Local partner the Red Water Pond Community

New Mexico Health Equity Partnership

What is our vision?

Our vision is healthy children, families and communities in New Mexico.

What is our mission?

The purpose of the New Mexico Health Equity Partnership (NMHEP), an initiative at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, is to strengthen the capacity of New Mexico communities to shift power relations through advocating for systems and policy change that will improve the conditions where children, families, and communities are healthy. This requires addressing structural and institutionalized inequities based on race, class, gender and geography.  

Why we do what we do?

Health doesn’t just happen as a result of diet, exercise and regular visits to the doctor’s office. Health is impacted by the policy decisions that shape where we live, work, learn and play.  

When these local and statewide decisions are made without the input of diverse community members, the quality of life for New Mexicans diminishes. Our first hand lived experiences, expertise and languages are not included in the dialogue for change. We do not see people who look like us hold decision making positions in our communities. In turn, we cannot grow our food or live our traditional ways; we are not able to learn our histories, share our cultural knowledge, and speak our languages; more of our families are incarcerated; and there are no parks to play outside.  

We believe the solutions to New Mexico’s challenges lie within the strengths, resiliency and expertise of our communities. Our lived experiences, cultural knowledge and relationships with community members – across generations – are critical to identifying creative solutions and transforming the conditions where we live, learn, work and play into healthy spaces. We collaborate with diverse community members, organizations and decision makers across urban, rural, frontier, border and tribal areas in New Mexico to enhance our network in service of strengthening community leadership skills and advocating for policy change. The network provides a unique structure for people to join together and mobilize for common goals.  

By transforming our conditions (political, social, economic, and environmental), we provide the opportunity for children, families and communities to live safe, healthy and quality lives. This will lead to strong thriving communities. 

What we do?

Since its inception in 2012, the NMHEP has worked with low-income communities and communities of color to educate and raise awareness about policies that have a direct impact on life expectancy and quality of life. New Mexico is one of a few states with a centralized, statewide health department, rather than county or municipal based health departments, making the need for community-based action at the local level very critical. Through training and support, areas with significant health challenges due to inequitable resource allocation and a history of unjust policies obtain the skills necessary to shift power relations and inform policy and planning decisions. The Partnership is committed to working with rural, frontier, urban, and border communities and first nations to create access to fresh food, clean environments, safe places to walk, quality of education and fair wages for all New Mexicans.  We are currently in the midst of 18-month transition period (July 2015 – December 2016) which includes:  

  • Solidifying a health equity peer to peer network and developing a statewide policy agenda;  
  • Recruiting partners and decision makers to ensure health is considered in policy making; and  
  • Strengthening community capacity and leadership to conduct Health Impact Assessments (HIA) in rural/tribal areas, training HIA technical assistance providers, facilitating community peer learning, and advancing community-based health equity efforts.  

Looking ahead to the future, in 2017, we are committed to:  

  • Igniting broad-scale movement for statewide action around policy change through the health equity network;  
  • Educating and mobilizing statewide powerbrokers to take action in targeted policy change; and  
  • Scaling and deepen targeted capacity-building work in New Mexico. 

Who we are?

The Partnership includes over thirty network members representing diverse state and local organizations and community members committed to advancing health equity through team collaboration and focused actions connected to movement building, capacity building, and systems and policy change. Specific organizations include: Farm to Table New Mexico, Chainbreaker Collective, National Center for Frontier Communities, Southwest New Mexico Food Policy Council, Strong Families – New Mexico Forward Together, New Mexico Asian Family Center, La Semilla Food Center, New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils, Lincoln County Community Health Council, Luna County Health Council, McKinley Community Health Alliance, New Mexico Community Data Collaborative, One Billion Rising in New Mexico, Tewa Women United, Santo Domingo Tribal Housing Authority, New Mexico – New Mexico Community Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield Community Centennial, New Mexico Breastfeeding Taskforce, MoGro, as well as individual community members. 

The Partnership consists of four core community-based partners located in Bernalillo, Doña Ana, McKinley and San Miguel counties which are working to improve health by addressing economic justice, environmental justice, land-use policies, and substance abuse treatment rather than incarceration, Through our three rural Health Impacts Assessment in rural and tribal areas, we are partnering with Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Tularosa Basin Downwinders, McKinley Worker Justice Coalition, Somos Un Pueblo Unido Somos Gallup, University of New Mexico and the Santa Fe Indian Center to ensure health is considered in decision making processes. The Partnership also includes four Health Impact Assessment Technical Assistance Providers who are in the NMHEP Health Impact Assessment Train the Trainer’s Program and two national partners which provide technical support. 

The NMHEP employs a Grants & Capacity Building Strategist, Engagement & Policy Strategist, Creative Logistics & Operations Associate, and Communications & Marketing Associate with broad-based experience in providing strategic planning, grants management, capacity building, technical assistance, advocacy, network engagement, culturally sensitive and community-based event planning, and communications support specifically in the areas of racial justice, health equity, and health impact assessment. 

This creates a unique and innovative network where culturally diverse and cross-generational residents participate throughout the entire process, from planning to implementation, and hold active leadership roles. Their expertise, languages and lived experience inform the dialogue and are an invaluable resource in the development of creative strategies and solutions. 

Your Contacts for the New Mexico Health Equity Partnership

Jessica Espinoza Jensen
NMHEP Grants & Capacity Building Strategist
(505) 490-1202

Vaughan Gidden
NMHEP Creative Logistics & Operations Associate
(505) 490-1201

David Gaussoin
NMHEP Communications & Marketing Associate
(505) 660-3087


Christa Coggins
Vice President for Community Philanthropy
(505) 988-9715 x 7002

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