Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

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3 Unique Social Accountability Initiatives to Address Workforce and Social Determinants of Health in New Mexico (U.S.A):

University of New Mexico School of Medicine:

A commitment to population health (community medicine, health disparity reduction, and an improved understanding of the social determinants of health) is institutionalized at UNM SOM. The mission of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine is to advance the health of all New Mexicans by educating and increasing the diversity of health professionals, leaders, and scientists; providing outstanding and compassionate medical care; advocating for the health of all New Mexicans and pursuing new knowledge and excellence of practice.

Full project description: 



Public Health Certificate:

The undergraduate medical education curriculum at the UNM SOM is unique in its inclusion of public health courses, emphasis on community based service learning and early clinical, social determinants/health equity exposure. All of these elements are designed to graduate doctors who will serve the health needs of New Mexico. UNM SOM is the only U.S. medical school with integrated public health learning resulting in a public health certificate with credits that may be transferrable to a full Masters in Public Health Degree. All of the public health courses, skills and knowledge are integrated into the medical school curriculum except for one stand-alone introductory course, Health Equity, Principles of Public Health, given the first two weeks of medical school to medical, physician assistant and pharmacy students. The value of beginning medical school with this course is to provide a framework to understand health from a socio-ecologic perspective in an interprofessional manner. Public health and health equity is emphasized from the very beginning which emphasizes its’ importance to healthcare professionals.


Health Extension Rural Offices (HERO’s): 

Workforce: According to the AAMC, in 2010 New Mexico had 4,673 active physicians, of which 1874 were active in primary care. In 2010, the state ranked 31st in the nation (out of 50, excluding the District of Columbia) for active physicians per 100,000 population (229.8 per 100,000) and 23rd for active primary care physicians per 100,000 (92.1 per 100,000). New Mexico has 196 active patient care physicians per 100,000 population, while the national average is 219.5 per 100,000. In terms of active patient care primary care physicians, New Mexico ranks 28th with 79.9 physicians per 100,000, compared to the national average of 79.4 per 100,000.


The HERO model is based on the agricultural extension model: full-time, community-based agents of UNMHSC link priority community health hubs with HSC resources to achieve measurable improvement in health status. This assists communities in achieving greater capacity to address their own needs and improve their measures of health

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