Human Services Department partners with UNM to launch New Mexico’s first Center for Health Policy

The center will support HSD with evidence-based health policy and practice for the state’s Medicaid Program.

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) today announced they partnered with the University of New Mexico (UNM) to help launch the New Mexico Center for Health Policy. The center, a first of its kind in the state, will support evidence-based health policy and practice for New Mexico’s Medicaid program by addressing the most critical health care issues with a particular focus on the 986,930 New Mexicans covered by Medicaid. 

This fall, the New Mexico Center for Health Policy rolled out phase I projects to assist HSD in taking a lead role in transforming the healthcare systems to improve health outcomes for all New Mexicans.  

“HSD is working closely with UNM to assist in establishing the center, and to ensure state and federal fiscal support for the work it will perform on HSD’s behalf,” said David. R. Scrase, MD., cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Human Services Department. “This partnership provides an opportunity to increase UNM’s ability to support the state in building our healthcare workforce and infrastructure — a priority for this administration.” 

The New Mexico Center for Health Policy will employ the necessary leadership and staff to create state-specific health information and conduct timely policy-related projects through cost effective, practical research, analysis, and program support. The center is part of UNM’s College of Population Health under the UNM Health Sciences Center.  

“We want to use the extraordinary expertise of UNM’s faculty to help the state’s Medicaid provide the best, most cost-effective care possible for our state’s population,” said Douglas Ziedonis, MD., Executive Vice President for UNM Health Sciences. 

“Establishing the New Mexico Center for Health Policy provides UNM and HSD an opportunity to develop the next generation of Medicaid and health policy staff for the state,” said Robert G.  Frank, Ph.D., Executive Director for the Center for Health Policy and UNM former president. “The Center can also help attract the best and brightest students, with an interest in public health policy, health equity, and the effectiveness of public health care programs.” 

The New Mexico Center for Health Policy phase I projects include: 

  • Updating best practices for prescription drug utilization and optimal approved drugs. 
  • Surveying all New Mexicans to compare Medicaid coverage to New Mexicans with health insurance and those without any health insurance.  
  • Examining the impact of structural issues impacting health outcomes for families in the state’s Medicaid program.  
  • Reviewing the efficacy of the state’s Medicaid early childhood visitation programs. 

Planning is now underway for phase II programs, which will look at workforce development for Medicaid programs. 


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