Making A Healthy Albuquerque
It’s time for Albuquerque to get serious when it comes to our expectations of public health and quality of life. We cannot have a healthier city until we all get involved and hold our leaders accountable for improving health—and that begins with the mayor. The mayor is ultimately responsible for creating a healthy city culture and the current mayor has neglected his responsibility in this regard.
As mayor, I will take on Albuquerque’s unacceptable health inequities by encouraging all of Albuquerque to work together to create a healthier city. I will work to improve our public health infrastructure to ensure we all have health, which is what is required to have wealth. A healthy vibrant city will work for everyone, for all communities.
PUBLIC HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE
Albuquerque is one of the largest cities without a dedicated public health department. As mayor I will ensure that we assess our public health needs and work toward building the infrastructure to connect our city behavioral health, mental health and public health with efforts at the state and county level. This will be important to avoid duplication with the NM Department of Health and other offices which do public health services. Continuing my dedication to saving money, I will focus on disease prevention and the social determinants of health on individual, family, and community levels.
HEALTH IMPACT ASSESSMENTS AND HEALTH IN ALL POLICIES
I have been a leader in promoting Health Impact Assessments (HIAs), including sponsoring legislation in the State Senate, and strongly believe in a Health in All Policies approach (HIAP). Everything the mayor does influences the health of the city and I want to make Albuquerque the healthiest city possible. With that in mind our public health workforce will be equipped and ready to do HIAs on policies and infrastructure.
A HEALTHY ECONOMY
We have many public health issues that can be improved by creating a healthy economy. We need as many people working as possible. For that to happen we need to build an economy that is strong internally as well as externally. I will promote purchasing local and use the multiplier effect of local money circulating as a strength. Local people putting Albuquerqueans to work will benefit us all. Small business development, growing companies, cooperatives, and support for entrepreneurs, solo-prenuers and even artists will require thoughtful and meaningful engagement from the city.
This will also require a healthy workforce. Safe workplaces, adequate wages, reasonable time off and sick leave, and more can ensure maximum productivity. Early childhood education options for workers families are also a critical part to productive workforce for this generation and the next.
Crime, incarceration, violent interactions with law-enforcement, a sense of fear all impact the health of our communities. I will work with all community health workers and navigators to do everything possible as mayor to ensure that every community in Albuquerque is a healthy place to raise a family, to live alone, and to grow old. Healthy communities require investment of energy and resources and I am committed to making that true all across Albuquerque.
Quality affordable housing is very different than low cost housing. Everyone in Albuquerque deserves an opportunity to live in healthy and quality housing. By helping our neighbors who have no address move into a housing first program we will reduce crime, increase safety, and improve health.
Housing is one step toward tackling poverty. Education is another. We need fully literate adults to help raise a generation of literate children. There are too many people in Albuquerque who cannot read at a high enough level for many well paying jobs. That can be changed with city directed supported afterschool programs and adult literacy to feed back into an environment for childhood literacy. Working with our health workers, libraries, schools, and education oriented agencies we can increase the literacy rates in Albuquerque to help make our city more engaged, economically sound, and healthy.
Another important aspect to community health is respect for our environment. When city government respects long-term communities as well as newer communities we all win. There are communities that have received more than their fair share of pollution because local government is not respectful of the needs of all people. If we are all not willing to share in some health risks, then maybe these are risks we should not take. I will use HIAs to help ensure that we no longer pile up risks on any particular communities.
Albuquerque has an unacceptable pedestrian accident and fatality rate. I will work toward improving that through infrastructure changes and education so that it is safe for everyone of every age and ability to move through Albuquerque in a safe and healthy way.
One important aspect of public health is coordinated services. When various agencies work together we can better serve those in need of medical, mental health, social services, housing support, treatment for addiction and more. There is evidence that voter participation improves health and I think all agencies should be involved in voter registration. I want to look into these non-traditional public health approaches to make Albuquerque an even greater city than it is. I will encourage these partnerships with my bully pulpit and help us move forward in this area.
After the people of Albuquerque our environment is one of our greatest assets. Protecting and improving our environment is important. I will work with everyone willing to increase tree canopy, food production, open space, and protect the water shed for our future generations. Everyone deserves to live in a beautiful and poison-free community.