New Mexico has a long history of legacy environmental issues that have impacted the health of citizens including effects from the mining industry, the presence of national laboratories and Air Force bases, and the extensive footprint of the energy industry. In addition, climate change conditions such as the increase in particulate matter from dust storms and wildfires, an increase in allergens, risks of flooding and resulting water quality issues, and heat stress are also impacting residents’ health.
These environmental factors, combined with our state’s large land mass and rural populations, socioeconomic factors such as poverty, lower levels of education and substandard housing, and a general lack of community resources have all helped to contribute to poor health outcomes for many New Mexicans, especially those residing in underserved communities.
This legacy, along with the health impacts of our changing climate, were part of the impetus to forming the New Mexico Environmental Public Health Network in 2018. Our organization, comprised of medical, environmental and public health professionals throughout the state, is committed to binging a voice to the public policy space, advocating for environmental policies that positively impact public health.