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DEA Releases 2016 Drug Threat Assessment: Fentanyl-Related Overdose Deaths Rising At An Alarming Rate

on December 7, 2016 - 1:24pm
DEA News:
WASHINGTON D.C.  DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg announced results from the 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA), which details the extent to which illicit drugs are affecting the United States.
Most notably, the 2016 NDTA continues to illuminate the nationwide opioid epidemic, which is fueling a growing heroin user population and resulting in a greater amount of overdoses. In 2014, approximately 129 people died every day as a result of drug poisoning and 61 percent (79) of them are pharmaceutical opioid or heroin related.
This opioid epidemic has been

Udall, Heinrich Urge Passage Of Foster Care Reforms

on December 6, 2016 - 12:05pm
WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined 23 of their Senate colleagues in sending a letter to congressional leaders urging them to include strongly supported reforms to the foster care system in any end-of-year budget agreement.
The Family First Prevention Services Act would allow states to use federal foster care funds to pay for programs that improve home life, such as mental health services and in-home parenting programs, which are crucial in light of the growing number of children in the foster care system whose families are affected by

Reception For Photographer Theodore Greer At Fuller Lodge Art Center Today

on December 3, 2016 - 9:52am

Loco Falls is one of the photographs by Theodore Greer on display in the Portal Gallery at Fuller Lodge Art Center. Photo by Theodore Greer

FLAC News:

Jemez Springs photographer Theodore Greer has a one-man show in the Fuller Lodge Art Center, with a reception 2-4 p.m. today, Dec. 3.

The show is called “The Healing Arts”, and features 14 photographs on canvas that were chosen to be in the new Presbyterian Hospital Rust Medical Center, as well as other facilities, including Presbyterian Main, Anna Kaseman and the New Mexico Cancer Center.

The show includes quotes from some of the many people

Luján Hails Inclusion Of Opioid Funding In 21st Century Cures Act

on December 3, 2016 - 8:34am
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján
WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District on Wednesday spoke on the House floor in support of the 21st Century Cures Act, which included language Congressman Luján championed that authorizes $1 billion in funding to combat the growing opioid epidemic.
Earlier this year, Luján introduced the Opioid and Heroin Abuse Crisis Investment Act, which reflected President Obama’s request for much-needed resources to increase treatment programs that will help address the drug crisis.

Advocacy Group Develops Resources For Mental Health

on December 2, 2016 - 1:46pm

From left, Stephanie Koch, MA, LMHC, Counselor at Mesa Vista Wellness; Sara Pasqualoni, M.D., Medical Director at LANL; Lori Coffelt, RN, Emergency Services at LAMC; Christine Hazard, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist at LAPS; Cate Nickless, coordinator for Los Alamos PHO; Kristine Coblentz, Healthy Schools Program director at LAPS; Tina Goldsmith, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Clinical Psychologist at Southwest Center for Child and Family Development; Andrea Cunningham, RN, BSN, program coordinator for JJAB; Patrice Goodkind, LISW, LCSW, Social Worker in Private Practice; and Kristy Ortega, Executive Director

Savvy Caregiver Seven Session Course Jan. 10

on December 2, 2016 - 8:57am
ALBUQUERQUE  Families facing Alzheimer’s disease will have access to a free, seven-week education course in Santa Fe offered by the Alzheimer’s Association, New Mexico Chapter. The course will be offered as both an afternoon and evening course.
“The Savvy Caregiver” a FREE seven-session course presented by the Alzheimer’s Association, NM Chapter. The afternoon course option is 1-3 p.m., once a week, beginning each Tuesday, Jan. 10 through Feb. 21. This afternoon option will be held at Brookdale Santa Fe Assisted Living located at 640 Alta Vista in Santa Fe.

Udall Joins Senate In Passing ECHO Act To Increase Rural Access To Health Care

on December 1, 2016 - 8:53am
WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Sen. Tom Udall joined the full Senate in voting 97-0 to approve the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act -- a measure based on the University of New Mexico's successful Project ECHO program -- to increase access to high quality health care in rural communities.
Udall is a cosponsor of the bill and, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, has been a strong supporter of funding for the program.
The ECHO Act would expand the successful Project Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO), a model program founded at the

Heinrich Welcomes Senate Passage Of Bill To Expand Innovative UNM Rural Tele-Health Program

on November 30, 2016 - 10:38am
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich
WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) welcomes the Senate’s passage of S. 2873, the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act, a bill to boost access to high-quality health care in hard-to-reach regions.
Heinrich is a cosponsor of the bill, which aims to better integrate the University of New Mexico School of Medicine’s groundbreaking Project ECHO telehealth model into health systems across the country.
“Families across New Mexico, including in our rural and tribal communities, deserve access to high-quality

