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Expanding Horizons for Rural Young Men of Color

Sep 8, 2014, 1:55 PM, Posted by Maisha Simmons

An older student assists a younger student in school.

When we first began the Forward Promise initiative, we envisioned building the capacity and impact of organizations across the country working with boys and young men of color from every type of community and background. We wanted to identify and support a cohort of grantees that were diverse in their approach, in their geography, and in the racial, ethnic and cultural experiences of the young people that they supported. Once we began doing this work, it didn’t take long to realize we were falling short.

The simple truth is that the majority of organizations who applied for Forward Promise that had demonstrated success and were ready to expand were located in major cities. Few applicants were in the rural beltway that stretches across the Southern United States, from Alabama to Arizona. It would be easy to assume that there weren’t many young men of color there or that there was not much innovation or capacity to support young men of color in that region. But you know what they say about assumptions ...

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The Importance of Emphasizing Healthy Habits for All Children

Aug 20, 2014, 11:00 AM

Human Capital Blog: Congratulations on your award from the Western Institute of Nursing! The award honors new nurse researchers. What does it mean for you and for your career?

Carolyn Montoya: In addition to being quite an honor, receiving the Carol Lindeman Award for new researchers from the Western Institute of Nursing motivates me to continue to pursue my research. I am sure people can relate to the fact that being in the student mode is so very intense that once you finish you need some recovery time. Then you start wanting to use the research skills you worked so hard to obtain, and this award has helped to re-energize my commitment to research.

HCB: The award recognizes your study on children’s self-perception of weight. Please tell us what you found.

Montoya: I was very interested to see if there was a difference between how Hispanic children viewed their self-perception in regard to weight compared with white children. Seventy percent of my study population was Hispanic, and my overall response rate was 42 percent. I found that Hispanic children, ages 8 to 11, are not better or worse than white children in their ability to accurately perceive their weight status. Most surprising, and a bit concerning, was the fact that one-third of the sample expressed a desire to be underweight.

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New Mexico Governor Martinez Announces New Common Nursing Curriculum

Nov 8, 2013, 4:23 PM

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. [Photo by permission of the state of New Mexico via Wikimedia Commons.]

At a news conference yesterday in Albuquerque, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez announced the establishment of a statewide common nursing curriculum, designed to increase the number of nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees in the state. She was joined at the event by leaders from the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC), which led the effort to develop the curriculum and build partnerships between community colleges and universities.

NMNEC’s work is supported by the New Mexico Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) initiative, a grantee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Implementation of this curriculum in New Mexico will allow nursing students to more easily transfer credits from community colleges within the state, so they can pursue BSNs without having to physically attend large universities like the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque or New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. For the first time, state community colleges will be able to partner with one of these universities to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

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Health Inequities Harm Everyone

May 31, 2013, 9:00 AM, Posted by LisaMarie Turk

Ample scientific and empirical evidence supports increasing diversity in the health care workforce in order to decrease health disparities and advance health equity.

I am a registered nurse and PhD student in Nursing and Health Policy at the University of New Mexico. New Mexico is known for its depth of cultural diversity; however, this state joins the nation in experiencing negligible diversity in its health care workforce. 

I was honored with the opportunity to complete a policy internship focusing on nursing workforce diversity at the Division of Nursing of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Bureau of Health Professions. From this experience, I gained increased awareness and resources to affect change in nursing and health care workforce diversity in New Mexico.

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Progress in New Mexico: A New Kind of Education System for a New Generation of Nurses

May 21, 2013, 9:00 AM, Posted by Nisa Bruce

Janice “Nisa” Bruce is the director of San Juan College Department of Nursing in Farmington, NM.  She has a BA from San Francisco State University, a BSN from East Central University Oklahoma, and an MS from the University of Oklahoma, College of Nursing.  She has been in nursing higher education since 1988, and is completing her 20th year at San Juan College.


We began our New Mexico community college-university collaboration in late 2009 with the publication of a university-generated white paper articulating the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations citing the need for more baccalaureate nurses to meet the health care needs of the 21st century. Of course to community college associate degree educators, that proposal smacked of the old entry level into practice argument that has divided nursing educators for decades. We gnashed our teeth, we complained to each other, we argued that the literature was flawed. Then we got busy. And the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC) was born.

Little by little, over time, the pieces have fallen into place. 

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What the Election Means for Health and Health Care… The Country Needs More Providers, Better Mental Health and Elder Care, and an End to Poverty

Nov 27, 2012, 9:00 AM, Posted by Carolyn Montoya

Carolyn Montoya, RN, MSN, CPNP, is a fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico. A PhD Candidate, Montoya serves on the New Mexico Medicaid Advisory Committee, an advisory body to the Secretary of the state’s Human Services Department and the Director of the Medical Assistance Division Director. The RWJF Human Capital Blog asked scholars and fellows from a few of its programs to consider what the election results will mean for health and health care in the United States.


