UNM hosted the Courts, Corrections and Justice interim committee of the Legislature yesterday, with President Bob Frank on the agenda, sharing his vision for a College of Public Health. One might question what public health has to do with the corrections system. But as committee Co-Chair Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Bernalillo) pointed out, issues like child abuse and neglect, addictions and mental health concern courts and corrections, and also fall into the public health arena.

President Frank added to the list, saying everything from the lack of running water to diabetes and hepatitis affect the health of a community and can be addressed quite effectively with a trained public health workforce. He’ll be asking legislators for planning money to get the ball rolling.

Citing limited resources, some committee members questioned if funding should go instead for more doctors and dentists. Public health is effective health, said President Frank, and it serves a larger population before they have need for the docs. We anticipate much more conversation on this topic in a variety of legislative arenas in the coming months.