Dr. Carmela Roybal has been hired as the new executive director of the University of New Mexico’s Native American Budget and Policy Institute. In her new role, Roybal will direct and oversee research, budget and policy analysis, policy advocacy, and will continue to promote the Institute as a resource for New Mexico’s 23 Pueblos, Tribes and Nations.

Carmela Roybal
Dr. Carmela Roybal

Roybal received her Ph.D. in Sociology from UNM in 2021, and holds dual Master’s degrees in Bioethics and Global Public Health from the American University of Sovereign Nations (AUSN), as well as a second Master’s degree in Sociology. However, she is no stranger to the Institute. While pursuing both her graduate studies at UNM, Roybal contributed to several research projects addressing a variety of New Mexico Tribal priority areas and needs, including early childhood development, opioid use, and COVID-19.

In addition to her research contributions, she was able to provide policy analysis on several projects across multiple project partnerships between the Institute, the State of New Mexico, and other Universities. With her experience in both research and policy, and understanding of New Mexico’s 23 Tribes, Roybal will further the Institute’s mission to empower Native communities to create tribally driven change and solutions for their people.

“It’s an honor to serve our communities through research and policy. The Institute has the potential to truly impact the structural systems that affect the health and wellbeing of our tribal communities and help build equitable future for New Mexico’s sovereign nations,” Roybal said. “With the support and guidance of our Governance Council, I plan to expand NABPI’s community-based networks along with our research and advocacy teams.”

Roybal is from Ohkay Owingeh and a proud northern New Mexican. Currently, she is a Visiting Professor of Human Rights, Health and Medical Sociology at AUSN in Sacaton, Ariz., and a Research Fellow at the University College Dublin, School of Social Policy, Social Work, and Social Justice, in Ireland. She was also a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow at the UNM Center for Social Policy, formerly the RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM. Roybal is a medical sociologist, bioethicist, and policy analyst, whose community-based research projects integrate race, gender, and class disparities across health, education, and policy with a focus on Indigenous peoples and marginalized communities across the United States and around the globe.

The UNM Native American Budget and Policy Institute (NABPI) conducts research, budget and policy analysis, and advocacy work to empower Native American communities to create self-determined and systematic change to improve the lives of Native people. Through its activities, the Institute also seeks to improve and assist public policy decisions at all levels of government through a Native American perspective.

Currently, NABPI’s work focuses on addressing local Tribal priority areas such as health, education, and governance, as well as national issues like the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Institute is project of the UNM Center for Social Policy and New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty, in collaboration with the Santa Fe Indian School Leadership Institute, and supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. While a UNM entity, the Institute is uniquely overseen by a 10-member Governance Council comprised of New Mexico Tribal leaders, both former and current, and New Mexico Tribal policy experts.

For more information, visit Native American Budget and Policy Institute.