Human Capital Blog: Do you think there will be fewer challenges to the Affordable Care Act and more attention to how to implement it?

Montoya:  Now that the election is over, the reality is that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not be repealed. As we go forward with the ACA in place, a strong emphasis should be placed on evaluation. Outcome measures, such low rates of diabetes complications or increased immunization rates, will be essential in terms of being able to establish what aspects of the ACA are working and which ones need to be revised.

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Meet the RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico

Nov 19, 2012, 9:00 AM

This is part of a series introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio.

New Mexico is widely known for its scenic vistas and its rich cultural heritage. Thanks to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), it may soon add its health policy experts to the list of notables. The RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico is preparing a new generation of diverse, PhD-prepared nurses to meet the nation’s health policy challenges.

Fellows are exploring a vast array of health care challenges with a specific focus on public policy solutions. Their research ranges from childhood obesity prevention policies, to cost analyses of obstetrical care, to enhanced access to mental and behavioral health, and more.

Through the program, fellows develop a unique understanding of the factors influencing public policy, and learn how they can become a powerful voice in that process.

Earlier this year, two of the program’s fellows, Laura Brennaman, MSN, RN,CEN, and Lauri Lineweaver, MSN, RN, CCRN-CSC, attended the historic Supreme Court oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act. Brennaman was also present in the chamber when the final decision was announced on June 28. The program strives to bring its fellows into events like these, which impart a profound lesson about the interconnectedness of the health care and policy worlds.

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Meet the RWJF Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico

Oct 9, 2012, 9:00 AM

This is part of a series introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio. The RWJF Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico is working to increase the diversity of those with formal training in the fields of economics, political science and sociology who engage in health services and health policy research, and to become a nationally recognized locus for health policy research that will support work to inform health policy debates at multiple levels.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico is poised to have a far-reaching impact on the nation. The Center is the only institution dedicated to increasing the number of leaders from Latino and American Indian communities who will help shape the future of our nation’s health and health care.

At the heart of this work is the academic and professional development of its doctoral and post-doctoral fellows, a diverse group who are on their way to careers in health policy, academia, philanthropy, and health care financing and delivery systems. 

The Center is dedicated to preparing these future leaders through on-the-job research, policy analysis training, leadership development, and community capacity building. Through interdisciplinary research with health care professionals, and by partnering with other researchers and professional organizations, fellows pursue resolutions for complex policy issues affecting our nation’s health, especially in Latino and American Indian communities.

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Nine States Receive RWJF Grants to Build More Highly Educated Nursing Workforce

Aug 23, 2012, 12:15 PM

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) program announced that California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Washington state have been chosen to receive grants to advance state and regional strategies aimed at creating a more highly educated, diverse nursing workforce. Each state will receive a two-year, $300,000 grant. 

The states will now work with academic institutions and employers on implementing sophisticated strategies to help nurses get higher degrees in order to improve patient care and help fill faculty and advanced practice nursing roles.  In particular, the states will encourage strong partnerships between community colleges and universities to make it easier for nurses to transition to higher degrees.

In its groundbreaking report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be prepared at the baccalaureate level or higher by the year 2020.  At present, about half of nurses in the United States have baccalaureate or higher degrees.

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A Nurse-Midwife and a PhD Candidate

May 15, 2012, 3:00 PM, Posted by Elisa Patterson

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health has designated May 13 to May 19 as National Women’s Health Week. It is designed to bring together communities, businesses, government, health organizations and others to promote women’s health. The goal in 2012 is to empower women to make their health a top priority. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Blog is launching an occasional series on women’s health in conjunction with the week. This post is by Elisa L. Patterson, MS, CNM, a fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico.

I have been a certified nurse-midwife for almost 19 years. It is an ingrained part of who I am. I have served women of many different ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds. Being a nurse-midwife embraces my duality of being a nurse and a midwife. I am very proud of these credentials.

As I add to my education in a PhD program – through the RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing – I have found it a challenge to express in my “elevator speech” how these two credentials enhance my abilities to do policy work. I tried starting with what I am doing as a PhD student at the University of New Mexico. But when I say, “I’m also a nurse–midwife,” listeners seem to tag onto that singular piece of information and forget the rest of the conversation. Then, they might share their personal birth story or one that is a fond memory from a close friend. Or, they might ask me if I deliver babies at home.


I have not been able to figure out how to combine the important and, to me, impressive fact that while, yes, I am a nurse-midwife, I am also very capable of conversing about, researching and representing many other issues.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) has a way to help me and other nurse-midwives who face this dilemma. Next month at their annual gathering, a public relations campaign will be presented to the membership. It will include a vision, mission statement, and core values. The ultimate goal is to describe the value of nurse-midwives and, in general, support the provision of high-quality maternity care and women’s health services by Certified Nurse-Midwives.

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