Health Secretary Says New Mexico Must Address Serious Obesity Problem

In response to Trust for America’s Health “F as in Fat” report released earlier this month, Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil, MD, said New Mexico needs to continue to strengthen its obesity-prevention efforts to address a serious problem with obesity.

According to the report:

· Mississippi had the highest obesity rate, 32.5 percent, for the fifth year in a row
· New Mexico ranks as the 36th most obese at 24.6% for adults.
· New Mexico fares worse when it comes to children. 32.7% are either overweight or obese, the 19th highest total in the country.

In the report, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009,” obesity-related costs to Medicare and Medicaid are likely to grow significantly as the Baby Boomer generation ages, because of the large number of people in this population, the high rate of obesity and obesity’s negative health impact. See F as in Fat 2009

October Special Session Coming Into View


The outlines of an October special legislative session are starting to come into sight as key players wrestle with one of the steepest economic downturns in state history. State Senator John Arthur Smith, co-chair of the powerful Legislative Finance Committee, is telling insiders that an October special appears inevitable as state tax collections continue a precipitous decline.

The American Heart Association is poised to support a cigarette tax increase that will not only save lives and reduce disease caused by tobacco use, but also raise funds that can be used to further reduce health costs.

Raising tobacco taxes in other states has always reduced smoking and raised revenue. With rising health care costs and budget shortfalls this is the perfect time to raise the tobacco tax.

UNMH Recognized for Quality Heart and Stroke Care

The University of New Mexico Hospital has been recognized for achievement in using evidence-based guidelines to provide the best possible care to patients through The American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association’s “Get with the Guidelines” program.

“We are proud that the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have chosen the ‘America’s Best Hospitals’ issue of US News & World Report to recognize UNM for our achievements in their Get With The Guidelines program,” said Warren Laskey, M.D., chief for the UNM Hospital Division of Cardiology. “Get with the Guidelines gives our professionals the tools and reports they need to effectively treat our coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke patients.”

UNM Hospital and 569 other hospitals will be featured in a July 28 advertisement in the “America’s Best Hospitals” issue of US News & World Report to commemorate their receipt of “Get with the Guidelines” Gold or Silver Performance Achievement Award. The awards are given for achievement in coronary artery disease, stroke and/or heart failure treatment.

"Get with the Guidelines” is a hospital-based quality-improvement program designed to ensure that hospitals consistently care for cardiac and stroke patients following the most up-to-date guidelines and recommendations. The program addresses coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke. Currently more than 1,450 hospitals participate in the program.

"The American Heart Association is pleased to recognize its top Get with the Guidelines participants,” said. Lee Schwamm, M.D., national chairman of the “Get with the Guidelines” steering committee, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Vice Chairman of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Healthcare providers who use “Get with the Guidelines” are armed with the latest evidence-based guidelines and immediate access to clinical decision support, using a set of tools that have been shown to improve delivery of evidence-based care. The goal of this initiative is to improve the quality of life and help reduce deaths and disability among patients with heart disease and stroke.”

HSC Research Pulls In Record $137.5 Million

The New Mexico Health Science Center Office of Research amassed more than $137.5 million in federal research dollars in FY ’09, its highest research grant funding year ever, despite the overall decrease in federal research dollars since 2006. The $137.5 million represents a 15-percent increase over 2005’s $120 million in research and a nearly six-fold jump from 1995’s $25 million.

According to HSC Vice President for Translational Research Richard Larson, M.D., Ph.D. “These dollars multiply several times over as they are infused into our local economy.” Improved grant search and application processes, and stronger and more diverse relationships within the HSC, UNM and outside research communities have led to increased research funding. Approximately half of the $137.5 million was federal money, while the other half came from private organizations, foundations and companies.

“The Health Sciences Center’s research programs are creating high-paying jobs locally that continue to fuel Albuquerque’s and New Mexico’s economic engines,” Larson adds. “More importantly, our research directly addresses New Mexicans coping with debilitating chronic diseases, life-changing catastrophic accidents, and effective preventive health measures.”

Last year’s research awards supported nearly $60 million in high-tech New Mexico salaries with federal money. “As part of our research mission, we are bringing significant new monies, jobs and salaries into New Mexico – rather than tapping state coffers – to resolve local, regional and global health challenges,” Larson points out.

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