Dr. Valerie Romero-Leggott, vice chancellor for Diversity for UNM's Health Sciences Center (HSC), received the Hispanic Health Leadership Award at the National Hispanic Medical Association's annual conference in Washington D.C. recently.

Themed, Innovations that Improve the Health of Hispanics, Families and Communities, the annual conference award was presented to outstanding individuals across the country who have played significant leadership roles in affecting the health of Hispanics and underserved communities. As President of the Hispanic-Serving Health Professions Schools, a national organization of 22 medical schools and six schools of public health, Romero-Leggott was recognized for the outstanding work she has done in promoting Latino faculty in the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and other academic health institutions across the nation, and developing programs to encourage Hispanic youth to enter health professions, the association said.

A Santa Fe native and graduate of Santa Fe High School, Romero-Leggott received her B.A. degree at Harvard University in 1982 and went on to attend UNM's School of Medicine where she received her Medical Degree. In addition to being HSC Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Romero-Leggott is associate dean of the School of Medicine Office of Diversity, associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and executive director of the Combined BA/MD Degree program.

"Having a diverse faculty, student body and staff is a top priority for UNM's Health Sciences Center so that we can improve the health and well-being of the people of New Mexico by better understanding and working with our diverse communities in this state," says Romero-Leggott. "Everyone at the Health Sciences Center is committed to this diversity, through our pipeline programs that help steer diverse students to health careers, through assistance to our faculty of color, and through outreach to the community."

Under Romero-Leggott, the Office of Diversity coordinates a number of school-year and summer programs to assist middle school, high-school, and college students from diverse backgrounds to enter and succeed in careers in health sciences, including programs to help with medical, pharmacy and dental school entrance exams. Nearly 300 students a year participate in these programs. The Office also supports faculty of color in the Health Sciences Center and is committed to growing the diversity of the workforce at the HSC.

The National Hispanic Medical Association is a non-profit association representing the interests of over 40,000 licensed Hispanic physicians in the United States whose mission is to improve the health of Hispanics and the underserved. They also serve as a resource for policymakers in Washington DC. For more information, visit National Hispanic Medical Association.

For more information, visit HSC Office of Diversity.

Media contact: Luke Frank (505) 272-3679; email: