Community Health Education and Resiliency Program







BIPOC Mental Health Month

July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, also known as BIPOC Mental Health Month. The theme of this year’s campaign is Culture, Community, & Connection. It is important for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) to mindfully focus on mental health and incorporate self-care practices as BIPOC disproportionately impacted by experiences that impact mental health such as historical trauma, generational trauma, and discrimination. However, culture, community, and connection are some important strengths that can uplift and contribute to wellness.  

There are many important actions you can take during BIPOC Mental Health Month, but one that is vital for connecting with culture and community is advocating for mentally healthy spaces. According to Mental Health America (MHA), connecting with others in community is easier when you are in a healthy environment. MHA provides the following tips to help create mentally healthy spaces:  

  • Educate others. Talk to your community about why it’s important to create spaces that are welcoming and inclusive for people with mental health challenges. 
  • Start conversations. Sometimes just speaking up about mental health will encourage others to share their experiences and concerns. 
  • Organize wellness events. Work with community organizations, leaders, and mental health professionals to organize events and activities that promote mental health and well-being. 
  • Advocate for the creation of safe spaces. Whether it’s a community center, spiritual gathering place, or school, advocate and work toward creating safe spaces where people can feel comfortable talking about their mental health challenges without fear of judgment or stigma. 
  • Seek support. Connect with mental health professionals and community resources to get the support you need in your neighborhood or community. 

For more information visit:  

New Plan from the White House

As the rise of Xylazine deaths in parts of the United States is rising, the White House released a National Response Plan on July 11, 2023, to get ready for the fight to prevent xylazine overdose deaths. You can read the full plan here.

Many communities feel that xylazine is not in their communities, so it is not a priority to educate people. While this is a valid point, it is always good to be prepared as a community. The more education we have on all topics of substance use, the better our communities will be able to prevent overdose deaths and usage. A large part of prevention is education. If we educate before the problem is present our communities will be able to make informed decisions on how to act.

For more information on xylazine email Lee Torres at

Tribal Prevention Workshop Empowers Indigenous Communities to Tackle Challenges

Zuni Pueblo’s Tribal Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (TEOW) members and Field Coordinator presenting on substance use prevention within their community. 

From Left to Right: Marnella Kucate-Yepa, Tammie Delena, Ricky Penketewa Sr., Joelynn Allapowa, and Tim Eisenga "!

The Positive Directions for Native Health program recently concluded a successful two-day workshop held on July 18-19, 2023, at the Marriott of Albuquerque in Uptown. This empowering event brought together three tribal sub-awardees, namely Zuni Pueblo, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and Santo Domingo Pueblo, along with their esteemed Tribal Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (TEOW) members and Field Coordinators.

 The workshop kicked off with an opening ceremony, welcoming remarks, and introductions by Ayn Whyte and Alyssa Jojola. A moment of reflection and unity was shared as Zuni Councilman Ricky Penketewa Sr. led a heartfelt prayer, setting the tone for the engaging sessions that followed.

One of the highlights was the insightful presentation on "Historical Resilience: Transcending Historical Trauma" by the renowned Dr. Deidre P. Yellowhair from UNM Division of Community Behavioral Health. This presentation shed light on the historical traumas faced by indigenous communities and the ways to overcome them with resilience and strength.

A thought-provoking session titled "Let’s Talk About It," conducted by Ruth Yáñez and Liliana Spurgeon of Bilingual Hearts Consulting, LLC, provided a safe space for open discussions on sensitive topics affecting tribal communities. Niharika Palakodety from AASTEC shared the findings about the pressing issue of substance use among AI/AN adolescents in the New Mexico and Southern Colorado Tribal Region. 

On the second day, the focus shifted to community-specific presentations. The Zuni TEOW presented valuable insights and experiences related to their efforts regarding substance use prevention within their community. Substance use prevention and intervention strategies were addressed by Lee Torres, Program Coordinator at CHERP, emphasizing the importance of addressing polysubstance overdose. 

Jennifer Nanez and Teresa Gomez from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences presented on youth mental health first aid and the significance of transcending historical trauma in parenting. The workshop concluded with an enlightening session on the implementation of the Tribal Opioid Response Grant, where Charlene Poola, Ph. D., Weyhan Smith, and Devona Bradford shared their valuable experiences and lessons learned. 

