Introduction, Trends & Considerations
The mission of the NM Department of Health is to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and assure safety net services for all people in New Mexico. The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is a centralized system of health services that works to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and assure safety net services for all people in the state to achieve a healthier New Mexico. DOH partners with other state and federal agencies as well as tribal and community partners to expand access to services and improve the health status of NM residents. Regional directors and staff provide services to every county within their region through the 52 public health ofﬁces that are located throughout the state. These local ofﬁces partner with their communities to ensure that services meet communities’ speciﬁc needs. The NMDOH achieves its mission and vision by promoting health and preventing disease, collecting, analyzing and disseminating data, licensing and certifying health facilities, and providing clinical testing services. The department also operates health care facilities that serve veterans, persons with developmental disabilities, those with behavioral health issues, and those with rehabilitation needs.
According to the CDC, there are three primary core functions of public health with 10 corresponding essential health services. Since NMDOH is the main public health entity of New Mexico, we are charged with providing these three core function areas statewide:
- Assessment – Monitor and assess health problems and then diagnose and investigate the problems’ solutions.
- Policy Development – Inform, educate and empower people, mobilize community partnerships and then develop plans and policies around agreed upon health
- Assurance – Enforce laws and regulations, guarantee a competent workforce, and evaluate service delivery’s effectiveness to assure the provision of public health services and ensure the population’s safety.
NMDOH serves the maternal, perinatal, child and adolescent population in many ways. The Women Infant and Children (WIC) program provides supplemental food, formula and breastfeeding support in ofﬁces across the state. The New Mexico WIC Program continues to modernize and adapt services to meet the needs and expectations of New Mexico families raising young children while “Enhancing the WIC Experience.”
The Children’s Medical Services (CMS) program provides critical social work care coordination and safety net medical services for children with chronic conditions and specialized health needs, working out of public health ofﬁces statewide. CMS administers the state newborn genetic screening program and critical newborn hearing screenings. These public health services help identify children’s needs as soon as they are born, and program coordinators connect families to services for medical and developmental support.
Family planning services, school-based health centers, and childhood immunizations are all supported and/or provided by public health staff across the state. DOH staff also work on the child, infant, and maternal mortality review panels; work to prevent childhood injuries and promote safe sleep; work to improve infant mortality; provide training on safe sleep, prevention of shaken baby syndrome, and developmental screening; and collect and analyze data to improve child wellbeing and support program evaluation; and much more.