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Office of Health Equity

Welcome to the office of Health Equity. The OHE seeks to acknowledge systemic racism and the social determinants of health to eliminate disparities by addressing and promoting health equity among all people in every community in New Mexico.

The OHE strives to provide equitable health opportunities by building relationships with communities, establishing collaborations with care providers and forging partnerships with stakeholders to provide quality services in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner. These measures focus on ensuring all New Mexicans, especially in rural and under-served areas and borderlands, have increased opportunities to be healthy and promote the public health mission of the NMDOH.

What is Health Equity?

Health equity is commonly defined as “the attainment of the highest level of health for all people… Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historic and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and healthcare disparities.” Health equity is achieved when everyone in our society has the same opportunity to be as healthy as possible, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, or geographic location. According to the World Health Organization, good health is a fundamental human right, and everyone should have the opportunity to attain it. By addressing inequities, public health leaders can create opportunities for all people and communities to feel empowered to achieve the highest level of health.*

Some of the health challenges specific to New Mexico include:

    Bicycle graphic depicting the difference in equality and equity.
  • 25% of New Mexicans live at or below the federal poverty level.
  • 1 in 3 of New Mexicans live in rural areas.
  • New Mexico has a health care provider shortage which negatively impacts preventative care and access to treatment.
  • Obesity and diabetes among New Mexico youth are disproportionately higher in Native and Hispanic populations.
  • Diseases of despair are highest among Native Americans, with NM ranking highest for alcohol related deaths in the nation.
  • LGBT youth are more likely to suffer depression and anxiety and to have attempted suicide.
  • Teen pregnancy rates among Hispanic and Latino females are higher than any other racial or ethnic group.
  • Infant mortality and poor maternal health outcomes are highest among Black and African American women.
  • 35% of New Mexicans speak a language other than English.
  • New Mexico’s minority-majority population has suffered root shock, historical trauma and the effects of colonization leading to systemic racism and social injustices.

Along with the greater mission of the NMDOH (promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes and assure safety net services) the Office of Health Equity will continue to place equity at the center of all public health services in New Mexico including assessment, policy development and assurance.

*Retrieved from ASTHO Reports: Health Equity and Public Health Department Accreditation. (2018, November 7).

Public Comment

The 2021 House Memorial 2 Public Health Task Force is pleased to provide the following draft report of recommendations for a 45-day public comment period. Public comments will be accepted from June 1, 2022, through July 15, 2022. Please review the draft report and provide feedback through one of the following ways:

Public Health Task Force QR Code.
  • Use the QR code here to share your thoughts with us in our online survey..
  • Use this link to our online survey to share your thoughts with us :
  • Email your comments to Health Equity Director T. Justin Garoutte, MPH, CPH, at
  • Call Justin with your comments at 505-946-7313.
  • Mail your comments to: New Mexico Department of Health, Office of Health Equity, 1190 Saint Francis Drive, S4253, Santa Fe, NM 87505.

Click the following link to access the draft report : 2021 House Memorial 2 Public Health Task Force Draft Recommendation Report

News Articles










Addressing the Health Needs of Sex and Gender Minorities in New Mexico


Sexual and gender minority populations, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, experience disparities in physical and mental health, as well as access to and use of health services. This report explores existing disparities and suggests steps to improve the health of New Mexico’s SGM citizens.

See the following for additional information on this topic:

Health Equity in New Mexico


The purpose of this report (formerly the Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Report) is to identify important health disparities in New Mexico so that diverse organizations and agencies, including the Department of Health, can design and implement evidence-based interventions to improve health equity.

American Indian Health Equity


Since 2008, the Department has also published a special edition of the report that focuses on American Indian Health in the hope that public and private partners will join us in identifying the factors that contribute to the disproportionate burden of disease experienced by American Indians in New Mexico. The report also helps us identify successful strategies to reduce this burden.

Cultural and Linguistic Competence Policy Assessment


The New Mexico Department of Health conducted the Cultural Linguistic Competency Assessment 2017 to:

  1. Evaluate the Department’s social, cultural, and linguistic competence.
  2. Study the factors that can help, improve, or block the success of the NMDOH service delivery system.
  3. Create a baseline of what employees know about the Department’s policies, procedures, and practices.

The results of the assessment will support NMDOH on: a) improving health care access and utilization; b) enhancing the quality of services provided to New Mexico’s culturally diverse and underserved communities; and, c) promoting cultural and linguistic competence as essential approaches in the elimination of health disparities in New Mexico.

Please see the Cultural Linguistic Competency Assessment 2017 Infographic for the results of the 2017 Cultural and Linguistic Assessment.