Overall, the workshop proved to be an empowering platform, equipping tribal representatives with valuable knowledge, strategies, and resources to address critical challenges faced by their communities. The commitment and dedication shown by all participants promise a brighter, healthier future for tribal communities across the region. 

NNHN Tour de Midwest

The National Native HIV Network Program Coordinator Donald Chee and CHERP Senior Capacity Building Specialist Kurt Begaye, along with the Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center-Kansas/Nebraska (MATEC KS/NE) Program Director Susan Tusher, visited tribal health centers in Nebraska and Kansas. The purpose of the Midwest trip was to meet with HIV service providers that work on the frontlines of frontier, rural, and urban tribal communities to gain an understanding of the HIV services provided and to identify barriers to HIV prevention education, testing, and treatment. In addition, the visits will strengthen the NNHN’s efforts to build capacity and provide technical assistance to support tribal community engagement, training, and support to eradicate HIV in tribal communities.


The team drove the beautiful cornhusker country of Nebraska to meet with the following tribal health centers: Twelve Clans Unity Hospital Public Health Department (Winnebago Indian Community) in Winnebago, NE; the Carl T. Curtis Health Center in Macy, NE (Omaha Indian Community), the Nebraska Urban Indian Health Center in Omaha, NE, and Fred LeRoy Health and Wellness Center (est. by Ponca Indian Tribe) in Omaha, NE. On day two the team drove south into Kansas to meet with: the Kickapoo Nation Health Center in Horton, KS; the Prairie Band Potawotami Health Center in Mayetta, KS; and ended with a visit to the Haskell Health Center on the University campus in Lawrence, KS.


Overall, the providers and health center staff we met were very welcoming and receptive of the NNHN, CHERP, and MATEC-KS/NE. We found that there is a great need for more HIV resources and that HIV stigma in tribal communities is still very prevalent. However, there is great work being done on the frontlines and we are very excited to develop and foster collaboration relationships with tribal communities in the Midwest and other regions. 

Online Supply Orders

The Community Health Education and Resiliency Program provides safer sex supplies (condoms, dental dams, lube), HIV Self-Test Kits, Narcan, Fentanyl Test Strips, and Deterra Pouches to individuals and organizations in the IHS Albuquerque Area. Please use the links below to order your supplies.


Safer Sex Supplies and HIV Self-Test Kits:

Narcan, Fentanyl Test Strips, and Deterra Pouches:

For more information about online orders, contact Kurt at


ESCALATE Trainings

ESCALATE Training facilitates transformative and relational change in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Programs (RWHAP) by increasing participants' knowledge and skills to recognize and address HIV-related stigma within their organizations and communities they serve. This happens through a deepening awareness of and practices for cultural humility amongst people with HIV. Trainers create an equitable and transformative environment for RWHAP providers to learn with and from their people with HIV partners.

Upcoming ESCALATE Trainings:

  • Detroit, MI - August 13 - 18, 2023

Register Now

For more information, please email Christopher J. Paisano at

US Conference on HIV/AIDS

September 6-9, 2023

Marriott Marquis

Washington, DC

The 2023 United States Conference on HIV/AIDS (USCHA) will take place September 6–9, 2023 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC. This year’s theme is “A Love Letter to Black Women”.

Similar to the focus on Puerto Rico and Latinx populations last year, the conference will lean into this theme by celebrating and honoring Black women (cis and trans). The conference will highlight Black women across our movements, from activists to women living with HIV, national advocates, community voices, federal leaders, health department staff, healthcare workers, researchers and women-focused organizations. The Opening Plenary will tell their stories and acknowledge their contributions. Their experiences will be highlighted in workshops, institutes, posters, and special events. A section of the exhibit hall will be set aside for small businesses owned and operated by Black women.

For more information, click here.


NM Community Planning and Action Group Meetings - Friday, August 11, 2023 beginning at 9:30 am.

To join the NM CPAG list serve, email John Murphy at

If you have events you want to include in our monthly newsletter, please send them to Kurt at

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