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Kenny Vigil
505-841-5871 Office
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National Conference for Public Health Nurses

May 5, 2014 - Public Health - Celebration

Working to protect and promote the health and safety of the public by fostering high public health nursing practice standards, promoting and providing educational opportunities, and advancing the public health nursing role.

The New Mexico Department of Health and the Association of Public Health Nurses (APHN) are proud to announce that this year’s annual APHN conference is taking place in New Mexico for the first time in the organization’s history.

The meeting began Sunday, May 4th and continues through Wednesday, May 7th at La Fonda Hotel on the Historic Santa Fe Plaza.

On Tuesday, May 6th, at 8:00 am, Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward will be addressing attendees, who will be coming from all over the United States.

“I am absolutely thrilled that the Association of Public Health Nurses has chosen New Mexico to host its annual meeting. This is an exciting opportunity and will allow New Mexico Department of Health nurses to network and learn best practices,” said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “A special thanks goes out to Amy Wilson, Chief Nurse for the Public Health Division for all of her work coordinating this year’s meeting.”

APHN works to protect and promote the health and safety of the public by fostering high public health nursing practice standards, promoting and providing educational opportunities, and advancing the public health nursing role. APHN is a new organization; however it has a rich history. It began as the Association of State & Territorial Directors of Nursing (ASTDN) in 1935 as an advisory group of state health department nurses and has grown over the years.

“The amount of total dollars and the percentage of each dollar spent in the U.S. on health care has been increasing for many years and has now become unsustainable. In addition, our health outcomes are well behind other countries,” said Joy F. Reed, President of the Association of Public Health Nurses. “Public Health Nurses are experts in preventing disease and promoting health. During their gathering in Santa Fe May 4 -7 they will focus on ‘shaping the future of population health’ and how they can assist in bringing health care costs down and improving the health of our nation’s people.”

During the 2014 Legislative Session, Governor Susana Martinez’s proposed several initiatives as part of her plan to help bolster the healthcare workforce and make it a more favorable state for nurses to practice. The initiatives include:

Nurse Practitioner Expansion

$1.655 million was included in the state budget to expand the number of nurse practitioner slots at UNM by 24 students per year. New Mexico offers full, independent practice and prescriptive authority for licensed nurse practitioners, and was the first state in the nation to establish family nurse practitioners. This model has become an example for other states across the country.

Expedited Nurse Licensure

Legislation passed and was signed by Governor Martinez that requires the state to license any qualified nurse or nurse practitioner who wants to move to New Mexico to practice within five days or less.

Expanding Loan-for-Service Programs and Loan Repayment Efforts to Attract More Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Doctors, and Other Health Professionals

$726,000 was included in the state budget to specifically increase the number of health care professionals in health shortage areas; these awards offer incentives and support that increase the likelihood that aspiring healthcare professionals will serve and practice in our rural areas for years to come.

Prior to the legislative session, Governor Martinez also announced the establishment of a common nursing curriculum across the state so that colleges and universities can train more qualified nurses. The initiative also allows colleges throughout the state to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing in their own communities - keeping more aspiring nurses in rural areas and ending the requirement that they move to an urban area to attain their higher education.

“The healthcare workforce initiatives Governor Martinez has put in place make New Mexico a more favorable state for nurses to practice. I look forward to all the opportunities this year’s APHN conference will bring for our public health nurses, who are dedicated to making New Mexico healthier place to live,” said Secretary Ward.

For more information about the conference or to attend, call Janet DeVeny-Edwards at 405-271-9444 x56531 or visit the Association of Public Health Nurses website.


Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact Kenny Vigil at 505-841-5871 (Office) or 505-470-2290 (Mobile) with your questions.