exists. Students with problems naturally seek out other students and also adults whom they trust. Goals of the program are to help young people develop the capability to:

  1. Prevent some of the problems of adolescence.
  2. Intervene effectively with troubled friends.
  3. Choose positive ways of taking care of themselves.
  4. Improve their school and community.

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Teen Dating Violence

Highly-trained peer advocates offer support, information and advocacy to young people who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships. We also provide information and support to concerned friends and family members, teachers, counselors, service providers and members of law enforcement. Free and confidential phone, live chat and texting services are available 24/7/365.

Teen dating violence among adolescents ages 10-24 is a major public health concern (Foshee, et al, 2004). Between one in four and five teens nationally experience physical or sexual violence by their dating partner (American Bar Association, 2005). New Mexico ranks 12th nationally in its rate of teen dating violence, where one high school student in nine (12.6%) reports being hit or physically hurt within the twelve months preceding the survey (New Mexico YRRS 2007). OSAH has sponsored Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Weeks, held the first week of February annually, since 2008.

Please visit the Love is Respect and That's Not Cool websites to learn several different ways you can identify and possibly prevent teen dating violence.

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Success in Schools Committee

The Success in Schools (SIS) committee was developed in 2005 to support the statewide transformation of children’s behavioral healthcare in a way that included schools.

The guiding philosophy of the committee is that effective school-based and school-linked behavioral health services improve student academic achievement, school attendance and safety. Currently, the SIS committee is co-led by OSAH and PED and is an active workgroup of the Children’s Subcommittee.

SIS membership consists of participants from Medicaid, OSAH regional and administrative staff, PED Special Education Department, the statewide behavioral health entity, Parents for Behaviorally Different Children, and administrative and direct line staff from school districts statewide.

The primary accomplishment of SIS is the development of New Mexico Guidelines for Behavioral Health in Schools. These guidelines support evidence based practices and help to develop an understanding of professional roles in school settings. The document will be finalized and submitted to NMDOH, PED, and CYFD for approval in September of 2009. Once finalized, the guidelines will be distributed on this website and through other venues.

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Adolescent Health

Positive Youth Development

OSAH implements strategies that encourage partnerships and strategic planning around adolescent health through the Positive Youth Development approach. This approach supports young people in building their capacities and strengths for adolescence and young adulthood. Individuals, families, programs, and institutions that provide support and opportunities for young people to grow towards positive outcomes are all involved in youth development.

The youth development approach invites youth to be involved in influencing, contributing, and designing policy, as well as, services and programs.

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Head to Toe Youth-Adult Partnership Track

Illustrating how young people and adults can work together to create solutions to adolescent health issues and improve the health and well-being of New Mexico youth. Youth/ Adult sessions will be interactive and feature both youth and adult presenters. For more information or to register for the conference go to Youth Health Link.

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Youth Leadership Forum

This year's Youth Leadership Forum is hosted in collaboration with New Mexico Civic Engagement Partnership, The New Mexico Youth Alliance, and the Albuquerque Partnership. This annual event brings together youth from throughout the state whom participate in community based organizations. The goal is to allow youth to network, share experience and concerns, develop a statewide youth agenda, all while receiving valuable tools to achieving articulated concerns. Please contact us for more information.

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Adolescent Health Strategic Plan

The Office of School and Adolescent Health initiated an adolescent health system capacity assessment in 2006. This process created momentum for developing the Adolescent Health Strategic Plan (AHSP) 2008-2010. The overall process was to create a system that utilizes the expertise and innovation within New Mexico in more efficient ways, thereby, strengthening the public health system to address the needs of adolescents in New Mexico. The AHSP focuses on the following capacity areas.

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Adolescent Health Data Report

In addition, the New Mexico Adolescent Health Data Report (2008) was developed to provide a comprehensive overview of adolescent health needs in a variety of health focal areas. This report is being distributed as a companion document to the AHSP.

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School Nursing

School Nurse Action Committee

The New Mexico School Nurse Action Committee (SNAC) includes school nurse leadership from across the state and has the following functions.

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Native American Initiatives

Project TRUST

In an effort to address the disparities in mental health among Native Americans, a model is being developed for culturally-appropriate services for Native American youth and their families. This effort is a partnership with researchers at the University of New Mexico and a group of concerned community members, organizers, health providers, and public health advocates.

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Native HOPE

The Native HOPE training/program focuses on strengthening adult – youth partnership and community action planning. Key elements include the following.

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Rez Hope

Rez Hope is a docu-drama highlighting some of the most troubling issues currently facing Native American youth. It also reminds viewers of the assets that exist in culture and community that are supportive of children. It affirms that the responsibility of reaching out to, listening to, and “raising” young people rests with all of us. The Rez Hope project seeks to get this powerful video tool out into communities (chapters, churches, schools, service organizations, etc.) in order that people be able to view it together to think and feel about it together, and to move toward healing and action together.

Please contact Janie Hall at 505-722-4391 for more information.

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Bureau of Indian Education School Health Assessment


American Indian people experience the poorest rankings in nearly all social, health, and economic indicators, despite federal efforts to improve the outcomes among this population. Young people are of particular concern. Although disparities are narrowing, American Indian youth are still far behind. Fifty-seven percent of American Indians graduate from high school, compared to 76 percent of the white population. American Indian youth are affected by startling rates of sexual risk behaviors, suicide, substance abuse, unintentional injuries, and violence. These statistics, along with the impact of poor health indicators on educational achievement, demand an examination of the institutions that serve this population.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIE) and several health related organizations are collaborating on an initiative to assess the school health services and programs in BIE schools. This effort is expected to yield information that will be used to strengthen school health services in them.

Please see the School Health Assessment of Bureau of Indian Education Schools 2008 report to learn the complete results of this assessment of BIE schools.

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Initiatives

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) youth experience disproportionately high rates of substance abuse, tobacco use, depression, suicidality, and violence as compared with their straight counterparts. As such, OSAH plans to form a partnership with researchers at the University of New Mexico and a group of concerned community members, organizers, health providers, and public health advocates to begin addressing these health disparities.

Please visit the resources below to learn more about LGBT initiatives.

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