Equity, Evidence & Engagement
Seizing the Moment: Truth, Racial Healing and Social Justice
By Lisa Cacari Stone, Ph.D.
January 2021 opened new windows and refreshing glimpses for a hopeful future with the celebration of the legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., National Day of Racial Healing and the Inauguration of a new U.S. President and first woman of color as Vice President. As a national research center of excellence and co-learning community for health equity, the TREE Center holds a collective opportunity to tackle what stands before us: the COVID-19 crisis and the growing epidemic of inequities. Together, we must rise to the present needs; embracing racial equity, making community resiliency centric to healing and investing our human and intellectual/community resources towards tackling structural racism. So, what are the next steps in moving forward? As part of a series of webinars on “community resiliency, healing structural racism and historical trauma" the TREE Center hosted an evening (September 11, 2020) with four community leaders who shared their wisdom on creating inter-cultural alliances as a pathway for healing racism and achieving health equity: Nadine Tafoya, Roberto Chene, Wanda Ross Padilla and Lucy Moore. The dynamic team of four highlighted the need to have courageous conversations on racial healing starting with the need for deep and honest self-reflection and cultural humility.

They discussed the notion of “white fragility” as a mechanism of deflecting accountability towards systemic change and re-centering the conversation on the “victimization” of white people as part of white supremacy and power. Instead, they recommended the power of “deep listening” and being courageous enough to have difficult conversations and at times deal with the root of racial conflict. “It’s really important for folks to listen and think about the fact that most people are really fearful of getting into conflict. And we can't be fearful of conflict, we have to be courageous and get into that conflict, if we're gonna really make a difference.” A key take-away was the need to build our individual and collective capacities to be good facilitators - “we need to teach how to facilitate these kinds of conversations across racial lines and silos.” As elders of “intercultural reconciliation” the speakers emphasized personal growth as a necessary process of racial healing: “When you really get into working on these issues with organizations with people, they're quick to see the excitement of the learning and the self- transformation that they get from taking on this issue. And you get to grow in a way that you wouldn't otherwise.

As we continue walking a shared journey towards racial healing and transformation in our daily practice, scholarship, education and policy making, consider the visionary words of Amanda Gorman, the nation's first-ever youth poet laureate:

"And so, we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us…"
How Does Research Inform Policy?
TREE Center’s Investigator Development Core Sponsors Roundtable on Research to Policy 
By Matthew Borrego, Ph.D.
The TREE Center was pleased to host two TREE Center pilot project grant recipients and their community partners to lead a panel discussion at the December 2020, bi-monthly, Research Roundtable hosted by the Center’s Investigator Development Core (IDC). The roundtables are a venue for exploring topics aligned with the TREE Center’s mission that foster skills in transdisciplinary, multilevel, community-engaged research among pilot project PIs. The focus of the “Research to Policy” roundtable was on “How research informs policy? Both from a big picture view as well as the mechanics involved.”
The presenters included Center pilot project Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Pilar M. Sanjuan and community partner Dr. Raquel Z. Rivera, from Bold Futures New Mexico. They discussed their project “Providing Expanded Continuous Labor Support to Pregnant Women in New Mexico with Substance Use Disorders.” Also, Dr. Jaelyn DeMaria (PI) and community partner Roberta Rael, Director of Generation Justice, discussed their project “Shifting Narratives for Behavioral Health Justice.”
The presenters included Center pilot project Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Pilar M. Sanjuan and community partner Dr. Raquel Z. Rivera, from Bold Futures New Mexico. They discussed their project “Providing Expanded Continuous Labor Support to Pregnant Women in New Mexico with Substance Use Disorders.” Also, Dr. Jaelyn DeMaria (PI) and community partner Roberta Rael, Director of Generation Justice, discussed their project “Shifting Narratives for Behavioral Health Justice.”
In a panel discussion, the project teams shared: 1) description of their projects and how they designed their research to intentionally affect policy; 2) the policy level they were trying to affect with their research; 3) tips for presenting data that resonates with policy makers; and 4) the current status of their research projects and policy efforts and the impact their research has had on policy.