Alzheimer’s Caregivers Invited To Free Presentation

on November 30, 2016 - 8:57am
ALBUQUERQUE  Families facing Alzheimer’s disease will have access to a free presentation in Santa Fe, NM offered by the Alzheimer’s Association, New Mexico Chapter. 
“Living with Alzheimer’s: For Caregivers (Early Stage)” is a FREE educational event presented by the Alzheimer’s Association, NM Chapter 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. The event will be hosted by the Kingston Residence at 2400 Legacy Court in Santa Fe.
To register or for more information, contact Tina De La Luz, 505.473.1297 or

These presentations are designed primarily for non-professional or

English: An Ounce Of Skincare Prevention

on November 20, 2016 - 7:27am
Los Alamos

Clients normally visit Estheticians to correct a skin problem rather than to prevent issues from occurring. Prevention is the first line of defense when it comes to skin Health and slowing down the aging process, but many are missing this step.

Clients too often wait until their skin appearance and health get severe, at which point they wind up in their esthetician’s treatment room expecting 15 years of damage to be removed in one session.

The good news is it might not always be like this moving forward.

What Impact Do Medication Errors Have On Nursing Home Residents?

on November 19, 2016 - 7:02am
A new analysis points to surprisingly low rates of serious impacts from medication errors affecting nursing home residents, despite the fact that these errors remain fairly common.
The investigators noted that it’s unclear whether medication errors resulting in serious outcomes are truly infrequent or are under-reported due to the difficulty in ascertaining them. The findings are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Medication errors can cause considerable harm, and older adults in nursing homes may be especially vulnerable.

Health Action New Mexico Commends Governor Martinez For Vowing To Protect Health Coverage Gains

on November 18, 2016 - 9:35pm
HANM News:
ALBUQUERQUE  Gov. Susana Martinez made clear that health coverage gains under the Affordable Care Act must be protected. According to the Associated Press, the Governor “has offered assurances that people won't be left without health insurance as President-elect Donald Trump and fellow Republicans seek to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.”
More than 300,000 New Mexicans have gained coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act, causing the uninsured rate to drop to historic lows.
 “We commend Governor Martinez for her commitment to people in New Mexico who finally have

Cancer Comes In Colors Other Than Pink ... November Is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month

on November 18, 2016 - 7:23am
October has now left us and we have gone through a blizzard of pink on the playing fields of the NFL.
Celebrities have spoken of breast cancer awareness and pink t-shirts and ribbons seem to be everywhere. The National Breast Cancer Foundation has done a fantastic job of building awareness and fundraising for research. So much so that the survival rate for breast cancer is now at 89%.
Other colors and cancers have not done so well. Pearl is the color for lung cancer and November is Lung Cancer awareness month.

IRS Opens New Registration For 2017 Advance Monthly Payments Of Health Coverage Tax Credit

on November 16, 2016 - 7:57am
IRS News:
PHOENIX  The Internal Revenue Service has opened the new registration and enrollment process for qualified taxpayers to receive the benefit of the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) on an advance monthly basis during 2017.
Eligible taxpayers can have 72.5 percent of their qualified health insurance premiums paid in advance directly to their health plan administrator each month. Each payment made on their behalf to the health plan administrator lowers their out-of-pocket premium costs.
Taxpayers may be eligible to elect the HCTC only if they are one of the following:
  • An

LAPS Announces Kristine Coblentz As Healthy Schools Program Director

on November 11, 2016 - 10:10am

Healthy Schools Program Director Kristine Coblentz

LAPS News:

Last week Kristine Coblentz joined Los Alamos Public Schools as director of the new Healthy Schools Program.

The position was created as a result of the work of LAPS' Mental Health Task Force and the Schools Board's Strategic Plan, which prioritizes student and staff well-being as one of its eight focus areas. Coblentz reports to LAPS Superintendent, Dr. Kurt Steinhaus.

Coblentz will be working closely with a team that includes school clinical psychologist Dr.

Fundraiser Underway For Zee Stidham

on November 11, 2016 - 7:32am
Tony and Zandree (Zee) Stidham in October before they left for her bone marrow transplant in Denver. Courtesy photo
Zandree Stidham moments before her bone marrow transplant last month in Denver. Courtesy photo

Staff Report

A local 35-year-old assistant professor of English, wife, mother and aspiring writer has just undergone a lifesaving bone marrow transplant at the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute in Denver. 

