Equity, Evidence & Engagement
Congratulations to our TREE Center's scholars! We are proud
of your accomplishments 

These awards, promotions and recognitions are well deserved and reflect dedicated commitment to advancing the knowledge and evidence for a better society, health and well-being of diverse communities and improved policies for social and economic justice. Most importantly, we all are a bridge for the next generation while reflecting the hard work of previous generations - our ancestors and many other giants who paved the road for us.
Dr. Cacari Stone (Purepecha/mestiza) is the founding Director of the Equity in Policy Institute and Executive Director/Principal Investigator of the "Transdisciplinary Research, Equity and Engagement Center" and lead for a statewide community-centered project "Wide Assessment for COVID-19 Vaccine Equity" (funded by NIH/NIMHD). Her research and teaching portfolio embraces engaged pedagogy and practices for policy impact. Her promotion to is proceeded by 30+ years of public health leadership at the local, state, and national levels. On July 1, 2021, Lisa embarked on a new career pathway in executive leadership training with the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame University.

Steven P. Verney, Ph.D., is an Alaska Native (Tsimshian) Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Mexico. He received his doctoral degree from the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Psychology. He is one of the Principal Investigators of the UNM Transdisciplinary Research Equity and Engagement (TREE) Center for Advancing Behavioral Health, an NIH Center of Excellence in Health Disparities. He has been involved in several studies investigating cognitive aging and decline in older American Indians.

Deborah B. Altschul, Ph.D. is the Vice-Chair for Community Behavioral Health Research, the Co-Director of the Division of Community Behavioral Health, and a full professor at the University of New Mexico’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Altschul is a licensed psychologist who completed an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship in mental health services research through the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors aimed at improving racial and ethnic disparities in mental health services.

Dr. Sanchez is Executive Director of UNM Center for Social Policy, co-Founder, UNM Native American Budget and Policy Institute, and Director of Graduate Studies, UNM Department of Political Science. Dr. Sanchez is an expert on politics in the Southwest having directed many research projects and polls for Latino Decisions in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona and he has been invited to give talks and presentations at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, LULAC, AFL-CIO, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and often serves as an expert policy advisor to the New Mexico State Legislature.

Dr. Gonzales' research in environmental health and health disparities shapes policy decisions and evidence-based interventions through reduced uncertainty in population-level exposures to environmental pollutants, key risk factors, and targets for intervention. She has served on several National Academies committees, including the current Guidance on PFAS Testing and Health Outcomes Committee.

Dr. Sanjuan was recently promoted to Research Associate Professor and is now appointed to the Family and Community Medicine department. Dr. Sanjuan is also resuming her National Institute of Mental Health-funded study of active duty service members and veterans to better address concentration and attention difficulties associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 
Understanding the COVID-19 Vaccination Intention in Latin America's
Rural Population: Validation of an Instrument.
By: Carlos Linares Koloffon MD, MPH
In Latin America, the rural population accounts for 123 million people of whom 27 million live in Mexico. Historically, this population had been chronically challenged by structural inequities regarding income, education, security, employment, and health that had been exacerbated by the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Considering that vaccination is a determinant of the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19, it is important to know the intention to be vaccinated among vulnerable populations.

In a recently published article, a group of investigators designed and validated a questionnaire aimed to measure the COVID-19 vaccination intention in the Mexican rural population. The instrument measured six areas of COVID-19 perception: 1) Perception risk towards COVID-19 disease, 2) Perception of COVID-19 sources of information, 3) Positive perception towards vaccination, 4) Positive perception towards COVID-19 vaccination, 5) Negative perception towards COVID-19 vaccination, and 6) Personal beliefs as barriers to vaccination.

In addition, variability in the vaccination rate in Latin America could be explained by the lack of economic resources, political will, and the inability to implement an effective distribution chain. However, attitudinal barriers are important to address and overcome personal and cultural challenges once the vaccine is available.

Finally, the authors hope that this questionnaire provides an instrument to other Latin American Spanish-speaking countries to improve their vaccination strategies; especially in those with the lowest vaccination rates.
Due to our current COVID-19 reality and the protests supporting the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, seeking diversified and innovative educational solutions like ethnic studies (ES) and adapting to the ever-changing needs of our students by creating supportive healing spaces of learning is more important than ever. The purpose of the article is to celebrate the classroom victories of these ES teachers and explore the ways that they connect their curriculum and learning experiences to their students’ lived realities. These ES teachers utilize holistic pedagogies that help their students move toward social change while cultivating the spiritual well-being of their students. Using the Body-Soul Rooted Pedagogy (Desai et al., 2019) framework, our findings discuss the five major categories that emerged: (1) connecting the past to the present, (2) privileging identity, (3) addressing everyday struggles, (4) classroom rituals, and (5) social action. Amidst a global pandemic, social unrest, and the struggle to achieve social justice within broader society, we highlight how these practices can be road maps for humanizing educational change. 
This study is significant because it addresses a key gap in the literature by illustrating how ES teachers can create environments that foster practices of healing and wellness by utilizing Body-Soul Rooted Pedagogy. By centering decolonizing pedagogies and utilizing counter-storytelling, ES teachers focus on the histories of their students and highlight and legitimize their lived experiences. By centering healing and wellness, ES teachers can generate hope in their classrooms and create learning environments to facilitate a more humanizing educational experience for all our students.
The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center will hold an opening ceremony to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month on Wednesday, Sept. 15. The HSC Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) is organizing events – some in-person and some online ­– to honor Hispanic culture through mid-October.
NMDOH COVID-19 Vaccine Registration
For more information and to register for your initial COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster, click here.