Health Equity

At the University of New Mexico Hospital, we take pride in our historic and embedded mission of providing equitable care for every New Mexican, no matter their race, background, ability to pay, condition or situation. We are committed to health equity for all populations, and mindful of our particular commitment and responsibility to the Native American population. We examine process and outcomes data stratified by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and language. We continue to work on addressing inequities in health outcomes for all of our patients and community. To do this we use patient self-reported demographic information to identify areas to address that can improve the outcome gaps. One example of this is for patients with diabetes. UNMH has conducted several focus groups to gather feedback from tribal communities on possible areas of intervention. We are excited to be working on this process of addressing system level barriers and gaps in care and will have ongoing conversations with our New Mexico pueblos, tribes, and nations on this important work.

banner-zuni-interpreter-ceremony.jpgZuni-English Medical Interpreter Ceremony

In 2023, the UNMH Native American Health Services teams contacted each of the New Mexico pueblos and offered to present on the function of the department in UNM Hospital to tribal leaders, health care professions, and community members. In each of the outreach meetings, language access was a common theme that presented itself. Of the New Mexico pueblos, the Pueblo of Zuni has the largest number of enrolled tribal members so the hospital engaged in conversation with Gov. Arden Kucate’s Tribal Council. A partnership between the Zuni Tribe, the Zuni Comprehensive Medical Center/Indian Health Services, and the University of New Mexico resulted in the first seven nationally qualified Zuni-English medical interpreters. This new cohort of medical interpreters plan to continue to work together, with the Zuni Language Program, to develop a Zuni-English medical glossary that will serve as a resource for the tribe and future interpreters.

As a next step, the University of New Mexico Hospital is interested in partnering with the Keres-speaking Pueblos to continue these efforts to expand the number of trained/qualified language interpreters for the Pueblo people of New Mexico.

Other Interventions in process include:

  • Addressing lost access to the shared electronic medical record system
  • Reviewing process for continuity of care information delivery
  • Reviewing referral tracking process for Native American patients
  • Increasing staffing to support care navigation for Native American patients
  • Connecting UNM School of Medicine mobile medical and dental resources to tribal communities

Native UNM branded pottery