Zandree (Zee) Stidham was diagnosed with Essential Thrombocythemia or ET (a disease in the same family as Leukemia and Lymphoma) in January 2010. After battling with ET for almost six

SFCC Hosts Great American Smokeout Nov. 17

on November 9, 2016 - 11:47am
SFCC News:
Santa Fe Community College Hosts an American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event noon-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 in the SFCC Jemez Room at 6401 Richards Ave. .
Make it a smoke-free day. Learn about cessation resources, the dangers of second- and third-hand smoke to non-smokers, the effects on dental health and the truth about e-cigarettes.
Program participants include the American Lung Association, New Mexico Department of Health, SFCC Dental Department, SFCC Respiratory Care Program and Smiles of Santa Fe.
Call 505.428.1665, for information.

Heinrich To Hold Rural Health Care Listening Tour

on November 8, 2016 - 5:04pm
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) will be holding a multi-day rural health care listening tour to meet with medical professionals and discuss tele-health for veterans, recruiting and retaining staff, and other issues facing New Mexico's growing health care industry.
Beginning Monday, Nov.

State Auditor Releases Special Audit Of UNMH’s Indigent Care Program

on November 8, 2016 - 7:11am
State Auditor Tim Keller
SANTA FE State Auditor Tim Keller released a special audit Nov. 4 of the Indigent Care Program at the University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH).
Advocates and policymakers have long sought more transparency about revenues and expenses related to healthcare for economically disadvantaged people. The special audit, conducted by an independent audit firm, examined UNMH’s indigent care costs and funding from fiscal year 2014 to 2016.
The audit found that UNMH had a total funding shortfall of more than $60 million, despite a reduction in

Study Indicates Higher Injury Rates For High School Athletes Who Specialize In One Sport

on November 5, 2016 - 6:09pm

Study reveals that student athletes who specialize in a single sport sustain lower-extremity injuries at significantly higher rates than athletes who do not specialize in one sport. Courtesy/NFHS

NFHS News:

INDIANAPOLIS — A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and funded by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Foundation revealed that high school athletes who specialize in a single sport sustain lower-extremity injuries at significantly higher rates than athletes who do not specialize in one sport.

The study was

Mutational Signatures Mark Cancer's Smoking Gun

on November 3, 2016 - 12:35pm

Research on mutational signatures in the genome of cancer cells shows that smoking increases the risk of several cancer types by raising the overall number of mutations, even in tissue not directly exposed to smoke. Courtesy/Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

LANL News:


A broad computational study of cancer genome sequences identifies telltale mutational signatures associated with smoking tobacco and demonstrates, for the first time, that smoking increases cancer risk by causing somatic mutations in tissues directly and indirectly exposed to tobacco smoke.

Letter To The Editor: A Letter To The Los Alamos Community And My Patients

on November 3, 2016 - 9:06am
By Dr. Phillip Hertzman
After practicing medicine for more than 39 years at Los Alamos Medical Center, I will be closing the Los Alamos office of Los Alamos Family Practice and Vein Care of New Mexico Nov. 29.
I received an impersonal letter from a representative of ‘PHC-Los Alamos Inc d/b/a Los Alamos Medical Center” in Brentwood, Tenn., threatening eviction from my current office 30 days after they purchase the property from Los Alamos National Bank. As of late October Los Alamos Medical Center was not the owner of this property. 
It is astonishing that after having been a

Scenes From LAMC's Annual Halloween Event

on November 2, 2016 - 7:54am

Staff and family gather at Los Alamos Medical Center Friday for the annual Halloween event open to the entire community. Staff decorate their departments and give treats to trick-or-treaters. Photo by Raphael Edralin

Scene from Friday's annual Halloween event at Los Alamos Medical Center at which doctors and staff dress up and greet the community. Photo by Raphael Edralin

Scene from Friday's annual Halloween event at Los Alamos Medical Center at which doctors and staff dress up and greet the community. Photo by Raphael Edralin

Scene from Friday's annual Halloween event at Los Alamos

Public Turns In Nearly 366 Tons Of Drugs To DEA

on October 30, 2016 - 1:11pm

Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg

DEA News:

  • Safe disposal of unused medications addresses opioid epidemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Six years after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Americans continue to turn out in large numbers to rid their homes of unused medications, including controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) such as painkillers, tranquilizers, and stimulants.

The public turned in 731,269 pounds—almost 366 tons—of medication to DEA Oct.

DaVita Dialysis Center Opens In Los Alamos

on October 27, 2016 - 11:43am

From left, DaVita Dialysis Center Medical Director and Los Alamos board-certified nephrologist David Mills, MD, Regional Coordinator Kat Reher, RN Gloria Diaz and Facility Administrator Sammy Benavidez in front of the new facility during Monday’s open house. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Joe Vigil, center, is the first patient at DaVita Dialysis Center. he attended Monday's open house and is shown here with RN Gloria Diaz and Facility Administrator Sammy Benavidez. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

DaVita Dialysis Center front lobby. Photo by Carol A. Clark/