Administration Initatives

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, they 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.
Mother and Toddler

Reducing the Number of Newborns Exposed to Substances (CARA)

The 2016 federal Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) requires states to provide Plans of Care for all babies born exposed to substances. Staff in CYFD, HSD, ECECD, and DOH have worked to implement CARA since 2020, traveling around the state and training hundreds of medical professionals, and care coordinators. A multiagency team is currently assessing gaps in services, and each agency has provided resources to staff the program to improve services, outreach and follow up with families impacted by substance use in the perinatal period.

Safe Sleep for Infants

New Mexico holds an interagency safe sleep collaborative to improve education and awareness about safe sleep for infants. Participants work to reduce risks for sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) through messaging about safe sleep, including the use of cribs or bassinets with a firm mattress close to but not on the same surface as an adult.


NM Medicaid has received federal approval to extend continuous health insurance coverage to children from birth to age six, benefiting 92,842 children. Starting January 1, 2024, this expansion eliminates the need for annual Medicaid renewals for this age group, ensuring uninterrupted access to essential health care services.

Home Visiting

Home visiting has been one of New Mexico’s leading research-based strategies for improving the well-being of the state’s youngest children for more than a decade. The New Mexico Home Visiting System is designed to support important long-term goals for the state’s children and families. Home visiting in New Mexico offers a broad spectrum of program options so expectant parents and families with young children can receive support tailored to their needs and goals. In FY22, 7,354 children in 6,609 families received New Mexico home visiting services.

Maternal Health Program (DOH)

The Maternal Health Program (MHP) supports improved outcomes for birthing parents and newborns in multiple ways. Through oversight over midwifery practice, MHP works to integrate this evidence-based care model and the full spectrum of perinatal care providers into service delivery in NM communities. The Maternal Mortality Review Committee identifies contributing factors to deaths that occur during pregnancy and the following year and makes actionable recommendations to prevent such deaths from occurring in the future. As the maternal health domain lead for the Title V Program, MHP administers the High-Risk Fund to increase access to perinatal services before and after delivery for those lacking access to insurance coverage. Finally, MHP provides technical assistance to clinical sites across the state to implement perinatal quality improvement programming in support of improved outcomes.  

Infant Mental Health (IMH) Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)

CYFD Infant Mental Health (IMH) Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) has had an ongoing partnership with the CARA Navigator/Program Supervisor in order to support the efforts of both programs to improve the lives of infants in New Mexico. IMH facilitated the development of educational slides regarding the effects of substance exposure on child development which are now a part of the CARA Educational Modules used to train hospital staff who will oversee the development of the CARA Plans of Care. Additionally, IMH created a pamphlet with a brief description of the three IMH programs as well as a list of all IMH child parent psychotherapy providers by county, to facilitate the referral process. IMH is also providing IMH CPP providers’ contact information for the CARA representatives at their local hospitals. IMH’s intent is to encourage the establishment of partnerships between providers to ease the referral process for families. 

Access to Reproductive Health Services

DOH holds an inter-agency work group to address increasing needs for comprehensive, full-spectrum reproductive health services throughout the state. Academic and community-based partners meet weekly to problem solve and strategize access and messaging about these services.  

Educational Services

Evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs encompass service learning and positive youth development programs, parent training and adult-teen communication programs, comprehensive sex education programming, and community education and outreach activities. These include:

  • Service learning and positive youth development programs (like the Teen Outreach Program [TOP] and Teen Connection Project [TCP]) promote positive outcomes for teens by providing meaningful service to develop and practice life skills, self-efficacy, and healthy behaviors.
  • Adult-teen community programs (like From Playground to Prom) give adults information and skills to communicate effectively with young people about reducing risky sexual behavior.
  • Comprehensive sex education programs (like TOP and TCP) provide youth with age-appropriate and medically accurate information to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy.

Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program

The State of New Mexico Indian Affairs Department (IAD) is focused on building tribal capacity to implement culturally appropriate tobacco cessation and prevention initiatives that recognize the unique ceremonial uses of tobacco while reducing the use of commercial tobacco use and its harmful effects. In FY23 IAD received a $249,300 appropriation from the New Mexico Legislature for Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Programs. This is funded out of the Tobacco Settlement Fund and is used for direct tobacco cessation and prevention campaigns in Native American communities. The three components are health, education, and community involvement.    

The following organizations partnered with IAD to provide youth tobacco cessation activities: 

  • Pueblo of Pojoaque: Be Tough – Don’t Puff Part III aimed at tribal youth prevention and reduction efforts.  
  • Pueblo of Tesuque: Tobacco Cessation Prevention Program to encourage community to live healthier lifestyles.  
  • Keres Consulting: Nicotine Free Comic Series 
  • Albuquerque Indian Center: Promote cessation and prevention of commercial tobacco abuse in Native Communities with special emphasis on Native youth 
  • Capacity Builders: Provide Navajo community members, including youth, veterans, and pregnant women, with access to health education tobacco cessation and prevention media.  

Children’s Oral Health Prevention Program (DOH)

Tooth decay is preventable yet remains the most common chronic disease among children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 51 million school hours are lost due to tooth decay.  Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Children with poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who do not.

The Office of Oral Health’s (OOH) works very closely with various organizations to promote the importance of children’s oral and overall health. Some of the local organizations are: the New Mexico Oral Health Coalition (consisting of over 20 local oral health advocates), the New Mexico Primary Care Association, Health Action New Mexico, Santa Fe County Head Start, Water Utility offices of Santa Fe and Bernalillo County, City of Albuquerque Head Start, YDI Head Start, New Mexico Children Youth and Family Department, St. Joseph’s CHI home visiting program, Villa Therese Catholic Clinic, Native American Professional Parent Resources, the New Mexico Human Services Department, and the Office of School and Adolescent Health at DOH.

Leveraging Medicaid to Expand Dental Coverage

OOH was mandated by House Memorial 96 to convene a task force to study ways to expand Medicaid coverage to provide additional dental care for children. This task force comprises several oral health advocates representing the various dental associations, the University of New Mexico, the New Mexico Oral Health Coalition, Health Action New Mexico, Federal Qualified Health Center Dental Directors, Indian Health Services, and others. After several meetings, the committee developed a list of actions to increase access to care, and its recommendations were submitted to and accepted by the Legislative Health and Human Services (LHHS) Committee.

To date, the Human Services Department (HSD) has approved a provider reimbursement increase of 2% and has approved a reimbursement code for fluoride varnish applications. The Department is currently developing a code for reimbursing the application silver diamide fluoride varnish, which will reduce the number of fillings as well as the pain associated with fillings. OOH and HSD continue to work together to address the recommendations of the task force in order to improve the oral health status of Medicaid children.