The IDC was excited to have our Center Pilot Project PIs and their community partners present their interesting work and invaluable insights and experiences on translating research into policy.
Watering the Seeds of Virtual Community Engagement
By Selene Vences
The Community Engagement and Dissemination Core (CEDC) highlighted their partnership with the Asian Urban Institute and Barrios Unidos. The Asian Urban Institute highlighted mental and behavioral health issues that arose during the pandemic, including the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community are being blamed for COVID-19. The tri-cultural myth's structural racism perpetuating this bigotry and the trauma due to losing family members and housing insecurities. Challenges include funding and resources to address the issues faced in their community and families not knowing of resources or not being able to access them. An area of growth is developing strategies that maximize access and utilization by creating tools addressing the multi-ethnic groups' unique needs within the API community. We also heard from the UNM Asian American Student Association and their newly established resource center for Asian identifying students. Their work centers on having conversations about mental health, race, and diversity.

Barrios Unidos highlighted how COVID-19 changed their approach to community engagement—focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on the community, mental and behavioral health access, and health disparities. Through building a genuine relationship with community, they will conduct zoom community forums to carry the work forward to address health disparities in NM. They will highlight their work by developing scholarly works, digital stories, policy briefs, and resources for grandparents raising grandchildren. Their work's ethos is about who they are and how they represent themselves and recognize individual and collective synergies. An area of growth is understanding the concept of language and how it's understood.
RAC Accepting proposals starting February 1-15, 2021
The University of New Mexico voting faculty are invited to submit proposals for internal funding for small grants (budgets that are less than $4,000 per proposal), and large grants (budgets between $4,000 and a maximum of $10,000 per proposal), with a proposal duration of 18 months from the receipt of funds.

The proposals are to be submitted online at: https://rac.unm.edu/spring-2021/ 
beginning February 1, 2021. The proposal submission deadline is February 15, 2021.

If you are HSC faculty, you are not eligible for this award. HSC has its own RAC award for HSC faculty. For more information on the HSC RAC award, please visit: https://hsc.unm.edu/research/rac/index.html
Center for Native Environmental Health Equity Research 2021 Request for Pilot Project Applications
The Center for Native Environmental Health Equity Research is now accepting pilot project applications from early stage investigators from NIH-defined Health Disparity populations that address scientific, policy and/or community needs and advance Native American environmental health equity. Priority given to applications that address the connections between exposure disparities, health disparities, and loss of resources necessary for the sustainability of cultural traditions and practices.

Deadline: 5 PM, February 15, 2021; April 15, 2021 (Off-cycle applications may be considered, depending on available funds-contact dmackenzie@salud.unm.edu.

Instructions for Applicants:
Required components must be received as a single submission file by Debra MacKenzie, (dmackenzie@salud.unm.edu, on or before 5:00 PM, February 15, 2021.
NMDOH COVID-19 Vaccine Registration
For more information and to register for your initial COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster, click here.
Live Online Professional NIH Grant Development Workshop
Master the techniques of writing superior winning NIH proposals

February 18-19, 2021
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time
Sponsored by the Grant Training Center

For the safety and well-being of all our workshop participants, rather than returning to the University of New Mexico, as planned, we will be holding this Professional NIH Grant Development workshop live online. It will include: the same length of instruction, interactive discussions, and one-on-ones with the instructor.

Participants will learn how to:

  1. Make the match with the appropriate NIH Institute, program and grant mechanism for their idea(s)
  2. Identify and avoid common pitfalls of a grant
  3. Write exceptional Specific Aims pages
  4. Effectively address each piece of the application
  5. Understand the review process and how to successfully write for reviewers
  6. Learn what actually happens in the study section
  7. Decipher pink sheets: The inevitable resubmission
  8. Build an airtight case for funding

Our ultimate goal is for you to walk away with a product specific to your interests, which includes the grant design, abstract and budget.

Questions? Call us at (866) 704-7268
Workshop Fee: $595.00 (includes comprehensive resources, a workbook, and certificate of completion)
Rebate of $45.00 per person is given for two or more registrants from the same organization.
State of New Mexico Emergency Support Function 6 - Community Fund: Emergency Food Distribution

Given the worsening COVID situation in the state and especially for some of our Tribal and other underserved communities, we are providing some important information about the State’s Emergency Support Function 6 – the state government unit responsible for emergency food distribution.